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Advance questions and statement to Malawi

Advance questions

  1. Malawi has put in place important pieces of legislation ensuring that international human rights obligations are incorporated into domestic legislation. However, is there a comprehensive plan by the Government for putting in place the missing pieces,  such as the Access to Information Bill, and including the internal harmonisation of provisions, for instance the legal definition of a child or minimum marriage age?
  2. What measures will Malawi put in place to ensure implementation and compliance with the laws that have recently been enacted? Norway commends Malawi’s adoption of the Gender Equality Act. What will Malawi do, in the follow-up of this Act, to strengthen efforts aimed at increasing women representation?
  3. Norway commends the improvements that have taken place in the areas of freedom of media and freedom of expression, including that the concerns of sexual minorities are debated freely in the media. How will Malawi ensure that the progress that has been made will continue and will be protected?
  4. Norway would like to express concern regarding sexual and reproductive health rights, particularly on abortion and sexual minority rights. The move by the High Court of Malawi in September 2014 to initiate a review of the constitutionality of the sodomy laws is positive.  What will Malawi do to ensure that sexual minority and reproductive health rights are addressed legally and systematically?

Statement

 

Norway welcomes the delegation from Malawi and commends Malawi’s clear position on human rights. The adoption in recent years of the Anti-Human Trafficking Act, the Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Act and the Gender Equality Act strengthens the legal framework for human rights protection in Malawi

Malawi has also allowed for open discussions on minority rights and taken action towards decriminalization of same sex relations by a moratorium on arrests. Freedom of media and freedom of expression have improved since the previous review. Norway recommends that Malawi consolidate the policy gains into legal reforms on issues such as treatment of same sex relations and access to information.

We note with concern that Malawi has witnessed a rise in incidents of attacks against albinos. Norway recommends Malawi to take concrete measures to ensure that the Anti-Human Trafficking Act is effectively implemented and that albinos are provided equal protection by the law.   

There is a general understanding that challenges remain in the implementation of legislation. Norway recommends Malawi to prioritize public education and information as well as capacity building of state institutions as part of its efforts to strengthen implementation of national human rights legislation.

Norway also recommends that Malawi, as a party to the Maputo protocol, implements the provisions related to medical abortion in cases of sexual assault, rape, incest and where the continued pregnancy endangers the mental and physical health of the mother or the life of the mother or the foetus.

Thank you.