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NEP 1Center for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) in partnership with NEPAD under the Gender and Climate Agricultural Change Support Programme (GCACSP) has added its muscle to transform women group in small scale farming through its project which aims empowering smallholder women farmers in climate-smart agricultural practices to mitigate the impact of climate change. As part of extending its advocacy support for women, CHRR through its Civic Education and Gender Department, distributed assorted garden materials to one of the target beneficiary group, Talandila Small Holder Farmers Women Club. The gardening materials which included holes, watering canes, seedlings and panga knives just to mention a few have been distributed to ease the labour force for the productivity in their gardens. Speaking to the Head of Civic Education for CHRR, Mrs Thandizo Mphwiyo said CHRR was not only looking at an angle of software support for the communities but also the physical support that communities can realize their rights to economic development. “CHRR is impressed with the commitment that the women are showing and we will continue to engage our donor to extend the pilot until the impacts can be realized accordingly” she said.  

NEP 2On her part, chairlady for the women group expressed excitement with the coming of the farm inputs as they added their extra gear to work hard to achieve their goals. She assured CHRR that the women were 100% committed hence their call for the extension of the project. Sharing the same note, Group Village Headman Malowa told CHRR that he will ensure that women get the maximum support in terms of security. He further conceded to that fact that capacity building and material support were both vital for the economic development of the women.                           

CHRR remains one of the leading institutions which have tremendously championed the provision capacity building and material support in its advocacy initiatives. The support is part of its strategic plan which runs from 2016 to 2020.

ANNOThe Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) announces the postponement until further notice of the demonstrations that were scheduled for 27th March, 2019.  After deep reflections on our strategies, prevailing state of disaster in Malawi and thorough consultations with relevant stakeholders, we have decided that it is only humane and prudent of us to momentarily shelf our plans to exercise our right to demonstrate and alternately step up the implementation of our other equally effective accountability strategies.  

While demonstrations still remain our all-time accountability mechanism, we thought it wise and duty bound to grief with our brothers and sisters who have been affected by these floods. Malawi is a nation in mourning. Floods have compromised the right to life and property. Floods in the southern region have heavily compromised our demonstration preparations. People that were geared to participate in these demonstrations have either lost their lives or their livelihood.  It is only humane for us as HRDC to join the affected communities in mourning the lives lost and intensify relief efforts to mitigate the impact the floods.We take this opportunity to appeal to the international community to continue supporting Malawi in this time of need.

While we count the devastating impact of flood and join in the relief efforts, our other hand is still on our core mandate-defending human rights.  We have meanwhile intensified our calls for accountability through the courts and to that effect, have already instructed our lawyers to move the courts on a number of cases bordering on human rights abuses, corruption, abuse of power/office to mention but a few.Similarly, we have stepped-up our community engagement and mobilization strategies including holding citizen rallies to empower communities so that they can amplify their call for accountability from duty bearers.

We take this opportunity to remind all including the Malawi Police Service and regime thugs that no amount of terror will intimidate us into abandoning our call and promise to defender human rights. We are aware of all their mechanization to unleash terror on us, but we promise them we are not afraid.We will keep on monitoring the political landscape and will be announcing the new date for the nationwide demonstration in due course.   

God Bless Malawi.

Signed by

Timothy Mtambo                                                         Gift Trapence

HRDC National Chairperson                                    HRDC National Vice    Chairperson

Released on Saturday, 23rd March ,2019 in Lilongwe

firday 1We at the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) are dismayed but not surprised by the cheap, confused and dangerous allegations being peddled by the pro-government Poor and Concerned Persons with Albinism (PACPWA) and the so-called Islamic Commission for Justice and Freedom (ICJF) aimed at diverting stakeholder’s attention from discussing how government has helplessly failed to address the abduction and killing of person with albinism in Malawi.

The media is awash with a statement purportedly issued by the PACPWA and the ICJF, calling on security agencies to investigate and arrest the HRDC leadership based on some dreamt-up allegations. The statement alleges that the HRDC leadership is cooking-up evidence aimed at incriminating government in the killing of persons with albinism.

We are irked that the two groupings have deliberately chosen to advance their selfish and partisan interests at the expense of the lives of our brother and sisters with albinism. These careless utterances are aimed at frustrating sober strategies that are being championed by relevant authorities to get to the bottom of the attacks, abductions and killings of persons with albinism. PACPWA and ICJF should desist from being used by selfish politicians to satisfy their selfish interests.

While we are not in the habit of commenting or responding to cheap propaganda like the one at hand, we vehemently refuse to have the names of the HRDC leadership dragged in the mud on this issue. What these two groupings should know is that the HRDC has a mandate to research and investigate any human rights violations and abuses without the fear of being threatened by anyone, including PACPWA. The calls for arrest of the HRDC leadership are misguided, malicious and very laughable. We would like to warn these organisations that if they continue making such baseless and careless allegations against the HRDC leadership, we will have no option but to take legal action against them. Much as the Constitution of Malawi protects free speech, PACPWA should know that that protection does not extend to defamatory and character assassination remarks which the grouping has made against the leadership of the HRDC. The statement by PACPWA and the ICJF is highly defamatory to the leadership of the HRDC.

We would like to remind the nation that our work in human rights advocacy is evidence based and in this light we have a mandate to carry out necessary investigations in order to establish required facts and inform our advocacy. Therefore, our visit to Domasi Prison on 15th March 2019 (and not March 14th as PACPWA’s statement alleges) was solely in line with this mandate. The visit was aimed at investigating how –and why one key –suspect in the murder of McDonald Masambuka, a person with albinism, was transferred from Zomba Central Prison to Domasi prison. We felt that it was very necessary to conduct this special investigation considering that recently, Lule Buleya, a key suspect in the abduction and murder of a 14-year old boy with albinism, Goodson Makanjira in Dedza, was murdered whilst in police custody before conclusion of his case. We were alarmed and suspicious upon being informed that Alfred Yohane, a key suspect in the murder of Masambuka, has been transferred from Zomba Central Prison to Domasi Prison.

It is utter nonsense to suggest that the purpose of this visit was to find dirt to implicate Mutharika and his government in the attacks, abductions and killings of persons with albinism. All conversations with the suspect were done in full presence of prison officials. The HRDC does not believe in doing things in secret, which is why we find allegations made by the two groups highly outrageous. Upon interviewing him, Yohane stated that he is living in fear and he does not know the reason behind his transfer. His court case is dragging and has not been concluded. As human rights defenders, we call                                                                                                                                                                                                                 upon the Government to ensure that his case is urgently concluded because justice delayed is justice                                                                                                                                                                                                                denied.

friday 3

We would like to tell PACPWA and its ally in the name of the ICJF that the HRDC is a highly professional organization. It is, therefore, an insult to allege that the HRDC was being funded by the UTM to carry out its investigations. We challenge PACPWA and ICJF to produce evidence to support their allegations. The HRDC does not have political interests and is not in the business of peddling political party agendas. Our business is purely human rights.

We urge President Mutharika and the DPP-led government to ensure that human rights organizations are able to operate freely without interference or intimidation.

It is unfortunate that the current leadership has adopted the shameless strategy of blame game against various stakeholders who are trying to find a meaningful solution to attacks and killings of persons with albinism. Recently, the President during the swearing in ceremony of the Commissioners in the inquiry of the attacks and killings of people with albinism, threw attacks on the leadership of Association of People with Albinism in Malawi (APAM), HRDC, the former leader of Opposition- Dr. Chakwera and Vice President- Dr. Chilima, for doing nothing but simply pointing out the leadership lapse and suggesting solution to these abhorrent and disgusting human rights abuses.

We take this opportunity to remind the Democratic Progressive Party and its functionaries to refrain from frustrating efforts that are aimed at ending killing of persons with albinism but rather hasten in finding lasting solutions to the national embarrassments; abduction and killing of persons with albinism.

We wish to remind all our detractors that no amount of propaganda, mudslinging nor smear campaign will slow us down in our drive to hold duty bearers accountable to the human rights promises. We will not tire in demanding accountability on all human rights violations and poor governance including corruption which is happening under full watch of the Mutharika leadership.

Signed by

 

Timothy Mtambo                                                                   Gift Trapence

HRDC National Chairperson                                             HRDC National Vice   Chairperson

Happy Mhango - Regional Chair North

Madalitso Banda - Regional Chair East

Masauko Thawe - Regional Chair South

Billy Mayaya - Regional Chair Centre

 

                                                                                          

           Released on Thursday, 21st March ,2019 in Lilongwe