The government of Malawi should increase efforts to end widespread child and forced marriage, or risk worsening poverty, illiteracy, and preventable maternal deaths in the country, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today, ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8, 2014.
The Malawian government’s decision to suspend enforcement of laws that criminalize consensual same-sex conduct is the right thing to do, and should serve as an inspiration to other countries that criminalize homosexuality. During a radio debate last week with activists from Malawi’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, the justice minister announced a moratorium on arrests on the basis of the country’s colonial-era sodomy laws.
JURIST Guest Columnist Katherine Todrys of the Health and Human Rights Division of Human Rights Watch recounts her experiences researching disease transmission and living standards in African prisons. She calls for sweeping criminal justice reforms to address the systemic problems of overcrowding, human rights abuses and wrongful imprisonment.
The new Malawi government took an important step in June when it indicated it could not host the African Union summit if it meant welcoming President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan to its territory, given that he is an International Criminal Court suspect for crimes committed in Darfur. This is a key acknowledgment of the court’s work 10 years into its existence and takes a firm stand at a time when many Africans are criticizing the court for what is seen as an anti-Africa bias in its attempts to bring to trial government leaders and others allegedly responsible for the gravest crimes — genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity