Namisa Blogger of the year 2013,Stimulating the much needed debate

Report by the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has
suggested that Government should encourage unhindered debate on the
issues on the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT’S) in order to allow the citizenry to make an informed decision on the issues.
The report covers an assessment of the status of human rights in
Malawi for the period June to December 2012.
This is the first report to be released by the commission since the
appointments of new commissioners by the state president.
However, in her first state of the nation address to parliament
president Joyce Banda said: “Some laws which were duly passed by the
August house were to be repealed as a matter of urgency these include
the provisions on indecent practices and unnatural acts where
LGBT’S is fall.
But the report has suggested that more avenues should be created to
discuss the issues.
The report says there should be an in-depth research and analysis of
the situation in order to meet this.
The Commission has however observed that section 20 of the
Constitution prohibits any form of discrimination of any person in any
The section also guarantees the right to equal protection against any
form of discrimination on grounds of race, colour, sex, language,
religion, political or other opinion, nationality, ethnic or social
origin, disability, property, birth or other status.
But according to section 153 of the penal code,
homosexual acts constitute aspects of criminal offences that
prohibits any person to “have carnal knowledge of any person against
the order of nature; or to have carnal knowledge of an animal; or to
permit a male person to have carnal knowledge of him or her against
the order of nature”.
The offence attracts a prison sentence of fourteen years, with or
without corporal punishment.
The report therefore says that the two provisions raise a prima facie
situation of the discrimination of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and
transgenders on the grounds of their sexual orientation.
Hence the provisions of the Penal Code are in direct conflict with the
non-discrimination principle in the Constitution.


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