In Malawi, amidst a narrowing of civil society space, there are increasing threats and harassment of human rights defenders, the media and academia and rising political violence as Malawi heads to 2019 elections. The so-called Cashgate corruption scandal in 2013 and subsequent rising corruption resulted in the withdrawal of budget support, which has eroded public confidence in the Government and its ability to provide services for its people.
Malawi faces a wide array of human rights challenges including rising inequalities, poverty and recurrent food insecurity. Violence, and discrimination against women and girls is commonplace, rooted in a lack of gender equality, and harmful cultural norms, exemplified by one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world, high rates of maternal mortality, physical and sexual violence. Malawi’s prisons are severely overcrowded and there is very limited accountability for human rights violations perpetrated by the police.
Violence and discrimination against other groups including persons with albinism and the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) community is also widespread including an increase in hate speech against the latter. Since 2014, at least 150 crimes have been reported against people with albinism, including killings, abductions, grave exhumations and threats. The Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism called for a more committed implementation of the Government’s Response Plan including the strengthening of preventative, protection and accountability measures (A/HRC/34/59/Add.1).