LILONGWE-(MaraviPost) – The state-owned Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC), is to conduct public inquires on the status of key population groups including Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTIs). The exercise is to enable Government to make the appropriate decision of their fate in the country.
The Commission’s announcement to conduct the public opinion poll on LGBTIs in Malawi, comes amid debates on whether or not Malawi should legalize the grouping.
For years, Malawi Government has failed to make a decision on the group’s status core in the country with other quarters of the society calling for a referendum on the issue.
This approach by the MHRC seeking direct public opinion is seen as the best approach snd will help Government to make an informed decision in its policies and laws governing the grouping.
In his presentation titled, “National Human Rights Action Plan on HIV/AIDS and Minority Rights,” to the just ended two-day Malawi national meeting on reducing violence and discrimination against key populations in Lilongwe, Peter Chisi, MHRC’s Civil and Political Rights Director, said this was the right time for the country to make a decision on LGBTIs.
While acknowledging that the subject matter is tense, Chisi was quick to advocate that the said group should not be kept being denied their rights to association, education, and health due to legal complications regarding their status.
The director disclosed that such public inquires, will solicit the views on the ground on the status core of the grouping; it will enable Malawi to address issues of discrimination on access to social and economic rights by the grouping.
He revealed that the exercise will be done through public shows, live radio panel discussions and phone-in programs, focus group discussions, legal and social analysis, key informant interviews, submissions research into diversity of LGBTI persons and public hearings.
“We will use multiple methodologies to achieve the study’s objectives.
The Commission wants an effective outcome of the public inquiries, whose results will be submitted to Government to make the right decision on the status of LBGTIs.
“We can’t live in blind -folded on this matter for ever. Let’s make a final decision on this grouping, as it’s being subjected to various discrimination in our communities, due to legal and political implications on the matter,” said Chisi.
In his reaction to the MHRC venture, Gift Trapence, CEDEP Executive Director for Center for Development, said while welcoming the exercise, he cautioned the Commission on its methodologies when sourcing views, which might put the grouping in danger.
Trapence said that for better results, the country’s citizen must be sensitized on the inquiries before being rolled out.
The conference which has attracted various stakeholders including lawmakers, LGBTIs, human rights activists, media, lawyers, and Government officials, is
Funded by AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA). The prime objective of the public inquiry is to address challenges affecting the key populations in Malawi.