MZUZU-(MaraviPost)-Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has called upon President Lazarus Chakwera’s Tonse government to improve people’s rights and living conditions.
In a statement released today November 23, 2021, the human rights body says in the past few months there has been a sharp rise in prices of fuel and basic commodities such as cooking oil which has gone up by 75 percent, water which has risen by 52 percent and the introduction of 15 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) for non-banking services.
Shortage of drugs in public hospitals; a slow pace in recruitment of teachers in public schools are developments which have had a negative effect on the peoples’ enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights including vulnerable poor, rural women and persons with disabilities.
The statement further says Section 30(4) of the Constitution of Malawi provides that the state has the responsibility to respect the right to development and to justify its policies in accordance with this responsibility to respect the right to development.
The Commission indicates that while it welcomes the progressive broadening of the tax base by government in order to ensure that it generates adequate revenue to finance various public services, such measures should also take into account the existing worsening socio-economic conditions of the majority of Malawians who are struggling to cope with high cost of living.
There is also need for government to strike a good balance between broadening tax base and creating a conducive socio-economic environment for all where reduction of poverty and wealth creation is not just a rhetoric but is evidenced by action and realistic action.
MHRC, therefore, urges government to provide a clear strategy on how it intends to address the problem of high cost living and supply chain; as it is in line with Article 2(1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which requires States to demonstrate the state is making every effort to improve the enjoyment of Economic, social and cultural rights even when resources are scarce.
The Commission also stresses that in this economic crisis, government has to ensure that it remains committed to human rights obligation that will foster protection of people’s rights and equal opportunities.
Lately, Malawians have expressed dissatisfaction with the current Tonse administration, saying it is not living its campaign process as people’s cost of living is skyrocketing everyday.