Monday, January 14, 2013
THE RIGHT TO ASSEMBLE AND HOLD DEMONSTRATIONS PEACEFULLY AND UNARMED: LOOKING AHEAD TO THE PLANNED 17TH JANUARY 2013, AND LESSONS LEARNT FROM THE 20TH JULY, 2011, DEMONSTRATIONS
The Malawi Human Rights Commission (the Commission), established by section 129 of the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi (the Constitution), with the mandate of the promotion and protection of human rights, has noted with interest the developments surrounding the issue of the right to assemble and hold demonstrations peacefully and unarmed.
The Commission observes that the emerging developments to some extent replicate the trends that led to the disastrous consequences of the 20th July, 2011 demonstrations.
In particular, the Commission has noted with concern that relevant duty bearers, including some public officials and some political players, have made statements that display lack of respect for the right.
The Commission further notes several issues relating to the organisation and planning of the intended 17th January 2013 demonstrations, which have negative implications on the effective preparedness on the part of all concerned parties, where the conduct of peaceful demonstrations is concerned.
This has provided the impetus for the Commission to address the issue at hand in terms of the scope, relevance, significance and implications of the right, and particularly call upon concerned duty bearers to play their rightful roles ahead of the planned 17th January, 2013 demonstrations.