President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has called upon newly sworn-in Commissioners of the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) to remain vigilant in defending and promoting human rights for all.
Speaking at the swearing in of the Commissioners in Lilongwe on Thursday, President Chakwera advised them to desist from being “so familiar with the state of human rights in this country that you begin to take the rights we enjoy for granted or begin to pick and choose which human rights you are going to attend to”.
“You have heard the saying that familiarity breeds contempt, and you must be vigilant against that common mistake. Do not become so familiar with your position that you begin to lose sight of your privilege to occupy it. Do not become so familiar with your task that you begin to be complacent in your execution of it. You must keep up the good work, keep up the pace, and keep up the good fight,” he said.
Chakwera urged the Commissioners to keep their faith, observing that there are always challenging circumstances that make the work they do difficult.
He told them to prepare for challenging relationships with other institutions or offices they must work with, stressing that these challenges are no reason they should lose faith in the necessity of finding solutions to those relational hurdles.
“There are always challenging cultural and social practices that stand in the way of the enshrinement of a culture of respect for human rights, but that is no reason to lose faith in the power of public engagement for social change. There are always challenging forces that are determined to profit from the evil of human rights violations, twisted individuals that enjoy and find pleasure in treating others without dignity, but that is no reason for you to lose faith in the power of God to defeat evil and to use you as his weapon in that evil,” he emphasized.
“And there are always challenging processes in our justice system that can make the pursuit and protection of human rights a frustrating, daunting, and taxing mission, but that is no reason to lose faith in the necessity and credibility of our institutions, nor to lose sight of your responsibility to make those institutions work for the cause you espouse in a world of competing priorities.”
On the other hand, President Chakwera commended MHRC for the pivotal role it has played in promoting and defending human rights in Malawi.
He noted that MHRC has continued to earn respect around the world and has maintained a very high grade in its performance at multilateral institutions.
“And you must not allow that standing to suffer relegation. And as an institution, you have a history of good governance and institutional excellence, but also a history of enhancing good governance in other institutions, and you must not allow yourself to lose your saltiness as a catalyst for change. Keep the change,” he advised.