HomeLocal NewsHuman RightsHuman rights partners bemoan delayed enactment of new Prison and Correctional Act

Human rights partners bemoan delayed enactment of new Prison and Correctional Act

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Human rights stakeholders have expressed concern over the delayed enactment of the new Prison and Correctional Act saying it is infringing on prisoners’ rights.

The human rights players said this Wednesday at a press briefing at the Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe.

The briefing was organised by the Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance (CHREAA) to demonstrate their concerns over the matter.

Paralegal Advisory Services Institute Chief Executive Officer, Clifford Msiska, highlighted the need to enact the new Prison and Correctional Act in order to mitigate congestion and overcrowding in prisons.

Msiska: There is congestion in prisons

“Our prisons are overly crowded and one of the major contributing factors is that there are prisoners who are eligible for release but are failing to pay for bail such that it is even difficult for them to access basic sanitation like toilets.

“Right now, 100 prisoners use one toilet which is against the recommended number of 50 prisoners to one toilet. We wish the current bill was enacted for us to reduce the numbers in the prisons and for prisoners to enjoy their rights,” said Msiska.

Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) Director of Civil and Political Rights, Peter Chisi, said over the past fifteen years, the situation in prisons has worsened due to lack of progressive legislations hence calling for an amendment of the current Prisons Act.

Chisi: We ask for a tabling of the bill

“As you know, under Section 14 of the Human Right Commission Act, we have a mandate to review and analyse legislative bills. All these years we have been waiting for the Ministry of Homeland Security to review the proposal governing legislation of prisons so that we can bring our inputs to revise content,” said Chisi.

He pleaded with the Members of Parliament to demand tabling of the new Prisons Bill from the Ministry of Homeland Security.

Chairperson for Parliamentary Committee on Social and Community Affairs, Savel Kafwafwa, expressed commitment to discuss with relevant committees such as Defence, Security and Legal Affairs and collaborate in protecting and ensuring the marginalised groups are heard.

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