Malawian Justice System Violates Human Rights

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    Malawian Government, Secretary General of the United Nations and the South African Government
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    South African Activist Groups
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We condemn in the strongest terms the conviction of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga in a court in Blantyre for committing so-called unnatural acts. Steven and Tiwonge were arrested in December 2009 after celebrating their engagement and have been in jail ever since.

The continued incitement, in multiple African countries especially Zimbabwe, Malawi and Uganda, against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people is a gross violation of human rights. In allowing this abuse to continue, the door has been opened to reverse and retard progress on all human rights, including the right to dignity and full social, legal and political equality for women, and freedom of expression and the media amongst others.

It is essential that the Secretary General of the United Nations and the heads of other UN Agencies pay attention to what is happening to sexual minorities in Africa and voice their strong disapproval and call for the dropping of all charges against the two men. Unjust, obsolete homophobic laws are retarding social progress and need to be repealed. These laws are being used as political decoys by politicians instead of facing the real problems of poverty and declining standards of living on the continent problems which can only be addressed through an unwavering commitment to human rights, equality and justice.

In particular, we call on the South African government, as the only state in Africa to recognise equality for sexual minorities, to defend the South African constitution by offering asylum to the two men convicted in Malawi and negotiating their immediate release from prison. Everyone who supports human rights should send a protest note to the Malawian embassy in their country and join an immediate campaign to free Steven and Tiwonge.

Statement released by the following organisations:

Coalition to End Discrimination
Community Media Trust
SECTION27 incorporating the AIDS Law Project
Social Justice Coalition
Treatment Action Campaign