UN Tasks Malawi On Human Rights Obligations Following Tragic Death of Clement Chiwaya

By Alice Chisanga

Craig Mokhiber, Director Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. ( OHCHR)

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has said Malawi consented to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities in 2009 and is fully bound by its provisions.

The UN statement was in response a question posed by Zambian Multimedia Journalist Alice Chisanga in an exclusive interview following the death of Malawi’s former Deputy Speaker of Parliament Clement Chiwaya who claimed his own life on grounds that parliament had reduced him to a beggar over his entitlement.

Craig Mokhiber, the Director at the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner in New York cited  without prejudice to what transpired to the deceased, the consentment to the rights of persons with disabilities by the Malawian Government in 2009 which also included obligations of non-discrimination in matters of employment, remuneration, and social protection according to articles 27 & 28.

Clement Chiwaya cited his physical disability as a contributing factor in his suicide note and indicated that  he become frustrated with the non-implementation of his conditions of service which included a  vehicle  entitlement scheme.

Mr. Mokhiber how ever made mention that unfortunately, Malawi had not yet ratified the optional protocol to the convention which allowed individual cases to be brought to the committee.

Despite that, Mr. Mokhiber  said, Malawi was still subject to the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review of its human rights record and the Universal Periodic Review had already recommended that Malawi “adopt a human rights-based approach to disability.”

He said the country was also subject to consideration by the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities and went on to say that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights engages with Malawi on all questions of human rights, including those relating to persons with disabilities, through a Human Rights Advisor attached to the United Nations country team in Lilongwe in addition to the regional office based in South Africa.

He said through these mechanisms, constructive engagement on those issues were carried out with the government and civil society in Malawi.

Mr. Clement Chiwaya shot himself in the head with a pistol inside the office of the clerk of parliament, Fiona Kalembera where he had gone to discuss vehicle benefits entitled to him after he left office in 2019.

Mr. Chiwaya had also served as Minister responsible for disability and elderly affairs under former President Peter Mutharika.

The former Deputy Speaker claimed his life on Thursday, 30th September 2021 and was buried on Saturday 2nd October 2021 in the Southeast Town of Mangochi.


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