Welcome to Malawi Human Rights Commission

The Malawi Human Rights Commission (the Commission) is an independent national human rights institution established by the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi under section 129, with the primary function of protecting and investigating violations of the rights accorded by the Constitution or any other law. The duties and functions are further specified in the Human Rights Commission Act; the Gender Equality Act and the Access to Information Act.

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Anyone who is concerned about a human rights violation or abuse of power or maladministration by public institutions and by officers of those institutions can file a complaint

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The Commission is empowered, to investigate complaints of human rights violations upon receiving submissions from individuals or classes of persons, or on its motion with a view to making recommendations to relevant parties or authorities on effective remedies for such violations or recommending other measures necessary for the effective protection and promotion of human rights
The Complaint Handling System guides complaint handling. Presently, this system is largely manual-based but progress is being made to computerize it. The system process involves receipt, screening and handling of cases. An officer is designated to receive complaints from members of the public who call on the Commission offices in person. The Commission also receives complaints through phone conversations, letters and emails. All complaints must provide details of the one or ones complaining, the complaint, the victim of the complaint as well as the one or ones alleged to have caused the complaint. At this stage, the Commission does not yet open a file
Once a person(s) designated has screened the complaint, usually a lawyer, the Complaint is recommended for action by the appropriate director. Some complaints require that action be escalated to the Executive Secretary, Chairperson of the Commission or the full Commission for decision making on the action to be taken. To aide quality assurance, the Secretariat has established a complaint handling committee, which meets fortnightly
Upon screening, complaints are either rejected for want of merit; advice provided; referred elsewhere with proper jurisdiction or; admitted for further action. Where complaints have been admitted for further action, the complaint is now treated as a case and a case file is opened for such a case. Usually such further actions include investigations, litigation and alternative dispute resolution. In all these processes, the Commission has power to determine its own methods of operations. These include public inquiries and hearings, among others methods. The Commission is also empowered to co-opt any person in the exercise of its powers

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Human Rights Education,
Information and Training

The Commission is a source of human rights information for the Government and the people of Malawi. In addition, the Commission assists in educating the public on and promoting awareness and respect for human rights
Based on this mandate, the Commission is responsible for educating people on human rights issues through various media channels, conducting community outreach programmes, seminars and training workshops. Further, Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials are produced to promote awareness of, and respect of all human rights and freedoms. According to 2018 Justice and Accountability Study Report, 90 percent of the people at national level are aware of their human rights. However, the levels vary with the region and urbanisation. There is no mainstreamed of human rights based approach in the provision of basic services. Therefore, the Commission developed Human Rights Education Strategy to ensure uniformity in and effective coordination and standardised approach to provision of human rights education by the various stakeholders in Malawi. Further, the Human Rights Coordination Forum was established to provide an all-inclusive and sustainable platform for all actors in human rights promotion and protection work in a way that is integrated and responsive to national priorities

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Research, Monitoring
and Documentation

To be a dependable source of human rights information and accurate advice to the various authorities and members of the public, the Commission undertakes human rights research and monitoring. In the current state of structural organisation, the Commission has designated an officer among the thematic directorates to coordinate research function. However, there are steps towards formalising the structure in future. Meanwhile, the Commission has developed a five year Research Agenda that prioritised thematic areas for detailed probing. These include: civil and political rights; economic, social and cultural rights; gender and women's rights; child rights; disability and elderly rights; rights of minority groups; and emerging human rights issues in Malawi. The agenda would be regularly updated, depending on emerging issues.
As well as research, the Commission undertake human rights monitoring and due diligence in various places that are prone to human rights abuses, including places of detention, workplaces, childcare institutions. Monitoring exercises, conducted regularly, are aimed at ensuring compliance of human rights principles and standards in such vulnerable places
In order to ensure increased responsiveness of legislation, policies, regulations, court decisions, administrative decisions, procedures, bills and administrative proposals to human rights standards in both public and private sectors, the Commission conducts examination of their status and submit policy briefs to Government for consideration.

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Access to

The Information Access to Information Act is not operational as it awaits the commencement date to be appointed by the Minister. Meanwhile, the Commission developed forms and user guides to be used by information seekers, facilitated the appointment of Information officers, orientation of heads of MDAs, training of information officers in, conducted orientation for media and civil society, district commissioners and heads of local government assemblies, traditional leaders in all the three regions. In addition to these, and in preparation for the commencement of the Act, the Commission continues to create awareness among members of the public as potential seekers of information

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UN Resident Representative Ms. Torres Making a Speech During the 2018 Human Rights Day
#StandUpForHumanRights 2018 International Human Rights Day Commemoration, Thondwe, Zomba
Albinism Discussion Groups in Selected Parts of the Country
MHRC Members of Staff Pose for a Group Photo During the 2018 Human Rights Day
International Human Rights Day, 10 December 2019
Gender Equity, a Key to Sustainable National Development
Cultural Dances During the Launch of the Access to Information Act