On 20th July 2011, civil society organisations, including the Malawi Confederation of Trade Unions (MCTU), took to the streets to advance legitimate calls for the government to address deteriorating economic conditions and international relations as well as repressive laws limiting civil liberties.
Nationwide demonstrations in Malawi turned into two days of riots after government security forces brutally put down the demonstrations, leaving 19 people dead and many more injured. A set of recent legislative changes as well as the violent repression of legitimate and peaceful protest actions constitute unacceptable violations of international rights and standards.
Despite the brutal police crackdown, protestors took their demands to the government, calling on President Mutharika to address these demands by 16 August. Please join us in asking President Mutharika to respect the right of civil society organizations to organize and peacefully protest in Malawi.
- Ministry of Justice, Malawi
- President of Malawi
President Bingu wa Mutharika
The use of live ammunition, tear gas and beatings by government forces to repress the recent civil protests organised within the constitutional bounds of your country, leaving 19 dead and scores more injured, is a violation of human rights. I call on you to launch an independent inquiry into these deaths and acts of violence. I am also concerned for the safety of many local civil society leaders, including labor leaders, who have received threats following the events of the 20th and 21st July, and ask you to publicly address and condemn the threats to civil society activists including trade unionists. I urge you, Mr President, to cease attempts to publicly brand those that engage in peaceful protest and address the legitimate grievances of civil society through genuine dialogue. I also ask that you uphold the right to peaceful protest and freedom of expression as well as ensure that violent repression of protests does not occur again in the future.
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