HRDC Expresses worry over lack of progress on prison Bill

The Malawi Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) have expressed worry over the lack of progress on prison bill which has gone 10 years without being taken to parliament.

The worries over the bill were made on Monday in Blantyre by Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance (Chreaa), Legal Aid Bureau and Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) during a photo exhibition event organised by Chreaa.

Executive Director for Chreaa Victor Mhango, wondered why Parliament has been ignoring the wellbeing of people in prisons saying the condition is affecting their lives.

In addition to that, Regional Human Rights Coordinator for MHRC Victor Khwima said the self-respect of people in prisons is at stake.

However, Chief Legal Aid Advocate Sigele Chirwa said the draft bill comprises of what they have been supporting for and if passed, their work would become easier.

The Prison Act was enacted in 1956 and in 2003 there was an attempt to change it to align it with the country’s 1994 constitution but this was rejected by Parliament.

Currently, the number of prisoners is between 16,000 and 14,000 against the recommended capacity of 5,500.

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