Malawi still criminalizing same sex conduct - Nyasa Rainbow Alliance

Nyasa Rainbow Alliance (NRA) has said Malawi is one of the countries in Africa which has maintained repressive laws that criminalize same sex conduct in its statute books.

NRA Executive Director, Eric Sambisa said this in a statement on the status of Human Right of LGBTIQ+ community in the country on Tuesday in Blantyre.

He said despite being a member of the world’s top human rights body, United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council, Malawi has refused or neglected to address the growing condemnation from both local and international human rights activists.

Sambisa added that activities have been demanding the repeal of laws that criminalize consensual same sex relationships between consenting adults in private.

He pointed out government continues to use culture, tradition and religion to justify the denial of basic rights of the LGBTIQ+ persons in the country.

Sambisa (C) addressing media in Blantyre 

“This is contrary to the dictates of the constitution which guarantees to everyone the right to equal protection, and to be recognized as a person before the law, and the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of one’s status,” the Executive Director viewed.

NRA Programme and Operations Manager, George Kachimanga noted that the Penal Code of Malawi (Cap: 7:01 of the Laws of Malawi) in sections 137A, 153, 154, and 156 criminalize homosexuality and other consensual activities among adults.

“As a result, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) people in the country face routine harassment, violence and discrimination in almost all aspects of their daily lives.  It is against this background that NRA which is an LGBTIQ+ led organization in the country seeks to address the media and public on the status of human rights related issues affecting the lives of LGBTIQ+ persons in the country,” he stated.

A member of LGBTI+ community, Adams Phiri viewed that harassment and discrimination faced by the LGBTIQ+ Persons in the country was due to failure by government to repeal laws.

He said  that criminalize consensual same sex relationships between two consenting adults in private, the LGBTIQ+ persons continue to face homophobic violence, arbitrary arrest  and detention, harassment, discrimination, sexual violence, extortion and other abuses.