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Concluding Observations, CCPR/C/MWI/CO/1, 18 June 2012: Malawi

7. The Committee is concerned about allegations regarding reported cases of violence and discrimination against people engaging in same-sex relationships in the State party, as well as allegations of incitement to violence against them by some public officials and authorities, despite section 20 of the Constitution, which guarantees equality of persons and prohibits discrimination. The Committee is also concerned about sections 153 and 156 of the Penal Code, which criminalize homosexuality, and about the new amendment to the Penal Code, section 137A, which also criminalizes same-sex relationships between women (arts. 2, 3 and 26).

The State party should amend its Penal Code to decriminalize homosexuality between adults of both sexes, and conduct awareness-raising campaigns to educate the population on this issue. The State party should also take appropriate steps to protect persons engaged in same-sex consensual relationships against discrimination and violence on the basis of their sexual orientation, and ensure that public officials and public authorities refrain from using language that may encourage hatred and violence against them.

In this regard, the State party should prosecute persons allegedly responsible for such acts of discrimination and violence, and punish those who are convicted.

Response: The Government of Malawi has referred to the Law Commission for review of all legislation referred to above. The review process will be thorough and consultative. The Malawi Law Commission is an independent body and its recommendations are seriously considered by the Government of Malawi.

Link to full text of the report: Concluding Observations-CCPR-Malawi-2012-eng