Abolish death penalty- YAS urges Malawi governmentBy staff reporterHumanrightswatchdog,YouthandSociety(YAS), hasurgedtheGovernmentofMalawitoabolishthe deathpenaltythroughamendingsection16ofthe Constitutionandrepealingalllawsgivingeffectto thedeathpenaltyinlinewiththeSecondOptional ProtocoltotheInternationalCovenantonCiviland Political Rights.YAShasalsourgedthegovernmenttoratifythe SecondOptionalProtocoltotheInternational CovenantonCivilandPoliticalRightsandcommute thesentencesoftheprisonersremainingondeath row. YASmadethecallsinastatementitissuedonthe commemorationoftheInternationalDayAgainst theDeathPenalty,aglobaldayofactivismagainst thedeathpenalty,whichfallson10October,every year.Thestatement,signedbyYASExecutiveDirectorCharlesKajoloweka,istitled:AcallontheTonseadministrationtoabolishthedeath penalty. "Asahumanrightswatchdog,YASopposesthedeathpenaltyinallcaseswithoutexception,asaviolationoftherighttolife,"the statement begins.However,YAScommendstheGovernmentofMalawifor"alreadybeingprogressiveinpracticeandcommitmentstowardsabolishingthe death penalty"."WhileMalawihasnotratifiedtheSecondOptionalProtocol,practiceinthecountryreflectsacommitmenttoabolishingthedeath penalty.Inthislight,weacknowledgethatsince1994,Malawihashadadefactomoratoriumontheexecutionofthedeathpenalty. Since the establishment of democracy, no person sentenced to death has been executed," the statement reads in part.YASthenexpresseshopethatthefighttowardsabolishingthedeathpenaltymaybetakingtherightdirection,sayingMalawihas actuallymadeclearitscommitmenttothismoratoriuminitsinteractionswiththeAfricanCommissiononHumanandPeoples’Rightsand United Nations Human Rights bodies.Forinstance,YASnotesthat,initsengagementwiththeUnitedNationsHumanRightsCouncil’sUniversalPeriodicReview(UPR),Malawi signaled its intent to continue the moratorium. "AndinitssecondUPRcyclein2015,Malawiacceptedthreecrucialrecommendationsonthedeathpenalty:(1)tocontinuethe moratoriumondeathpenalty(2)tocontinueitseffortstoreviewthecasesofpersonssentencedtodeath,tocommutealldeath sentencesandputinplaceamoratoriumwithaviewtothedeathpenalty’sfutureabolition(3)toreviewandprovideappropriatere-sentencing decisions for those sentenced under the now-abolished mandatory death penalty," says YAS in the statement.Accordingtothestatement,mostsignificantly,inDecember2016,MalawivotedinfavoroftheUNGeneralAssemblyResolution “Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty.” This was the first time Malawi had voted in favor of this Resolution. Apparently,theresolutionstatesthatthesigningnationsare“convincedthatamoratoriumontheuseofthedeathpenaltycontributes to respect for human dignity and to the enhancement and progressive development of human rights.” Further,theresolutioncallsuponallstates“toensurethatthosefacingthedeathpenaltycanexercisetheirrighttoapplyforpardonor commutation.” YAS says, by voting in favor of this resolution, Malawi had made clear its commitment to refrain from carrying out executions. "Remarkably,inrespecttotheKafantayeniJudgments,Malawihasmadeatremendousprogressinre-sentencingprisonerswhowereon death-row". However,YASsaysdespiteprogressivestepsMalawihastakentowardsabolitionofdeathpenalty,itisofgraveconcernthatitstillretains death penalty in its supreme law and statutes. "YASholdsthatitisnotsafeforthecountrytocontinuerelyingonamoratoriumandthegoodwillofthoseintheofficeofthePresidenton deathpenaltyasthecaseisnow.Furthermore,MalawianCourtscontinuetometeoutdeathsentencesinsomecapitaloffencecases. Forinstance,inAugust2019,theHighCourtsittinginMchinjidistrictsentencedtodeaththreepeoplenamelyDouglasMwale,SophieJere and Fontino Folosani – they had been found guilty of murder," further reads the statement.YASwindsupbyurgingtheGovernmentofMalawitoreducemurderratesbyinvestingheavilyinsecurityinordertoprotectcitizensfrom criminals and not by executing people."Wewishtostressthatthereisnocredibleevidencethatthedeathpenaltydeterscrimemoreeffectivelythanlongtermsof imprisonment.Evidenceshowsthatcountriesthathavedeathpenaltylawsdonothavelowermurderratesthancountrieswithoutsuch laws. "Deathpenaltylawsfalselyconvincethepublicthatgovernmenthastakeneffectivemeasurestocombatcrime.Yet,inreality,suchlaws do nothing to protect citizens or our communities from the acts of dangerous criminals," concludes the statement.
YAS, other CSOs rue gaps in implementation of access to information law in MalawiBy staff reporterAconsortiumofYouthandSociety(YAS),Oxfamand DevelopmentCommunicationTrust(DCT)hasexpressedconcern over"somesignificantgaps"intheimplementationoftheAccess toInformation(ATI)Actandoperatingenvironmentforthe effective realization of the right to information. READ MORE
YAS DRILLS KARONGA DUTY BEARERS IN POLITICAL ACCOUNTABILITY, CITIZEN ENGAGEMENT AND YOUTH DEVELOPMENT INSTRUMENTSAuthor:- Alfred ZgamboAspartofcontinuedeffortstostrengthendutybearersresponsiveness,YASonthe19thmarch2021trainedKarongadutybearersand bureaucrats in Political Accountability, Citizen Engagement, and Youth Development Instruments.ThetrainingintendedtoequipthetargetedParticipantswithknowledgeandskillsinPoliticalAccountability,CitizenEngagementand Youth Development Instruments under The Democracy in Young Hands Project. Read More
Charles Kajoloweka: YAS Executive Director
Abolish death penalty- YAS urges Malawi governmentBy staff reporterHuman rights watchdog, Youth and Society (YAS), has urged the Government of Malawi to abolish the death penalty through amending section 16 of the Constitution and repealing all laws giving effect to the death penalty in line with the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.YAS has also urged the government to ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and commute the sentences of the prisoners remaining on death row. YAS made the calls in a statement it issued on the commemoration of the International Day Against the Death Penalty, a global day of activism against the death penalty, which falls on 10 October, every year.The statement, signed by YAS Executive Director Charles Kajoloweka, is titled: A call on the Tonse administration to abolish the death penalty. "As a human rights watchdog, YAS opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception, as a violation of the right to life," the statement begins.However, YAS commends the Government of Malawi for "already being progressive in practice and commitments towards abolishing the death penalty"."While Malawi has not ratified the Second Optional Protocol, practice in the country reflects a commitment to abolishing the death penalty. In this light, we acknowledge that since 1994, Malawi has had a de facto moratorium on the execution of the death penalty. Since the establishment of democracy, no person sentenced to death has been executed," the statement reads in part.YAS then expresses hope that the fight towards abolishing the death penalty may be taking the right direction, saying Malawi has actually made clear its commitment to this moratorium in its interactions with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and United Nations Human Rights bodies.For instance, YAS notes that, in its engagement with the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR), Malawi signaled its intent to continue the moratorium. "And in its second UPR cycle in 2015, Malawi accepted three crucial recommendations on the death penalty: (1) to continue the moratorium on death penalty (2) to continue its efforts to review the cases of persons sentenced to death, to commute all death sentences and put in place a moratorium with a view to the death penalty’s future abolition (3) to review and provide appropriate re-sentencing decisions for those sentenced under the now-abolished mandatory death penalty," says YAS in the statement.According to the statement, most significantly, in December 2016, Malawi voted in favor of the UN General Assembly Resolution “Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty.” This was the first time Malawi had voted in favor of this Resolution. Apparently, the resolution states that the signing nations are “convinced that a moratorium on the use of the death penalty contributes to respect for human dignity and to the enhancement and progressive development of human rights.” Further, the resolution calls upon all states “to ensure that those facing the death penalty can exercise their right to apply for pardon or commutation.” YAS says, by voting in favor of this resolution, Malawi had made clear its commitment to refrain from carrying out executions. "Remarkably, in respect to the Kafantayeni Judgments, Malawi has made a tremendous progress in re-sentencing prisoners who were on death-row". However, YAS says despite progressive steps Malawi has taken towards abolition of death penalty, it is of grave concern that it still retains death penalty in its supreme law and statutes. "YAS holds that it is not safe for the country to continue relying on a moratorium and the goodwill of those in the office of the President on death penalty as the case is now. Furthermore, Malawian Courts continue to mete out death sentences in some capital offence cases. For instance, in August 2019, the High Court sitting in Mchinji district sentenced to death three people namely Douglas Mwale, Sophie Jere and Fontino Folosani – they had been found guilty of murder," further reads the statement.YAS winds up by urging the Government of Malawi to reduce murder rates by investing heavily in security in order to protect citizens from criminals and not by executing people."We wish to stress that there is no credible evidence that the death penalty deters crime more effectively than long terms of imprisonment. Evidence shows that countries that have death penalty laws do not have lower murder rates than countries without such laws. "Death penalty laws falsely convince the public that government has taken effective measures to combat crime. Yet, in reality, such laws do nothing to protect citizens or our communities from the acts of dangerous criminals," concludes the statement.
YAS DRILLS KARONGA DUTY BEARERS IN POLITICAL ACCOUNTABILITY, CITIZEN ENGAGEMENT AND YOUTH DEVELOPMENT INSTRUMENTSAuthor:- Alfred ZgamboAspartofcontinuedeffortstostrengthendutybearers responsiveness,YASonthe19thmarch2021trained KarongadutybearersandbureaucratsinPolitical Accountability,CitizenEngagement,andYouth Development Instruments.ThetrainingintendedtoequipthetargetedParticipants withknowledgeandskillsinPoliticalAccountability, CitizenEngagementandYouthDevelopment InstrumentsunderTheDemocracyinYoungHands Project.READ MORE
YAS, other CSOs rue gaps in implementation of access to information law in MalawiBy staff reporterAconsortiumofYouthandSociety(YAS),Oxfamand DevelopmentCommunicationTrust(DCT)hasexpressed concernover"somesignificantgaps"inthe implementationoftheAccesstoInformation(ATI)Act andoperatingenvironmentfortheeffectiverealization of the right to information. READ MORE