Human Rights bodies lobby for prison farms funding. – Capital Radio Malawi
23 April, 2024

Human Rights bodies lobby for prison farms funding.

Massive investment by the government in prison farming activities is being highlighted as crucial to eliminating perennial food crises in the reformatory institutions.

A majority of the country’s prisons have for several months now been running without adequate food supplies, thus pushing the Malawi Prison Service to turn to rationing.

The food crisis in the country’s prisons is largely due to either inadequate funding or, as was the case earlier this month, failure by contracted suppliers to deliver food rations.

Human rights bodies are now fearing for the lives of inmates, especially those on TB treatment as they are prone to developing complications including the drug resistant TB.

George Jobe of Malawi Health Equity Network (MHEN), indicates that going without sufficient food poses a great risk to prisoners on various medical treatments.

“The Malawi Prison Service needs to make sure that inmates on medical treatment should be prioritized and access food even at a time that prisons do not have food,” Jobe said.

Food insecurity among inmates is an infringement of rights of prisoners, who – by law – are not supposed to be denied food or any basic requirement.

Deprivation of food, according to Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) National Coordinator, Boniface Chibwana, is prohibited.

Chibwana observes that local prisons are underfunded and suggests that increasing funding would respond to some of these challenges.

In the country’s prisons, inmates generally eat one meal per day.

In order to respond to the food needs of the prisons, Centre for Human Rights, Advice and Assistance (CHREAA) is suggesting that the government should consider reviving prison farms.

CHREAA’s Executive Director, Victor Mhango, notes that food shortages are felt less in prisons with farms.

‘Going back in the years of Kamuzu Banda regime prisons were having their own farms, if you can go to Kasungu and Rumphi prisons they have got big farms. What they are lacking are funds to revive them, if we give them the resources prisons can even feed the whole nation,’’ points out Mhango.

Meanwhile, the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) is advising the authorities to respect the plight of prisoners by ensuring that there’s enough food at all times.

Habiba Osman the Executive Secretary for the MHRC affirms that they will continue to investigate other human rights abuses in prisons as a result of the food crisis.

As expressed by the rights activists, intermittent food supply to the prisons puts lives of inmates on the line.

The government It is therefore duty to introduce tailor-made programmes to respond to these needs.

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *