Delayed prosecution on elderly assault cases irks rights groups – Capital Radio Malawi
21 July, 2024

Delayed prosecution on elderly assault cases irks rights groups

Christina Mphande, was assaulted in Mzimba on accusation of witchcraft

Rights activists are faulting law enforcement agencies for failing to prosecute people who accuse the elderly of practicing witchcraft.

According to the activists, there are over 50 cases of such nature awaiting prosecution, some of which date back to 2014.

In a joint statement, the Malawi Network for Older Persons’ Organizations-(MANEPO) and Human Rights Commission, Malawi (MHRC) are expressing concern over the continued attacks on older people.

“Whilst we hold it that escalation of abuse, discrimination and even killings of older persons can be explained by continued failure by law enforcement agencies to prosecute those who accuse older men and women of practicing witchcraft; the uncoordinated responses at various levels of the justice administrative system and the absence of structured community support systems continue to make Malawi one of the worst countries for older persons in Africa,” reads the statement in part.

The rights organizations are calling for timely prosecution and stiffer punishments by the Judiciary to deter would-be perpetrators which will in turn safeguard the rights of older persons.

Their calls are also in keeping up with some of the international accords that Malawi is signatory to.

Cognizant of such, the rights groups have urged law enforcers to effectively interpret and enforce policies and legislation to protect the rights of older persons as stipulated in the African Union Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Older Persons in Africa.

Manepo and MHRC have since called on the government to quickly intervene and take action to finalise the review of the Witchcraft Act of 1911.

“We, [therefore] anticipate government’s quick action to finalize the review of the Witchcraft Act of 1911 which will also provide protection to elderly persons against these attacks and other violations based on allegations of practicing witchcraft due to their age.

…even though the 2016 National Policy for Older Persons recognizes the duty of the State to protect the rights of older persons, we also urge every person to promote and protect the rights of elderly persons by working hand in hand, with law enforcement agencies,” stress the two organisations in the statement.

Some of the responsibilities that the citizenry is being implored to take up is  include reporting all perpetrators to ensure they face the law as this will assure respect for human rights, including the rights of the elderly.

Rights activists are faulting law enforcement agencies for failing to prosecute people who accuse the elderly of practicing witchcraft.

According to the activists, there are over 50 cases of such nature awaiting prosecution, some of which date back to 2014.

In a joint statement, the Malawi Network for Older Persons’ Organizations-(MANEPO) and Human Rights Commission, Malawi (MHRC) are expressing concern over the continued attacks on older people.

“Whilst we hold it that escalation of abuse, discrimination and even killings of older persons can be explained by continued failure by law enforcement agencies to prosecute those who accuse older men and women of practicing witchcraft; the uncoordinated responses at various levels of the justice administrative system and the absence of structured community support systems continue to make Malawi one of the worst countries for older persons in Africa,” reads the statement in part.

The rights organizations are calling for timely prosecution and stiffer punishments by the Judiciary to deter would-be perpetrators which will in turn safeguard the rights of older persons.

Their calls are also in keeping up with some of the international accords that Malawi is signatory to.

Cognizant of such, the rights groups have urged law enforcers to effectively interpret and enforce policies and legislation to protect the rights of older persons as stipulated in the African Union Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Older Persons in Africa.

Manepo and MHRC have since called on the government to quickly intervene and take action to finalise the review of the Witchcraft Act of 1911.

“We, [therefore] anticipate government’s quick action to finalize the review of the Witchcraft Act of 1911 which will also provide protection to elderly persons against these attacks and other violations based on allegations of practicing witchcraft due to their age.

…even though the 2016 National Policy for Older Persons recognizes the duty of the State to protect the rights of older persons, we also urge every person to promote and protect the rights of elderly persons by working hand in hand, with law enforcement agencies,” stress the two organisations in the statement.

Some of the responsibilities that the citizenry is being implored to take up is  include reporting all perpetrators to ensure they face the law as this will assure respect for human rights, including the rights of the elderly.

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