Posts Tagged 'protests'

U.S. Condemns Violent Disruption of Protests in Malawi

July 21, 2011

For immediate release and posting: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

Office of the Spokesperson

STATEMENT BY HEIDE BRONKE FULTON, ACTING DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON

U.S. Condemns Violent Disruption of Protests in Malawi

The United States strongly condemns the use of force by Malawian authorities on July 20 to prevent their own citizens from exercising their constitutional right to demonstrate peacefully as well as the ban imposed on media reporting of the confrontations.  Denying the right of people to protest peacefully is unacceptable. We are disturbed by reports of violence targeting individuals on account of their political or social affiliations.  We are also troubled by the announcement from the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) banning all private radio stations from covering the demonstrations. In light of continued rioting and rumors of retaliation, we urge restraint from both sides.

The Malawian people are guaranteed the right to peaceful association and freedom of expression in their constitution.  The Government’s attempt to prohibit its citizens from marching, and the regulator’s ban on independent media coverage undermine democracy and the rule of law that Malawians cherish and are seeking to protect.  We recall the words of President Mutharika at the April 7 Millennium Challenge Corporation signing ceremony in Lilongwe, that he “will continue to adhere to and uphold democracy and good governance, freedom of expression, freedom of association” and other fundamental freedoms enshrined in Malawi’s constitution.

The United States calls on the people and the Government of Malawi to remain committed to the principles of democracy and to express disagreements through peaceful means.

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In Malawi, more scapegoating of LGBT as riots erupt

Repost from LGBT Asylum News

Last week the British government announced that it was withdrawing budget support from the Malawian government. The move followed a diplomatic spat but the UK Foreign Office (FCO) blamed Malawi’s increasing authoritarianism for their decision.

Germany, Denmark and other countries have cut their aid to Malawi citing a poor governance record.

Malawi has form on blaming LGBT for aid withdrawals, and some governments and bodies have cited concerns on LGBT rights in their consideration of aid to the country – but they have never been more than a footnote to the same sorts of issues cited by the FCO.

Now Malawi’s government and media has labeled an opposition protest a “gay rights rally”. It banned today’s protest against the state of the economy, which resulted in riots and at least one death. Yesterday, ruling party supporters, who have been encouraged to violence by President Bingu wa Mutharika, threatened anyone who would dare join the protests and attacked two independent radio stations.

Of the two civil society leaders who have been most outspoken in support of LGBT human rights who took part in the protests, Undule Mwakasungula Human Rights Consultative Commitee (HRCC) chairperson was beaten and and executive director of Centre for Development of People (CEDEP) Gift Trapence arrested then released.

Mark Bromley of the Council for Global Equality said:

“Once again we see that an increasingly authoritarian government is trying to deflect attention away from legitimate public grievances and economic hardships by blaming the protests on gay rights supporters. The protests today were not about gay rights, they were about good governance and human rights for all citizens. Continue reading ‘In Malawi, more scapegoating of LGBT as riots erupt’


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