Saturday, 10 March 2012

Scottish body demands freedom for Malawi lawyers

The Law Society of Scotland has called upon Malawi government to stop intimidating  and violating  rights for   lawyers

The society  made a call following recent attack  on human rights defenders in  Malawi  including the detention of human rights lawyer and former Attorney General Ralph Kasambara

According to a press statement  released on  09 March 2012 The Society said it is extremely  concerned  over the widespread reports of harassment and intimidation of  lawyers including  human rights defenders  in the country

The society therefore called upon government  to reaffirm its commitment to the freedoms that are enshrined in the country’s constitution and uphold the protection of the  human rights of the citizens of Malawi through its on actions and  those  of its agencies.

It further called upon government to denounce politically motivated and unlawful ill-treatment of those who choose to exercise their democracy right to freedom of expression.

In addition to that, the Society also urged government to resolve the current judicial  strike action which started in 12 January .

“The Society has also expressed deep concern at the prolonged industrial action currently taking place within the Malawi judicial and the ongoing and devastating effect this is having on citizens’ ability to access the justice system.” Reads  the statement

“ We understand  that the ongoing strikes, which started in 12 January and have spread from judicial support staff  to include judges and magistrates, have effectively brought the country’s judicial system to a stand- still” added the statement

The statement added that  the industrial action is as a result of  government failure to undertake  its  promised three-yearly salary review  of  judicial officers  and implement the increase that were recommended at the last review in 2006.

The Law Society therefore urged government to begin open and constrictive negotiations with the staff of the judiciary as one way of reaching a compromise. Saying the strike action has serious and far-reaching implications for Malawi citizens, victims of crime, suspects, law enforcement officials, prisons and police stations

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