By Kenson McCloud
As Malawi and the international community celebrate Human Rights Day, the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation says it is high time the country found long lasting solutions towards ending rampant sexual violence.
The day, which falls on 10th December every year, is being commemorated under the theme Equality; Reducing inequalities, advancing human rights and seeks to address deep rooted forms of discrimination that have affected most vulnerable groups in society including women and girls and people with disabilities.
In an interview with Timveni, director for Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation, Michael Kaiyatsa said though there has been extensive awareness campaign and demand for justice for victims of sexual violence, such crimes have persisted.
According to Kaiyatsa, there is need for comprehensive research to understand reasons behind rising cases of rape and defilement.
"If we cannot understand the root cause of the problem then even if we give stiffer punishment to offenders and continue funding these programs, it will not achieve anything," said Kaiyatsa.
He further probed for duty bearers including chiefs and religious leaders to continue engaging their subjects on the ills of sexual violence.
Meanwhile, in its remarks on Human Rights Day, the Malawi Human Rights Commission has said government should prioritise access to education for children in rural areas when formulating its COVID-19 recovery plan to ensure no one is left behind.
Public Relation Officer for the commission, Kate Kujaliwa said the rights body found that COVID-19 induced school breaks have huge impact on children in rural areas.
Kujaliwa said the commission has written the government on a number of issues and so far have received responses on concerns.
"But presently on the issue partaining to the issue of inclusion of persons with disabilities, we released a report and expect government to give us response," said Kujaliwa.