UN Committee Urges Malawi to Pass Information Access Bill

29 July 2014

The United Nations Human Rights Committee has recommended that Malawi adopt an access to information bill.

It is one of many observations made in a document adopted at a meeting held July 22-23.

The committee report says:

The State should expedite the adoption of the Access to Information Bill and to ensure that its provisions and those of the “E-Bill” are in conformity with the Covenant. It should also protect journalists and human rights defenders from harassment and arbitrary arrests, prosecute those responsible and compensate the victims.

The same report also commented on the right to privacy, saying:

The Committee is concerned that the legal provision expanding the authorization of searches without warrant is still in force. It is also concerned that the draft Bill on HIV/AIDS contains provisions which are not in conformity with the Covenant such as those allowing a health service provider to disclose a person’s HIV status and providing for compulsory testing in certain circumstances (art. 17).

The Malawi Cabinet in February approved an access to information policy, setting the stage for introduction of ATI legislation. (See previous FreedomInfo.org report.)

Recently Malawian Minister of Information and Civic Education Kondwani Nankhumwa said he will soon present an access to information bill, according to a July 17 article in Star Africa.

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