MHRC for swift launch of action plan against rape, defilement

Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has asked government to move swiftly in launching the long awaited National Action Plan against rape and defilement to help in the fight against gender based violence amid closure of schools.

A statement signed by Habiba Osman, MHRC’s Executive Secretary says launching of the action plan will help the country to reduce teenage pregnancies, gender based violence and early marriages during the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic.

The commission has outlined a number of lessons from the first wave of coronavirus including the increase in teenage pregnancies and child marriages recorded during the first wave of the deadly pandemic.

Statistics from the Ministry of Gender show that over 20,000 girls were impregnated across the country between March and October last year when school had been closed as part of containing the fast spread of the virus.

The commission feels the learnings from the first wave calls for enhance strategies to ensure that there is reduced teenage pregnancies during the coronavirus second wave.

As a solution, the statement said to deal with gender based violence and early marriages , it is critical that Government launches the long awaited National Action Plan that the National Taskforce was mandated to develop.

MHRC has also asked government to put in place strategy that will ensure continuity of education while students at home.

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