Southern Africa: UN Flags Malawi Over Political Tension, Fears Will Spiral Out of Control

11 October 2019

United Nations has raised a red flag over Malawi, saying there is a serious risk the political situation will spiral out of control.

Spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Rupert Colville says in press briefing note on Malawi there was an urgent need for the government and other stakeholders engage in dialogue to deal with the post-election violence.

"We urge the government and other relevant actors to urgently engage in a genuine and meaningful dialogue to address the political, social and economic grievances of the population and reduce tension," says Colville.

The UN Human Rights body has also faulted the Malawi security agencies for the excessive use of force against lawful protesters which led to the killing of one demonstrator.

"We remind the Malawian authorities that the use of force during demonstrations should only be applied in exceptional circumstances in accordance with applicable international human rights norms and standards, including the principles of legality, necessity and proportionality," says the statement in part.

The statement says in the case of violent demonstrations, law enforcement officers may use firearms only when less dangerous means are not practicable and only to the minimum extent necessary.

"In any event, intentional lethal force with firearms by law enforcement officials is prohibited, except as a last resort to protect against an imminent threat of death or serious injury," says the statement.

The UN Human Rights says all allegations of misconduct by security forces, including those resulting in death or injury, should be investigated in a prompt, thorough and impartial manner.

There was no immediate response from the government or the security forces in Malawi.

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