For now, Malawi is abiding by the principle that fundamental human rights, including the human rights of LGBTI people, should not be jeopardized by putting them to a vote in a referendum.
Janet Banda, Malawi’s solicitor general, last month said the government will conduct unspecified “public inquiries,” not a referendum, into whether the country’s anti-homosexuality laws should be repealed.
The Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) will be in charge of the exploration of public opinion on the subject, Banda said.
President Peter Mutharika has stated that he “wants gay rights protected” but has also proposed a referendum on them.
Since 2012, Malawi has observed a moratorium on enforcement of its anti-LGBTI law, which has been challenged in court as unconstitutional and contrary to Malawi’s commitments to uphold international standards for human rights. The law against same-sex intimacy, if enforced, would provide for prison sentences of up to 14 years for men and up to five years for women.
- Malawi: Judge seeks renewed gay arrests; gay man attacked (February 2016, 76crimes.com)
- Call for police probe of anti-gay hate speech in Malawi (Jan. 6, 2016, 76crimes.com)
- Pastor coalition wants homosexuals re-arrested (Jan. 4, 2015, The Nation)
- Gay Malawian appeals for justice; now he’s in hiding (Jan. 2, 2016, 76crimes.com)
- Gays come out fighting: ‘Kill us or give us our rights’ (Jan. 2, 2016, The Times of Malawi)
- Malawi gay man comes out: ‘Either kill gays or give us rights’ (Jan. 2, 2016, Nyasa Times)
- Malawi drops charges against 2 arrested for gay sex (Dec. 19, 2015, 76crimes.com)
- Malawi outraged as West opposes revival of gay arrests (Dec. 19, 2015, 76crimes.com)
- Malawi arrests came with threats, assault, extortion (Dec. 16, 2015, 76crimes.com)
- Malawi police end moratorium on anti-gay arrests (Dec. 10, 2015, 76crimes.com)
- Two men who were caught having sex released on bail (Dec. 10, 2015, Malawi24)
- Two gays arrested while having sex in Malawi (Dec. 9, 2015, Malawi24)
- It’s official: No more Malawi arrests under anti-gay laws (July 2014, 76crimes.com)
- 3 in Malawi prisons await ruling on sodomy law