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Reported cases

Summary of Recorded Complaints in the year 2009

In the year under review, Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) received a number of complaints on issues of Gender Based Violence (GBV) , Land, Labour, Property Grabbing, Child Rights, Health, Compensation, Immigration and Refugees  issues, Police torture issues, Witch craft, Corruption Issues and other related human rights abuses. The complaints were lodged either through correspondence, in person or through phone calls. In Total 202 complaint were recorded. Following is a synopsis of the records.

Gender Based Violence (GBV)

On Domestic and Gender Based Violence we derived the observation that out of 35 reported cases, majority of the complainants almost 90% were women and the remaining 10% were men. Most of the complaints by women were on physical abuse, extra marital affairs, and divorce without settlement and child maintenances. CHRR also observed that most of the marriages broke up early because they did not stay on courtship in this regards they were just entering into marriage without knowing each other .The male complainants usually complained on economic subjections and extra marital affairs. Some of the complaints were referred to other relevant NGO’s, Government Institutions, Marriage councilors and Church elders, while the rest were settled by CHRR successfully through alternative dispute resolution.

Types of cases No of cases Status of cases
Extra marital affairs 15 10 referred 5 done by (CHRR)
Maintenance of children and women 4 Referred to court
Unacceptable divorce 1 Referred to court
Physical beating 1 Referred to church councilor
Verbal and psychological torture 1 Marriage councilor
Economical problems 1 Done by CHRR
Property problems 1 Referred to Court
Relative problems 1 Marriage councilor

Labour

We recorded complaints from both Informal and formal sectors, almost 86 complaints were recorded. Most of the recorded complaints in this category was from informal sector than the formal one almost 80% of the complaints were registered from the informal and the remaining 20% complaint were from formal sector this was mainly because of lack of knowledge as to what the employment Act provides. On the other side of the informal workers it was because of lack of contractual agreements by respective employers. CHRR also derived an observation that due to lack of knowledge and understanding of the employment Act it was difficult for dismissed employees  to get their dues and benefits .Most of the complainants from both informal and formal sectors were referred to labour office, Industrial relations Court and back to their employers for further discussions on the matter, because most of the complainants were just rushing to complain without even discussing further about their issues with their employers.

Types of cases No. of cases Status of cases to date
Improper dismissals 30 15Refered to labour office,5 done by CHRR,10 industrial court
Benefits Calculations problems 30 20 Referred to Labour 10 industrial relations court
Misunderstanding on contracts 20 13 done by CHRR, 7 referred to Employers for further discussions
Holiday issues 4 All done by Labour office
Salary problems 2 Referred to Labour office

Land

Almost 13 cases were recorded in this category; CHRR derived the observation that most of the complainants were widows and orphans claiming their land which were grabbed by their husband’s relatives. CHRR derived the observation that Local Structures like T/As and other Traditional Authorities are contributing to promotion of cases of land in the districts almost 80% of the cases were influenced by the Traditional leaders 15% of the cases were complained by the widows and the remaining were orphans.

Types of cases No. of cases Status of cases to date
Boundaries 5 Referred to DCs
Land grabbing by TAs 5 2 Done by CHRR, 3 by DC
Land grabbing by Relatives 1 Legal Aid
Land Distributions 2 T/A

Compensations

In this category CHRR received 10 cases, these cases were the results of accidents during work or just at the road due to reckless driving as well as cyclist and pedestrians’ carelessness on the road.90% of these cases resulted from different roads accidents and 10% from the work accidents.

Types of cases No of cases Status to date
Road accidents complaints 5 2 done by CHRR, 3 by Police
Office accidents complaints 3 Referred to Compensation Tribunal
Government Workers benefits complaints 2 Referred to Ombudsman

Child Rights

CHRR almost recorded 19 cases in this category in areas of education, Healthy, witch craft defilements and various forms of human Rights abuses. 90% of the recorded cases were on denial of right to education where parents fails to pay school fees for children even if the are working, and the 10% of the cases were on various human rights abuses including right to health ,abduction of a child etc. Most of the children came directly to complain to our office.

Types of cases No. of cases Status of cases to date
Denied rights to education 6 3 CHRR, 3, CEYCA
Denied Right to Health 5 4 CHRR, 1 Social welfare
Abduction 1 The suspect has been convicted
Forced early marriage 1 CHRR
Attempt  rape, defilements 6 2 CHRR,2 Police 2, CEYCA

Witch Craft

In this category 1 case was recorded in the year 2009, this case was referred to police for further investigations.

Types of cases No of cases Status of cases to date
Teaching Children complaint 1 Referred to Police

Property Grabbing

We recorded 16 cases in this category CHRR derived the observation that 89% of the complainants are widows and that the remaining 11% were orphans.

Types of cases No of cases Status of cases to date
Property grabbing by Uncles 5 Legal Aid
Property grabbing by husband relatives 7 4 referred to Legal Aid,2 to  DC Office , and 1 to CHRR

Immigration and Refugees issues

3 cases were recorded in this category; in all the cases we discovered that Zimbabweans who were deported from united Kingdom wanted our office to help them to go back to UK but this was not done as they were to under go court process. The courts fined them and send them back to Zimbabwe. CHRR also discovered that Malawian passports were easily found with many foreigners. All these complainants were from Zimbabwe but they have Malawian passports obtained from Malawi others from Zimbabwe

Types of cases No. of cases Status of the cases
Deported Zimbabweans with Malawian Passports 2 Court, Immigration
Refugees camp Complaint 1 UNHCR

Police Torture

CHRR recorded 10 cases in this category; the observation was that 100% reported cases were on delays and torture that people are facing in the cells of police stations. These were suspects and relatives of the suspects complaining on behalf of their relatives on how police is treating them.

Types of cases No. of cases Status of cases
Physical torture 7 Court, Legal Aid, CELA
Property grabbing 2 Police head quarters
Verbal insults 1 Legal Aid

Political Issues

CHRR recorded 1 case in this category, the client was complaining of fear of being taken to court after winning the 2009 elections. He claims that the other party was accusing him of corruption for him to win the said seat in parliament the case was referred to Malawi Electro Commission for further advice.

Types of cases No. of cases Status of cases
     

Corruption

Three cases were recorded, CHRR referred 1 client to most of these cases were from land disputes which indicates T/As involvement in corruption in order for them to get poor people’s land, in this regard one was referred to Lilongwe District Commission’s Officer and the remaining cases to Ant corruption bural respectively for further explanations.

Types of cases No. of Cases Status of Cases
T/A involvement in land corruption issues 2 DC, Legal Aid
Labour officers involvement in Corruption case 1 Ant Corruption

Finance Assistance

Five clients both asked our office to assist them financially for their up keep but since our offices do not assist people with finances we advised them accordingly and referred the to proper offices for further assistance.

Types of cases No. of cases Status of Cases
Finance help to continue with school 3 Min of Education and
Finance help for transport 2 Social welfare office

Achievements

  • CHRR resolve 39% of cases out of the 202 cases logged.
  • CHRR also successfully refer 59% of its cases to well placed offices like labour office, Industrial relations Court.
  • CHRR also managed to get some feedbacks of how referral cases where handled two institutions namely labour and Ombudsman’s office.
  • The office also managed to network with different offices in its operations .This made the department work easy.
  • CHRR also worked hand in hand with the labour office on issues of labour and human right we were going together for inspection they were also calling us when they have a human right labour related issue.
  • The office went to Karonga to monitor some of outstanding cases.
  • Other clients whom CHRR were following up the case with at the court were given bail.
  • Another perpetrator whom CHRR brought to book was convicted for violating a child’s right.

Challenges

  • The fundamental challenge amongst all is on limited resources for the legal aid counseling currently we handles an average of 4 cases a day, due to lack of resources we were unable to monitor and investigate fully some of these complaints
  • Another challenge was feedback from other offices where CHRR referred its cases this was making it difficult for our reporting system.
  • Another challenges included failure to trace clients who has no contact phone number in order to follow their case.
  • Lack of knowledge of basic human rights especially among the domestic workers.
  • Delays by the court to give in judgments and to do court procedures on cases

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Area 47/03/90
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Lilongwe
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Email: chrr@chrrmw.org
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