Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein

Statement 143

9th Session of the Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review

Statement by Australia

Statement on Malawi
by Ms Sally Dawkins
1 November 2010


Australia welcomes the delegation from Malawi and appreciates its engagement in the Universal Periodic Review Process.

We welcome the positive measures Malawi has made towards achieving the Millennium Development goals. Malawi is likely to meet six of these goals by 2015. We commend Malawi’s efforts, and note that it is one of the few developing countries expected to exceed infant and child mortality eradication targets by 2015. Australia sees much value in a National Action Plan for Children aimed at addressing human rights situations and abuses against children.

Australia encourages Malawi to pursue gender equality in all areas of society, including in relation to sexual and reproductive health; and dissolution of marriages.

We welcome Malawi’s interest in strengthening measures to prevent people trafficking and note that Australia's Attorney-General’s Department has offered assistance in this area.

Australia was pleased to learn about President Bingu wa Mutharika’s pardon earlier this year of a homosexual Malawian couple sentenced to 14 years in prison with hard labour. Like others, we encourage Malawi to decriminalise homosexuality. Through the United Nations General Assembly, Australia has urged all nations to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Australia recommends Malawi:

1. Ensure domestic laws are in conformity with international human rights obligations.

2. Repeal legislation discriminating against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

3. Finalise and implement the draft National Action Plan for Children and put in place effective national legislation and policies to protect the rights of children.

4. Take measures, including through legislation, to ensure equality of women, particularly in decision-making processes and access to basic services and infrastructure.