Malawi recently had its aid from Britain suspended due to its poor human rights record. Here is the CHRI take on its homosexual human rights track record.
Law that Criminalises Homosexuality
Penal Code Cap. 7:01 Laws of Malawi
Section 153 defines unnatural offences as carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature or permitting a male person to have carnal knowledge of [a male or female person] against the order of nature. Whoever commits this felony is liable to up to fourteen years imprisonment, with or without corporal punishment.
Section 156 criminalises
Gross indecency of one male person with another male person in public or private and carries a liability of up to five years imprisonment.
Under Malawi’s current law, rape is non-consensual sex with a member of the opposite sex who is not one’s spouse. Forcible sex with one’s spouse is not illegal.
Practical Consequences of the law
December 30, 2009 -Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza: were arrested after holding a traditional engagement ceremony, and charged with public indecency.
February 3, 2010 -Peter Sawali: arrested for putting up posters that stated ‘gay rights are human rights’; charged with causing a ‘breach of the peace’.
May 20, 2010 - Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza were convicted and sentenced to the maximum sentence allowed by law, of 14 years with hard Labour for engaging in acts of sodomy and acts of indecency.
May 29, 2010 – Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza: Presidential pardon on ‘humanitarian grounds’.
February 9, 2010 – Peter Sawali: sentenced to community service, to clean the premises of Blantyre Magistrates Court for 60 days.
Constitutional Clause on Equality or Right to Privacy
Republic of Malawi (Constitution) Act 1994
Under Article 20 Discrimination of persons in any form is prohibited and all persons are, under any law, guaranteed equal and effective protection against discrimination on grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, nationality, ethnic or social origin, disability, property, birth or other status. Further, legislation may be passed addressing inequalities in society and prohibiting discriminatory practices and the propagation of such practices and may render such practices criminally punishable by the courts.
Article 21 guarantees, to every person the right to personal privacy, including protection against searches of his or her person, home or property; the seizure of private possessions; or interference with private communications, including mail and all forms of telecommunications.