Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP) has asked police officers to provide justice and protection to gays and lesbians despite the country’s laws ban homosexuality.
The minority rights organization has embarked on an access to justice project whose objectives are to empower the gay community on their right to seek formal and informal justice and security from the police and other law-enforcing agencies if their rights are violated.
“Police officers have been targeted after the organization recorded over 100 cases of assault on the gay community in 2014, and there is an increase in 2015,” Said Gift Trapence the CEDEP executive director.
He said since homosexuality is illegal in Malawi therefore some cases were not reported.
The Attorney General is currently challenging the Mzuzu High Court decision to suspend government’s moratorium on all ant-homosexuality laws until they are reviewed.
“While there is uncertainty on the moratorium, the police have a duty to protect and defend all people regardless of their status” Said Trapence.
Police deputy commissioner and head of community policing Lovemore Mwabumba confirmed that much as the police were tasked with providing access to justice and legal remedies to all, it was important for officers to understand emerging issues in human rights and the law.
The project will be carried out in several districts, including Mangochi, Salima, Blantyre and Mulanje and will result in the establishment of a legal desk which would monitor and condemn speeches that incite violence and hatred against sexual minorities.