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Irish Government issue statement on Malawi Sentences

May 20th, 2010 · 5 Comments · Uncategorized

There has been wide international condemnation of the 14 year hard labour jail sentences for Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza in Malawi today. The two men were found guilty of indecency for celebrating their relationship in public with an engagement party.

On trying to find out more about Ireland’s relationship with Malawi I was surprised (and impressed) to note that the Minister for State with responsibility for  Overseas Development at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Peter Power, has released a statement on the matter.

Minister of State for Overseas Development, Peter Power, TD today made the following statement in relation to the sentencing of Mr Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Mr Steven Monjeza in Malawi:

“I have been following this case very closely through our Embassy in Malawi, and, along with our EU partners, have regularly emphasised to the authorities our serious concern about this case.

“Now that the two men have been sentenced, we are working with our partners for a strong EU response.  On Ireland’s part, as friends and partners of Malawi, which is one of the priority countries for our bilateral assistance, I want to emphasise our very serious concern and disappointment at the severe sentence imposed on the two men on the basis of their sexual orientation.

“The sentence is entirely disproportionate and against international human rights principles.  With our EU partners, we are calling on the Government of Malawi to fulfil its commitments to the protection of the human rights of all individuals, irrespective of their sexual orientation?.

That is a swift and strong reaction by previous Irish standards though I do wonder what type of sentence would be proportionate – the sentence and charges are wrong.  Is there more the Minister can do and what can we do to ensure that he follows through?

You could contact him online here and thank him for his actions so far and ask him to continue?

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