Malawi: Civil rights group furious over alleged incidents of human rights violation of workers by employers

Author: Chancy Namadzunda, Nyasa Times (Malawi) , Published on: 13 May 2020

‘HRDC Takes Petroda Malawi to Task for Abusing Worker - 'White-Collar Mob Justice' 12 May

Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has taken Petroda Malawi Limited to task over escalating incidences of labour-related human rights violations. This follows a recent video clip circulating on social media and other platforms allegedly showing Petroda Malawi manager at Chitukuko filling station coercively undressing and strip-searching a Malawian worker having accused him of theft. In a statement made available to Nyasa Times, HRDC Chairperson Gift Trapence calls the action by Petroda Malawi Limited as clearly degrading and inhumane treatment not befitting of the intrinsic dignity of a human being, and it is also patently illegal.

"It is a form of white-collar mob justice in which employers take it upon themselves to punish and violate their employees by humiliation. In a country of laws, suspects of crimes, small or large, are handed to the police, who themselves must adhere to due process and human rights standard following thorough investigations and under the direction of the judiciary which is the sole authority in Malawi empowered to dispensation penalties," reads the statement. Unfortunately, reads the statement, such malpractices and abuses are widespread in Malawi with the incident in question as an isolated one. Trapence further said the culture of impunity and contempt for Malawian or local workers by some foreign business owners is afoot.

…Further, the Coalitions said additional dimensions of this culture of cruelty include sexual harassment, assault and victimization especially of female workers; low wages vis-à-vis the value of returns per worker; the lack of Person Protection Equipment (PPE) for hazardous to workers' personnel health and safety; and other violations of labour rights and laws. "Considering the above, HRDC issues this Warning and Alert to all employers engaged in these human rights violations to immediately cease such practices. We celebrate, and see no ills, of living within a diverse society of numerous cultures, local and international. These are just the sorts of arrangements that enrich a society.

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