Call for urgent action against “bloodsucker” mob justice attacks in Malawi

Dangerous myths and misinformation are feeding these vigilante attacks, which constitute serious breaches of Malawian criminal law and human rights standards.

Press Statement

Lilongwe: The United Nations strongly condemns the alarming number of mob justice attacks against persons accused of being so-called “bloodsuckers” that are taking place across Malawi.

The media has reported five deaths in the past three weeks – two persons murdered in Mzimba around 23 March; two persons burnt to death in Chitipa around 25 March and one man murdered in Rumphi on 4 April. In addition, 10 separate violent attacks were reported during the same period in Kasungu, Ntchisi, Dowa, Mchinji, Karonga and Nkhata Bay. These attacks included violent assaults on police officers and health workers, as well as the destruction of buildings and vehicles.

Dangerous myths and misinformation are feeding these vigilante attacks, which constitute serious breaches of Malawian criminal law and human rights standards. The UN Malawi commends efforts to date by authorities to arrest suspects of these criminal acts as well as local messaging to speak out against this senseless behaviour. However, much more is required to stop this situation from worsening.

The UN calls on national and local authorities to act urgently, including by conducting immediate investigations into all attacks; arresting and prosecuting alleged perpetrators; delivering social, psychological and medical support for victims; and rapid action to dispel the harmful beliefs that lead to these attacks. Members of Parliament can play an important role by countering misinformation in their constituencies, while religious and traditional leaders can send clear messages to their communities.

The UN remains committed to supporting national authorities and communities to address this situation.

Ms. Maria Jose Torres

United Nations Resident Coordinator for Malawi

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Currently, there are more than 20 Agencies and specialized organizations of the United Nations active in Malawi which, through their work, contribute to ensuring a better life for the people of Malawi.

For more information, contact: Development Coordination Officer (Programme Communications and Advocacy) in the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office, Phillip Pemba, on phillip.pemba@one.un.org or +265995271671.

Media Contacts
UN entities involved in this initiative
FAO
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
IAEA
International Atomic Energy Agency
IFAD
International Fund for Agricultural Development
ILO
International Labor Organization
IOM
International Organization for Migration
OCHA
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
OHCHR
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
UN-Habitat
United Nations Human Settlements Programme
UNAIDS
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
UNCDF
UN Capital Development Fund
UNDP
United Nations Development Programme
UNDSS
United Nations Department of Safety and Security
UNEP
United Nations Environment Programme
UNESCO
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
UNFPA
United Nations Population Fund
UNHCR
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
UNICEF
United Nations Children’s Fund
UNIDO
United Nations Industrial Development Organization
UNODC
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
UNV
United Nations Volunteers
WFP
World Food Programme
WHO
World Health Organization