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.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or +265995271671.