CONSTITUTIONAL MANDATE FOR UFULU WANGA (Family Justice)
Constitutional Principles on human rights according to the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi.
• As all persons have equal status before the law, the only justifiable limitations to lawful rights are those necessary to ensure peaceful human interaction in an open and democratic society
• All institutions and persons shall observe and uphold the Constitution and the rule of law and no institution or person shall stand above the law.
(b) Gender Equality
• To obtain gender equality for women with men through
1. Full participation of women in all spheres of Malawian society on the basis of equality with men;
2. The implementation of the principles of non-discrimination and such other measures as may be required.
3. The implementation of policies to address social issues such as domestic violence, security of the person, lack of maternity benefits, economic exploitation and rights to property.
(c) Children and Family
• To encourage and promote conditions conducive to the full development of healthy, productive and responsible members of society.
• To recognize and protect the family as a fundamental and vital social unit.
Human rights according to the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi
(a) Family and Marriage (Chapter 22 of the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi).
22. - 1. The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
2. Each member of the family shall enjoy full and equal respect and shall be protected by law against all forms of neglect, cruelty or exploitation.
3. All men and women have the right to marry and found a family.
4. No person shall be forced to enter into marriage.
5. Sub-sections (3) and (4) shall apply to all marriages at law, custom and marriages by repute or by permanent cohabitation.
6. No person over the age of eighteen years shall be prevented from entering into marriage.
7. For persons between the age of fifteen and eighteen years a marriage shall only be entered into with the consent of their parents or guardians.
8. The State shall actually discourage marriage between persons where either of them is under the age of fifteen years.
(b) Children’s Rights (Chapter 23 of the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi)
1. All children, regardless of the circumstances of their birth, are entitled to equal treatment before the law.
2. All children shall have the right to a given name and a family name and the right to a nationality.
3. Children have the right to know, and to be raised by, their parents.
4. Children are entitled to be protected from economic exploitation or any treatment, work or punishment that is, or is likely to
-a. Be hazardous;
b. Interfere with their education; or
c. Be harmful to their health or to their physical, mental or spiritual or social development.
5. For purposes of this section, children shall be persons under sixteen years of age.
(c) Rights of Women (Chapter 24 of the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi)
Women have the right to full and equal protection by the law, and have the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of their gender or marital status which includes the right -a. to be accorded the same rights as men in civil law, including equal capacity
-i. To enter into contracts;
ii. To acquire and maintain rights in property, independently or in association with others, regardless of their marital status;
iii. To acquire and retain custody, guardianship and care of children and to have an equal right in the making of decisions that affect their upbringing
iv. To acquire and retain citizenship and nationality.
B. On the dissolution of marriage
-i. To a fair disposition of property that is held jointly with a husband
ii. To fair maintenance, taking into consideration all the circumstances and, in particular, the means of the former husband and the needs of any children.
2. Any law that discriminates against women on the basis of gender or marital status shall be invalid and legislation shall be passed to eliminate customs and practices that discriminate against women, particularly practices such as
-a. Sexual abuse, harassment and violence;
b. Discrimination in work, business and public affairs; and
c. Deprivation of property, including property obtained by inheritance