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REPUBLIC OF MALAWI

STATEMENT
BY
HIS EXCELLENCY PROFESSOR PETER MUTHARIKA
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC
OF MALAWI

On

THE HUMAN RIGHTS DAY


MASINTHA GROUND
LILONGWE

Thursday, 10thDecember,, 2015

Your Excellency the First Lady, Madame


Gertrude Mutharika
Your

Honour

the

Vice

President,

Right

Honourable Dr. Saulos Chilima


All Cabinet Ministers and Deputy Ministers here
present
Mr. Justin Kusamba Dzonzi, Chairperson of the
Malawi Human Rights Commission;
All Commissioners of the Malawi Human Rights
Commission;
Mrs. Grace Malera, Executive Secretary of the
Malawi Human Rights Commission;
Your Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic
Corp

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

The marching we have done symbolises our long journey


walked in search of human rights, freedoms and the dignity
of humanity.

Today, 67 years ago, the world solemnly declared to defend


the dignity and worth of humanity. Today, in 1948, the United
Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
On this day, in this declaration, we all pledged and
committed ourselves to uphold, promote, respect and
defend the universal rights of mankind, our own rights!

This declaration, and the principles it decrees, has created a


common conscience of justice, equality, and the respect of
human dignity throughout the world. And these are the
principles on which our constitution is founded. We are part
of the community and family of mankind throughout the
world. And I am delighted to be with you all today.

I want to thank you, Chairperson of the Malawi Human Rights


Commission and the Secretariat of the Commission for
performing your national duty for us to commemorate this
day. I thank you, all commissioners, for your team spirit and
patriotic dedication to mission of human rights in our country.
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thank

all

non-state

actors

and

non-governmental

organisations serving mankind on the frontline of human


rights in this country. Keep on fighting the good fight.

Today, we have not gathered to commemorate what


belongs

to

human

rights.

We

have

gathered

to

commemorate what belongs to us all. The Universal


Declaration of Human Rights is an important chapter in the
history of all mankind, all of us.

This universal declaration is a beacon of light born out of


darkness in human history. The Second World War brought
unprecedented levels of human brutality and suffering.
One leading example was the massacre of the millions of
Jewish people which began with a simple hatred for Jews.
And more happened! The world had seen the worst of
human evil against humans. Such effects of the War
necessitated the agreement that we should never violate
the universal rights of mankind anywhere.

Our gathering on this day should make us remember to


dignify humanity. Let us rise above our differences and focus
on the things that matter most our human existence. Let us
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rise beyond our differences to remember that we are all born


equal with dignity and worth. Every human life is as worthy as
any other. And think of the other person as human first and
foremost.

It is always dignifying to think of what unites us as humans


before we can think of whatever differentiates us. The more
we think we differ in social class, gender, culture, origin or
political ideology, the more we must remember that we are
all humans equal in the fundamentals of our existence. If we
can all do that, then we can live up to our common duty of
respecting one anothers rights. Then we can feel the pain in
the suffering of others and stand up for them, even when
their fundamental rights are being violated.

As we think of Our Rights and Our Freedoms, let us also


think of our duties and obligations. No nation can develop
by thinking of rights without our sense of duty and
responsibility. Malawi cannot progress if we should think of
our rights and freedoms more than our duties and
responsibilities.

The founders of The African Charter on Human and Peoples


Rights assertively argued that The conception of an
individual who is utterly free, and utterly irresponsible, and
opposed

to

society

is

not

consonant

with

African

philosophy. The African Charter challenges us to balance


and moderate our quest for rights and freedoms with duty
and obligation to ourselves, to others, and to our country.
This is how we can collectively promote human dignity, and
achieve

sustainable

democracy,

and

sustainable

development.

We all have the duty to ensure that every person we meet or


know realize their economic, social and cultural rights. We all
have the duty to ensure that children, women, persons with
disabilities, including persons with albinism, and other
marginalised or vulnerable categories are saved from
victimization, marginalisation, exclusion, and discrimination.
One question is: when you see these social evils happening,
what do you do about it? This is the question that must
convict us all. This question is the measure of our duty to our
commitment to the rights of others, our duty to others. I am
aware, that it has become fashionable in modern popular
political thought across the world to escape our duty by
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blaming Government in everything. It is the best way of


escaping our duty.

But our lives are most meaningful in our duty and service to
others, even in our duty to the rights of others more than our
own. As Mahatma Gandhi observes, The best way to find
yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. Let us find
ourselves. Let us be ourselves.

May God Bless Us All.


Thank You.