Human Rights Commission Act
- Commenced on 11 August 1998
- [This is the version of this document at 31 December 2017.]
- [Note: This version of the Act was revised and consolidated in the Fifth Revised Edition of the Laws of Malawi (L.R.O. 1/2018), by the Solicitor General and Secretary for Justice under the authority of the Revision of the Laws Act.]
Part I – Preliminary
1. Short titleThis Act may be cited as the Human Rights Commission Act.
2. InterpretationIn this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—"appointed members" means members of the Commission appointed under section 131 (1) (c) of the Constitution, being those other than the Law Commissioner and the Ombudsman;"Commission" means the Human Rights Commission established under Chapter XI of the Constitution;"Executive Secretary" means the officer of the Commission appointed under section 28;"human rights" means human rights guaranteed by or under the Constitution or any other law in force in Malawi, including international law;"premises" includes land, any building or structure, any vehicle, conveyance, ship, boat, vessel, aircraft or container.
Part II – Membership of the Commission
3. Number of appointed membersThe number of other members of the Commission appointed under section 131 (1)(c) of the Constitution (in this Act referred to as "appointed members") shall not exceed seven at any one time unless the President, on the recommendation of the Commission, by Order published in the Gazette, prescribes a greater number of appointed members.[G.N. 16/2001]
4. Procedure for nominating appointed members
5. Tenure of appointed members
6. Chairman of the Commission
7. RemunerationMembers of the Commission shall be paid such honorarium for membership and such allowances when discharging their duties as the Commission shall reasonably determine, subject to the approval of the Public Appointments Committee of Parliament.
9. Co-opted persons
Part III – Competence and responsibilities of the Commission
10. Provisions in furtherance of the ConstitutionThe provisions of this Part are in furtherance of, and without prejudice to, the generality of the mandate, powers and functions of the Commission conferred by the Constitution.
11. Commission, an independent national institutionAll authorities (including all organs of the Government) bodies and persons shall recognize the status of the Commission as a national institution independent of the authority or direction of any other body or person.
12. Competence and powersThe Commission shall be competent in every respect to protect and promote human rights in Malawi in the broadest sense possible and to investigate violations of human rights on its own motion or upon complaints received from any person, class of persons or body.
13. Duties and functions
14. ResponsibilitiesThe Commission shall have the following responsibilities—
15. Methods of operationThe Commission shall—
Part IV – Hearings, investigations and remedies
17. Procedure for hearingsThe Commission shall have power to determine its own procedure for the conduct of hearings of matters brought before it but may otherwise be guided by such procedures as may be prescribed by regulations made under this Act
18. Conduct of investigations
19. Entry and search of premises and attachment or removal of articles
20. Entry and search warrant
21. Order of attachment and removalIf during the execution of a warrant under this Part a person claims that an article or document found on or in the premises concerned contains privileged information and refuses the inspection or removal of such article or document, the person executing the warrant shall, if he is of the opinion that the article or document contains information that has a bearing on the investigation and that such information is necessary for the investigation, request the Registrar or an Assistant Registrar of the High Court to issue an order to attach and remove that article or document for safe custody until a court has made a ruling on the question whether the information concerned is privileged or not, but such an order shall lapse if after thirty days from the date of its issue no court has made such ruling.
22. RemediesUpon hearing complaints brought before it or based upon any investigations it has carried out or at any stage, the Commission—
Part V – Meetings
24. Chairmen of committees
25. MinutesThe Commission, and every committee of the Commission, shall cause minutes of its meetings to be recorded and kept.
26. DecisionsSave as provided in section 6 (3) in relation to the removal from office of the Chairman of the Commission, the decision of the Commission or of a committee of the Commission at any meeting shall be that of the majority of the members present and voting and in the event of a tie the person presiding shall have a casting vote in addition to his deliberative vote:Provided that the Law Commissioner and the Ombudsman shall have no voting rights in the proceedings of the Commission, or of a committee of the Commission.[21 of 2016]
Part VI – Administration
27. Regular supervisionThe Commission shall exercise regular supervision of the work of the Commission and over the members of staff of the Commission in the performance of their duties.
28. Executive Secretary
29. Duties of the Executive SecretarySubject to the general and special directions of the Commission, the Executive Secretary shall be responsible for the day to day management of the Commission and the administrative control of the other members of staff of the Commission and, in that regard, shall be answerable and accountable to the Commission.
30. Other staff
31. Attendance of meetings by staff
Part VII – Finance
32. Funding of the Commission
33. Accounting and auditThe Commission shall be liable to account to Parliament for its funds in the manner applicable to Government departments and the accounts of the Commission shall be liable to audit by the Auditor General.
Part VIII – Miscellaneous
34. Impartiality and independence
35. Disclosure of interestNo person shall conduct an investigation on behalf of the Commission or render assistance with regard to such investigation in respect of a matter in which he has any material or other interest which might preclude him from exercising his powers or performing his duties or functions in a fair, unbiased and proper manner; and where any person fails to disclose such interest or conducts an investigation or renders assistance with regard thereto in contravention of this section, the Commission may take such steps as it considers necessary to ensure a fair, unbiased and proper investigation.
36. Oath of officeEvery member of the Commission (including the Law Commissioner and the Ombudsman) shall, as such member, as soon as practicable—
37. Annual reports to ParliamentIn addition to any specific report which the Commission may at any other time submit to any authority under this Act, the Commission shall within three months after the end of every calendar year submit a report to Parliament on the activities it has carried out during that calendar year.
38. RegulationsThe Minister may, on the advice of the Commission, make regulations for the better carrying out of the provisions of this Act.
History of this document
11 August 1998