Civil Society Pre-Budget Consultation Meeting on the 2015/16 National Budget

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Delegates at the high level meeting on implementation of African Union Charters and Protocols have expressed concern over government delays to domesticate international instruments after ratifying them.

 The remarks were shared by Members of Parliament, officials from the public service and others from civil society during the meeting held at capital Hotel in Lilongwe.

The delegates also cite lack of consultation with citizens as another obstacle government needs to address before signing and ratifying AU legal instruments.

Former minister of Foreign Affairs Lilian Patel conceded that the problem to domesticate the Africa Union charters and protocols has been there for a long time since the executive just sign proposals presented by the Africa Union (AU).

She says there is need to change procedures so that citizens are consulted before signing and ratifying of the AU conventions.

“In other countries like Nigeria what they do is that AU proposals are first tabled in parliament before signing,” says Patel.

While Malawi has signed and ratified many AU protocols and Conventions, little has been done to domesticate these instruments to become domestic laws.

Consequently, the country has been facing challenges which could have been easily addressed if these laws were domesticated. For instance the country is reeling from corruption challenges yet government ratified the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption in 2003.

Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN) in collaboration with Eye for Development are implementing the State of the Union (SOTU) which tracks and engages government and the African Union on the performance against key democratic governance, economic and social rights and civil and political rights policy standards and instruments in line with AU charters and protocols.

The meeting attracted Ministers and Members of Parliament where they were shared the 2014 Malawi Compliance Report highlighting the successes registered, challenges faced and recommendations for the implementation of African Union charters and protocols that contain specific promises, rights and freedoms for the ordinary citizens.

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