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The Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) , the Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance (CHREAA), Child Rights Advocacy & Paralegal Aid Centre (CRAPAC), the Paralegal Advisory Service Institute (PASI), and The Youth Watch Society (YOWSO) on 7 June 2016 addressed a letter to His Excellency President Peter Mutharika. The letter called on the Malawi President to undertake urgent interventions to protect the lives of prisoners and to prevent unconstitutional treatment in the face of severe food shortages in Malawi prisons.

Prison conditions in Malawi have been held by its own courts to violate the prohibition on torture, inhuman and degrading treatment. In addition to severe over-crowding and unsanitary conditions, inadequate nutrition places prisoners at risk of illness, suffering and death. In recent weeks, however, food shortages have reached critical levels in the prisons, leaving many facing severe malnutrition.

SALC, CHREAA, CRAPAC, PASI and YOWSO’s full letter to President Mutharika is available for download HERE.

The images below illustrate conditions in Malawi’s prisons as photographed by Luca Sola for Médecins Sans Frontières in 2015, before the current food shortages. In the first photograph, the overcrowding in Chichiri Prison is illustrated by the conditions in which prisoners are forced to sleep. Some prisons are so overcrowded that prisoners are forced to sleep in sitting positions called shambas for the duration of their sentences. In the second image, prisoners in Chichiri are shown waiting for their once-daily meal.

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