MALAWI: CHALLENGING CRIMINALISATION OF ADOLESCENT SEXUALITY

> Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights, Children's Rights > Malawi
Salc : Staff Writer

SALC is working with Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance (CHREAA) – Malawi in a challenge to  the law of defilement in s138 of the Penal Code,inasfar as it  criminalises consensual sex between adolescents in Malawi. It is illegal to have sex with a girl under the age of 16 in Malawi, and there are no exceptions for consensual non-exploitative sex  when the accused persons are themselves children/adolescents. This has resulted in cases of young people being incarcerated for lengthy periods for defilement and acts as a barrier to adolescents’ access to sexual and reproductive health information and services. In the case of R v C, a 15 year old boy, accused of defilement after having a consensual sexual relationship with a 15 year old girl, an application for referral to the Constitutional Court and stay of proceedings was filed in the Child Justice Court. A hearing in the matter shall be held on the 14th August 2020.