ACEPA, IPPFoRB and AfriPAHR hold roundtable meeting on FoRB in Malawi.

At a Roundtable meeting in Lilongwe, Malawi on Wednesday, November 23, 2022, the Executive Director of ACEPA, Dr. Rasheed Draman, said the organization has made it a priority to raise awareness among MPs about FORB so they could help to strengthen understanding of how to improve human rights situation in Africa countries.

He took the MPs and other participants on Freedom of Religion or Belief in Malawi and how to help identify key issues, challenges, and opportunities. According to him, members of parliament are in a better position to promote human rights persuading governments and policy makers to help enact laws and introduce policies that guarantee freedom of religion or belief.

He added that parliament and parliamentarians have a major role to advocate and create awareness of the need for respect for freedom of individual choice of religion and belief if Malawi is to make progress in human rights issues. Hon Halima Alima Daud, Chairperson of the Malawi Chapter of AfriPAHR and MP Dowa South East, explained to the participants the background and relationship of AfriPAHR and IPPFoRB.
AfriPAHR is an association of African parliamentarians that voluntarily commit to advocating and creating awareness of human rights issues in the Africa Continent.
It was founded in 2017 in South Africa as an independent, non-partisan network of parliamentarians from the African continent to advance democracy, freedom of religion or belief and human rights.

On the other hand, IPPFoRB is an informal network of parliamentarians and legislators from around the world committed to combating religious persecution and advancing freedom of religion or belief, as defined by Article 18 of the UN Universal Declaration for Human Rights.
Article 18 of UN UDHR states, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change one’s religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest one’s religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

Mr. Ibrahim Inusah, Programmes Officer for ACEPA took the MPs through the Malawi context of FoRB, the case of Malawi and Ghana and the common challenges which the two nation faces.
He also took the participants through what FoRB stands for and how stakeholders could share ideas and understanding of what FORB are and not as well as why ACEPA and AfriPAHR must collaborate to put into action some of the FORB issues. At the end of the meeting the MPs unanimously agreed on setting up a caucus and elected interim chair and vice. Formal launch of the caucus will come off later.

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