The Parliamentary Caucus in Malawi on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) Launched.

The African Centre for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA), an African not-for-profit
organisation based in Ghana and dedicated to building the capacity of African Parliaments,
has urged members of the parliamentary the newly launch caucus on Freedom of Religion or
Belief (FoRB) in Malawi to rededicate their efforts in promoting and protecting human rights,
especially rights that relate to Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) at the national and
constituency levels in Malawi.
ACEPA, with support from its partners – the International Panel of Parliamentarians for
Freedom of Religion or Belief (IPPFoRB), the Freedom of Religion or Belief Leadership
Network (FoRBLN), and African Parliamentarians Network for Human Rights (AfriPAHR)
organised the launch of the Parliamentary Caucus on FoRB in Lilongwe, Malawi on April
12 th , 2023. Present at the launch were core members of the parliamentary caucus on FoRB
In his welcome remarks, the Chair of Malawi FoRB Caucus, Hon. Dr. Ephraim Abel
Kayembe, noted that the caucus intends to take an inclusive approach of FORB issues in
Malawi so that, it can be entrenched in legislation. He said, the caucus will work to bring on
board all majority and minority religions in order to promote peace, harmony and respect for
religious and human rights of Malawians. The membership will also expand beyond the core
members present as this will help reach out to people at the grassroots.

The Executive Director of ACEPA, Dr. Rasheed Draman, in his welcome remarks noted that
ACEPA and its partners firmly believe that the respect for freedom of religion or belief is a
fundamental prerequisite for the advancement of peace and stability in the world. The right
of every citizen to practice or not to practice any religion or belief is at the heart of
democracy. It is the foundation of our shared humanity. These beliefs, he noted, are the
driving force behind the efforts of ACEPA and its partners to engage with Parliaments, faith
leaders and Civil Society Organizations around the world. He observed that what was
witnessed today was remarkable because Malawi is the third country to launch its
Parliamentary caucus on FORB after The Gambia and Sierra Leone. This feat according to
Dr. Draman, is a testimony of religious tolerance in Malawi and that, respect for human rights
is a key indicator of any country’s democratic credentials. He assured members of the
Caucus gathered at the launch that ACEPA and its partners will continue to travel with them
on this journey of nurturing and maintaining religious and belief tolerance in Malawi. He also
extended his sincere thanks to the Rt. Hon. Speaker for allowing the launch to take place, and
hoped that membership will be broaden and owned by the caucus.

The caucus objectives was also shared with members, which seeks to promote legislation on
discriminatory policies and protect fundamental Human Rights; advocate for the rights of the
minorities (marginalized) in the society; work closely with Faith leaders and Civil Society
Organization (CSO) actors to broaden the civic space for legislative process; promote
peaceful and inclusive society for sustainable development; and sensitize parliamentary
colleagues on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FORB) and its significance to national