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No Justice for the Poor: A Preliminary Study of the Law and Practice Relating to Arrests for Nuisance Related Offences in Blantyre, Malawi

By: Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC), Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance (CHREAA)

The use of outdated Penal Code provisions and abuses by police against poor persons and sex workers specifically has caused some concern among many working on legal and human rights issues in Malawi. This research emanates from concerns by the Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC) and Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance (CHREAA) specifically regarding the use of the Penal Code provisions relating to idle and disorderly persons and rogues and vagabonds in Malawi:

1. The provisions relating to idle and disorderly persons and rogues and vagabonds in the Penal Code are dated and vague in formulation. To apply such offences in their current form is unfair and constitutes an abuse of the rights of those arrested on such charges.

2. Arrests for offences relating to idle and disorderly persons and rogues and vagabonds often violate the requirements for a lawful arrest. In addition, such arrests contribute to overcrowding in police cells and are often used without any consideration of alternatives to an arrest.

3. The arrest of persons for minor nuisance-related offences is often applied
disproportionately to the poor in society, who are more likely to be assumed to violate such offences, and are more likely to be found in circumstances that could lead to such arrests and who are less able to assert their rights and access legal support to dispute unlawful arrests.

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Uploaded on: Mar 18, 2015
Last Updated: Dec 18, 2018
Year Published: 2013
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