Malawi, Africa

Malawi was colonized by the British who ruled the country until 1964. Upon gaining independence it became a single-party state under the presidency of Hastings Banda, who remained president until 1994 when he was ousted from power. Bingu Mutharika, elected in 2004, is the current president, and as of 2008, Malawi has a democratic, multi-party government. There is a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, which is a drain on the labor force and government expenditures. Homosexual acts are illegal in Malawi. Section 153 prohibits "unnatural offences". Section 156 concerning "public decency" is used to punish homosexual acts. Tourists who commit acts of homosexuality with locals can be prosecuted under article 156 and expelled as "undesirable aliens".


News & Reports:


First-ever Malawi Pride sees brave activists deliver demands to the president

Braving the threat of persecution, dozens of queer people packed the streets of the capital of Malawi for the country’s first-ever Pride parade Saturday (26 June). Organised by the Nyasa Rainbow Alliance, some 50 LGBT+ people marched through the streets of Lilongwe in a show of defiance. After an hour-long march through winding but silent… Read more »

Gay men seen dying from AIDS due to Africa’s homophobic laws

Nairobi (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Thousands of gay men in Africa are likely dying from HIV-related illnesses every year due to homophobic laws that stifle their chances of being tested and treated, said researchers behind a study published on Monday in The Lancet HIV journal. A study of the data of 45,000 gay men in… Read more »

Malawi police arrest two leading LGBTI activists

It comes a week after they lead protests against the Malawi Electoral Commission Police in the east African state of Malawi have arrested two of its most prominent LGBTI campaigners. Authorities arrested Gift Trapence on charges of fraud. Trapence heads the LGBTI organizaton, the Center for Development of People (CEDEP). They also arrested Anglican priest… Read more »

Gay sex ban in Malawi fuels anti-LGBTI violence

The southeast African country’s LGBTI population faces horrific discrimination and violence, often at the hands of police and healthcare professionals Malawi’s laws criminalizing same-sex relations continue to create violence and discrimination in the southeast African country. The repressive legislation and social stigma allow police to abuse the LGBTI community unchecked, according to a report by… Read more »

Gay sex ban in Malawi fuels anti-LGBTI violence

The southeast African country’s LGBTI population faces horrific discrimination and violence, often at the hands of police and healthcare professionals Malawi’s laws criminalizing same-sex relations continue to create violence and discrimination in the southeast African country. The repressive legislation and social stigma allow police to abuse the LGBTI community unchecked, according to a report by… Read more »

Thousands march over Malawi’s plans to legalise homosexuality

The peaceful marches were organised by Catholic and evangelical churches. Thousdands Of Mainly Christian protesters marched through two cities in Malawi on Tuesday to demonstrate against proposals to legalise abortion and homosexuality, in the first event of its kind. The peaceful marches were organised by Catholic and evangelical churches in Malawi, where sex and homosexuality… Read more »

Living As A Gay Person In Malawi: Coming Out In Hell

If you live in Malawi, I would advise you to be very careful if you are planning to come out. It happened to me. I had underestimated the extent and impact my coming out would have on my life and the rest of my family and friends. I literally saw my world crumbling beneath my… Read more »

Pressures over homosexual rights

Donor agencies want Malawi to respect gay rights, but the Catholic Bishops and other religious leaders – including Muslim Sheikhs – have warned President Peter Mutharika against including such rights in the constitution. The Archbishop Thomas Msusa of Blantyre has told President Mutharika that this controversy is “alien to Malawi”. In his eyes, foreigners are… Read more »

Malawi Catholic Church demands government resumes jailing gays

Malawi’s Catholic bishops want the government to end its moratorium on prosecuting sexually active homosexuals The Catholic Bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi have publicly called on the Malawian Government to resume criminalizing members of the LGBTI community and end its moratorium on prosecuting those accused of indulging in gay sex. The government, under… Read more »

Malawi bishops attack government over homosexual acts

Catholic bishops in Malawi have attacked the government for placing a moratorium on ‘harmful’ homosexual laws. In a letter to parishioners, the bishops condemned homosexuality and the government’s actions. They said that although the homosexual “condition is disordered but not sinful in itself”, if a person was to act on their feelings and have sex… Read more »

Malawi Court Annuls Government Suspension of Anti-Gay Laws

Blantyre, Malawi — A high court in Malawi has ordered the annulment of a government moratorium issued in 2012 that suspended a law criminalizing homosexual acts. The government had suspended enforcement of the anti-gay laws pending parliamentary review after rights campaigners said the laws were unconstitutional. The court’s order to enforce the anti-gay laws comes… Read more »

Malawi drops gay sex charges against men after international outcry

Malawi has dropped charges against two men who were arrested under gay sex laws, after pressure from the US and UK. The country’s government, which is heavily reliant on support from NGOs and Western aid money, had confirmed last year that it would no longer arrest people for same-sex sexual acts – an agreement first… Read more »

Malawi to stop arresting people for having gay sex

Malawi has announced that it will stop arresting people for having gay sex, and will review its anti-gay laws. Responding to questions from the UN Human Rights Committee, Justice Minister Janet Chikaya-Banda said the country would stop arresting people for same-sex acts while a review of the country’s anti-gay laws is completed. She said the… Read more »

Life on the run from homophobia

Gay and trans Africans often seek asylum in South Africa, supposedly a “safe haven” for LGBTI people. But it’s no bed of roses here either. In recent months Uganda and Nigeria attracted international attention when they decided to tighten laws criminalising homosexuality. Allies by circumstance, Muslims and Christians joined forces in the witch-hunt for gays,… Read more »

Malawi Rights Group Seeks Review Of Imprisoned Gays’ Jail Sentences

A Malawi high court on Monday began hearing a petition by a leading rights group seeking to obtain the review of jail sentences of three gays and to overturn laws that criminalise homosexuality. “We want the court to declare the laws that criminalise homosexuality in Malawi unconstitutional,” Gift Trapence, director of a rights group, the… Read more »

Malawi Imam Backs Gay Rights

Lilongwe – A new controversy has hit Malawi after an imam has come out in the open to champion rights of homosexuals, sparking angry comments from Muslim scholars who advocate full enforcement of laws that criminalize same sex marriages in the southern African nation. “The stand of Islam on homosexuality is very clear. It’s against… Read more »

Africa: Few Programmes Target Gay Men, Other MSM and Transgendered in Southern Africa, Study Says

Analysis Despite the Global Fund’s progressive policies on the inclusion of gay men, other men who have sex with men and transgender individuals (GMT) in programmes supported by the Fund, only a tiny fraction of the money spent by the Fund in six countries in Southern Africa has targeted this population. This is one of… Read more »

Malawi president refuses to commit to repeal anti-gay laws

Joyce Banda, Malawi’s president, said she has no power to repeal anti-gay law and the matter is best left for the people to decide Malawian president, Joyce Banda, refused to commit to repealing the country’s anti-gay laws. She said she had nothing to state on whether the country should decriminalize same-sex relations or not, saying… Read more »

No regrets for Malawian jailed for gay wedding

AFP – Tiwonge Chimbalanga (R) and his gay husband Steven Monjeza prior to a press conference on June 2, 2010, five days after Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika pardoned them. Thrown into jail for 14 years under Malawi’s anti-gay laws, Chimbalanga has no regrets about the marriage ceremony that became a symbol of Africa’s intolerance… Read more »

Churches force Malawi to backtrack on suspending anti-gay laws

Malawi has back-tracked on its decision to suspend anti-gay laws and their enforcement after being fiercely criticized by the country’s churches Malawi’s government has back-tracked today (8 November) on its decision to suspend anti-gay laws, after pressure and criticism from the country’s churches. Justice minister Ralph Kasambara was reported by GSN on monday as saying… Read more »

Malawi minister reportedly denies move to suspend anti-gay law

Johannesburg, South Africa — Malawi’s minister of justice has reportedly denied saying that the country’s law banning homosexual acts would be suspended pending a parliamentary vote on whether to decriminalize such acts. The minister, Atty. Gen. Ralph Kasambara, said this week that despite reports to the contrary, he had not issued any statements about the… Read more »

Malawi suspends anti-gay laws

Blantyre – Malawi suspended laws against same-sex relationships on Monday and ordered police not to arrest gays pending a decision on whether to repeal the legislation, a source of friction with the impoverished southern African nation’s donors. Homosexuality is banned in Malawi — as it is in 36 other African states — and carries a… Read more »

Malawi suspends anti-gay laws

Malawi has halted the enforcement of laws that criminalise same-sex relationships after comments made by the country’s Justice Minister Ralph Kasambara. According to Reuters, Mr Kasambara, who is also the Attorney General, said he wanted to have a debate on the issue before parliament decided whether to keep the laws or not. “If we continue… Read more »

IMF and Britain announce aid to Malawi after plans to legalise homosexuality

In the wake of proposals to decriminalise homosexuality and to improve human rights at large in Malawi, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the UK government have both announced increase in aid for the country. The former president, Bingu wa Mutharika, who died in office this April, had been widely criticised for his approach to… Read more »

Malawi’s president vows to repeal gay ban

Blantyre, Malawi (AP) – President Joyce Banda declared Friday she wants to repeal Malawi’s laws against homosexual acts, going against a trend in Africa in which gays are being increasingly singled out for prosecution. Banda, who assumed the presidency in April when her predecessor died, made the announcement in her first state of the nation… Read more »

Malawi: New president ‘to decriminalise homosexuality

The Malawian president has said she will repeal the laws which make it illegal to be gay in the central African state, it has been reported. The BBC and Associates Press report a speech to parliament in which president Joyce Banda said: “The Indecency and Unnatural Acts laws shall be repealed”. Ms Banda took office… Read more »

BTM Hosts Round Table On The State Of Human Rightrs In Malawi

Two human rights defenders from Malawi were recently in Johannesburg to brief South African colleagues on the situation for the LGBTI in that country. The two, Undule Mwakasungula, executive Director of the Centre for Human Rights and rehabilitation (CHRR) and Gift Trapence the Director of the Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP) met with… Read more »

Malawi to review anti-gay law

Malawi has announced that it will review a list of legislation, including a ban on homosexual acts. “In view of the sentiments from the general public and in response to public opinion regarding certain laws, the government wishes to announce to the Malawi nation that it is submitting the relevant laws and provisions of laws… Read more »

Gay Malawi News & Reports 2011

1 LGBT Africans Face Blackmail and Extortion on a Regular Basis 2/11 2 Nations pledge movement on LGBT issues at UN 3/11 2a Malawi inmates charged of sodomy, priest against homophobia 4/11 2b Malawi Government Targets NGOs Working for LGBTI Human Rights 4/11 2c Malawi NGOs dispel govt’s gay ‘propaganda’ 4/11 2d Media Clips on… Read more »

Gay Malawi News & Reports 2010 May-Dec

1 Malawi Law Body Calls Fof Immediate Release Of Gay Couple 5/10 2 Malawi ‘gay trial’ prisoners speak out 5/10 3 Malawi gay couple found guilty of unnatural acts and gross indecency 5/10 4 IGLHRC and CEDEP condemn today’s conviction 5/10 5 Government ministers ‘deeply dismayed’ by Malawi gay conviction 5/10 6 Malawi gay couple… Read more »

Gay Malawi News & Reports 2010 Jan-Apr

1 Malawi gay marriage trial expected next week 1/10 2 Amnesty International joins calls for release of gay Malawi couple 1/10 3 Malawi Intensifies Prosecution of Gay Minorities and Their Defenders 1/10 4 The love that still dare not speak its name 1/10 5 Scottish MPs condemn arrest of gay Malawian men 1/10 5a West… Read more »

Gay Malawi News & Reports 2005-09

0 Malawi rejects ‘pro-gay’ bishop 2/05 0a CEDEP advocates for homosexuality 1/07 0b Homosexuality exists in Malawi prisons 4/07 0c CEDEP presents research findings on HIV 7/08 0d Malawi MSM survey reveals very high HIV acquisition 8/08 1 Malawian gays form association 8/08 2 Malawi Gay Rights Movement to promote female condoms 8/08 3 Free… Read more »