The following information is based on the Amnesty International Report 2021/22. This report documented the human rights situation in 149 countries in 2021, as well as providing global and regional analysis. It presents Amnesty International’s concerns and calls for action to governments and others.


Gender-based violence against women and girls escalated. Prosecutions for murder and other violent attacks against persons with albinism were continually delayed. Allegations of corruption involving the use of Covid-19 funds, and vaccination shortages undermined the right to health. Despite steps to decongest prisons, they remained overcrowded, and conditions were poor. The Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that the death penalty was unconstitutional.


Two million people in rural areas and 610,000 people in the cities of Lilongwe, Blantyre, Mzuzu and Zomba faced acute food insecurity.

Violence against women

Despite numerous interventions to curb violence against women, particularly in schools, cases of sexual, physical and emotional abuse, predominantly against women and girls, escalated. The police recorded around 250 such cases each month.


Persons with albinism

Persons with albinism were murdered and faced other violent attacks and mutilations. In February, unidentified men murdered Dayton Saidi in Mangochi; in the same month, unidentified assailants attempted to abduct a 12-year-old girl in Machinga. The body of Ian Muhamba, aged 20, was found in August in Blantyre. Two suspects were arrested for his killing. Prosecutions against alleged perpetrators of such crimes were continually delayed.

Right to health

Reported cases of corruption impacted people’s ability to access health services. Senior government officials were implicated in the mismanagement of Covid-19 funds. An audit report on Covid-19 funds during 2020 was commissioned in February 2021 and published in April. It revealed that government officials and private sector employees had abused about US$1.3 million of the funds. In April, police arrested 64 people for alleged misuse of Covid-19 funds, and the president fired the labour minister following his indictment on mismanagement of such funds.

The vaccination roll-out began in March with 512,000 doses. In May, the World Bank approved a US$30 million grant to help Malawi acquire more vaccines. Thousands of people were unable to receive their Covid-19 vaccinations when, in June, health authorities closed over half the country’s vaccination centres because of shortages. By August, around 455,000 people had received their first dose, and at least 139,000 had been fully vaccinated.

Detainees’ rights

Prisons were chronically overcrowded and conditions were poor; facilities were dilapidated and there was insufficient access to basic services. By April, overcrowding fell from 260% of prison capacity to 186% due to the Chilungamo Programme (an initiative to improve justice and accountability in the country). However, in Chichiri prison, the largest in the Southern Region, cells with a 60-person capacity continued to hold over 200 men.

Death penalty

In April, the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that the death penalty was unconstitutional and contrary to the right to life guaranteed under the Constitution. The Court ordered the re-sentencing of all convicts facing execution. However, following the retirement of Chief Justice Dunstain Mwaungulu in August, the remaining judges issued what they called a perfected judgment, overturning the declaration that the death penalty was unconstitutional.

Malawi Newsroom

June 27, 2018 • Report

End violence against people with albinism: Towards effective criminal justice for people with albinism in Malawi

The Malawian authorities must urgently overhaul the criminal justice system to protect people with albinism, who face the persistent threat of being killed for their body parts in a country where …

June 6, 2016 • Report

Malawi: Killing spree of people with albinism fuelled by ritual practices and policing failures

A surge in killings of people with albinism, whose body parts are used in ritual practices, has exposed a systematic failure of policing in Malawi and left this vulnerable group living in fear, Amnesty International reveals in a new report published today.

February 18, 2016 • Report

Amnesty International State of the World 2015-2016

International protection of human rights is in danger of unravelling as short-term national self-interest and draconian security crackdowns have led to a wholesale assault on basic freedoms and rights, warned Amnesty International as it launched its annual assessment of human rights around the world. “Your rights are in jeopardy: they are being treated with utter contempt by many governments around the world,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

February 25, 2015 • Report

State of the World 2014/2015

This has been a devastating year for those seeking to stand up for human rights and for those caught up in the suffering of war zones. Governments pay lip service to the importance of protecting civilians. And yet the world's politicians have miserably failed to protect those in greatest need. Amnesty International believes that this can and must finally change.

June 24, 2013 • Report

Making Love a Crime: Criminalization of Same-Sex Conduct in Sub-Saharan Africa

This report provides an analysis of the legal environment and wider context of human rights violations against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals in sub-Saharan Africa. Recent years have seen increasing reports of people being harassed, marginalized, discriminated against and attacked because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

May 21, 2013 • Report

Annual report: Malawi 2013

REPUBLIC OF MALAWI Head of state and government Joyce Banda (replaced Bingu wa Mutharika) Harassment and intimidation of government critics continued in the early part of the year. Following the …

March 19, 2011 • Report

Annual Report: Malawi 2010

Head of state and government Bingu wa Mutharika Death penalty abolitionist in practice Population 15.3 million Life expectancy 52.4 years Under-5 mortality (m/f) 125/117 per 1,000 Adult literacy 71.8 per …

April 7, 2020 • Press Release

Armed conflicts and state repression in Africa fuel cocktail of human rights violations

HUMAN RIGHTS IN AFRICA: Protesters across sub-Saharan Africa have braved bullets and beatings to defend their rights in the face of continuing conflict and state repression, Amnesty International said today …

March 10, 2017 • Press Release

Malawi: Step up action to end ritual murders of people with albinism

The Malawian authorities must step up action to protect people with albinism who are being targeted for ritual murders, Amnesty International said today, following another attack in the country’s capital Lilongwe.

June 13, 2016 • Press Release

Rights of people with albinism must be guaranteed in Malawi

Malawian officials must live up to their promises to end violence against people with albinism and tackle discrimination against this group, Amnesty International said on International Albinism Awareness Day.