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House of human rights defender McDonald Sembereka attacked

Status: 
Attack on home
About the situation

On 21 October 2019, human rights defender Reverend McDonald Sembereka’s house was attacked by five unknown men in camouflage clothing. The attackers fired gun shots in the direction of McDonald Sembereka’s house at around 1a.m. in Nyewa, in the city of Lilongwe, along the Lilongwe-Mchinji road. Before leaving, they shouted death threats at the human rights defender telling him that he’ll be killed if he doesn't end his involvement in ongoing post-electoral demonstrations in Malawi.

 

About Reverend McDonald Sembereka

Reverend MacDonald SemberekaReverend MacDonald Sembereka is a human rights defender and coordinator at the Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC), a network of local civil society organisations working on increasing the accountability of government officials and promoting civil and political rights in Malawi.

23 October 2019
House of human rights defender McDonald Sembereka attacked

On 21 October 2019, human rights defender Reverend McDonald Sembereka’s house was attacked by five unknown men in camouflage clothing. The attackers fired gun shots in the direction of McDonald Sembereka’s house at around 1a.m. in Nyewa, in the city of Lilongwe, along the Lilongwe-Mchinji road. Before leaving, they shouted death threats at the human rights defender telling him that he’ll be killed if he doesn't end his involvement in ongoing post-electoral demonstrations in Malawi.

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Reverend MacDonald Sembereka is a human rights defender and coordinator at the Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC), a network of local civil society organisations working on increasing the accountability of government officials and promoting civil and political rights in Malawi.

On 21 October 2019, the assailants shot in direction of McDonald Sembereka’s house, and threw petrol bombs outside his gate. They approached his premises, and fired more gun shots. They threatened Reverend Sembereka telling him to cease his involvement in the post-election demonstrations. They later escaped in a Toyota Cienta vehicle after realising Sembereka had his own personal security. The matter has been reported to local police but no arrests have been made.

This attack is believed to be part of a pattern of harassment against human rights defenders following mass protests denouncing irregularities in the presidential elections held on 21 May 2019. In particular, human rights defenders and individuals associated with HRCC have been targeted. McDonald Sembereka and his colleagues have been organising demonstrations demanding the resignation of Jane Ansah, the Chairperson of Malawi Electoral Commission after she failed to respond to claims of electoral irregularities. In similar circumstances, there was an attempted killing of human rights defender Timothy Mtambo. On 10 October 2019, several gunshots were fired by unknown assailants at the human rights defender as he was driving home from his place of work. On 15 August 2019, his house and car were subject to a petrol bomb attack. A number of weeks previously, his office was targeted in a similar attack.

Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned about the increase in violent attacks on human rights defenders in Malawi, as it believes that they are solely motivated the by human rights defenders’ legitimate work in defence of human rights and the promotion of democratic values.