Malawian Pupils Suspended for Sexual Activity Take Their Ordeal To Court

The initiative also teaches boys to respect girls and how to intervene when a girl is being sexually assaulted. (L. Masina/VOA)
The initiative also teaches boys to respect girls and how to intervene when a girl is being sexually assaulted. (L. Masina/VOA)

A group of Malawian school pupils have taken their case to the High Court in Mzuzu after being suspended from school, fined, and, in some cases, jailed for falling pregnant. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.

Malawi’s draconian school pregnancy laws have come under scrutiny as over a dozen pupils await a High Court ruling that could set a precedent for future cases.

In November 2016, the pupils filed an application for judicial review of fines imposed on them by a local magistrate after their school suspended both the girls who fell pregnant and the boys who impregnated them. In addition, the pupils and their parents were summoned to appear before a local magistrate, who ordered each parent to pay a K10,000 fine and placed those who were unable to pay the fine in police custody until they did. In some instances, the parents were also detained in the cells until the fine was paid.

Attorneys and activists supporting the pupils have argued that the measures are unnecessarily punitive and deny the children their constitutional right to education.

“The applicants argue that the fines and detention were inconsistent with common law notions of fairness, legality and rationality and with the rights…

Source: allafrica.com

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