17 April 2020 – Court grants injunction against lockdown, seven days for judicial review

Type of Intervention: Judiciary
Sectors Involved: Executive Office
Intervention Categories: Legal and Policy; Review
Level of Jurisdiction: National
Lead People/Agency: High Court

Overview: Court grants Injunction against lockdown

Following the declaration of a lockdown by the President of Malawi, the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) issued a petition to the high court to put in place an injunction against the lockdown declared by the government. The HRDC put forward this petition citing reasons that they wanted the government to ensure that people are supported with emergency supplies. Further to this, the HRDC perceived that before coming up with lockdown decision the president should have considered citizens’ rights to food and economic activities since many Malawians are poor and live below the poverty line.

On 17th April 2020, High Court Judge, Kenyatta Nyirenda, has granted Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) a seven-day injunction stopping the government from implementing a lockdown of the country due to the coronavirus pandemic. The ruling is against the commencement of the lockdown on Saturday until there is an interparty hearing between HRDC and government on April 24.
Full details here: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/malawi-high-court-blocks-coronavirus-lockdown-200417184430403.html

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Type of Justification: Perception of an increased threat
Source of Evidence or Justification: National – other
Evidence/Justification: The injunction is granted based on the evident need for correct measures to cushion citizens living below the poverty line. As documented by the international monetary fund (IMF), Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world with 50.7 percent of the population living below the poverty line and 25 percent living in extreme poverty. Out of the total rural population, 57.0 percent is poor compared to 17.0 percent of the urban population.