damages claim

Activist for women’s rights called ‘violent’ because she used local word for vagina on protest placard

A women’s rights activist in Malawi, Beatrice Matweyo, found by the high court to have been wrongly arrested during an anti-gender-based violence protest, has now been slammed for having carried a placard with a slogan including the local word for vagina. Lilongwe’s high court assistant registrar said the use of this word amounted to violence against women, and thus awarded her merely a nominal amount for her claim for punitive damages.

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A new decision by the high court of Malawi should provoke outrage. Brian Sambo, assistant registrar of the high court in Lilongwe, has been assessing the damages that must be paid to prominent women’s rights activist, Beatrice Mateyo. She was arrested during a protest against gender-based violence (GBV) because police thought her placard ‘insulted the modesty of women’ as it included the local word for a vagina.

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