Lack of human rights in Swaziland

This video is called Without The King (Swaziland‘s Absolute Monarchy).

From Swazi Media Commentary blog today:

Thursday (10 December 2009) is Human Rights Day and this has prompted Mbho Shongwe, a regular columnist for the Times of Swaziland, the kingdom’s only independent daily, to reflect on the lack of rights in Swaziland.

Human Rights Day celebrates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was inaugurated on 10 December 1948.

SWAZILAND: Dreams of Free Education Deferred: here.

Swaziland’s struggle for democracy: here.

5 thoughts on “Lack of human rights in Swaziland

  1. Swaziland: `The people are getting angrier and angrier’; Swaziland
    Democracy Campaign to be launched

    February 13, 2010 — B.V. Dlamini, deputy secretary general of the
    Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions, spoke to London Student’s Ingrida
    Kerusauskaite about the way forward for Swaziland. London Student is
    Europe’s largest independent student newspaper. This interview is posted
    at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.

    * Read more


  2. Swaziland Democracy Campaign launched: `Justice denied anywhere is
    justice denied everywhere’

    By the Swaziland Democracy Campaign
    Campaigning for democracy in Swaziland NOW!
    February 25, 2010 — Johannesburg, South Africa — On February 21,
    2010, the world witnessed the launch of a global initiative to support
    pro-democracy forces in Swaziland: the Swaziland Democracy Campaign
    (SDC). This is a product of many years of working together between South
    African and Swaziland organisations, which includes political parties,
    trade unions, churches, youth and students organisations.

    * Read more


  3. IPS

    Swaziland: Activist’s Funeral Postponed As Police ‘Suppress Terrorism’

    Mantoe Phakathi

    17 May 2010

    Ncabaneni — The Swazi government is determined that neither in life nor death will Sipho Jele’s political colours be flown publicly.

    The 34-year-old died in custody sometime after his arrest on May 1; and his body was returned to the morgue on May 16 after 300 police officers invaded his funeral at the family’s homestead at Ncabaneni at about 5:30 a.m., seizing banners of the proscribed Peoples United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), to which Jele belonged.

    “There is only one flag in Swaziland,” an unidentified police officer was overheard saying. Police also destroyed photos of Jele displayed in the tent where the night vigil and funeral service were held.

    PUDEMO and its youth league, the Swaziland Youth Congress (SWAYOCO), were banned in 2008 under the terms of the controversial Suppression of Terrorism Act. The government accuses the group of being behind a spate of bombings going back as far as 2005.

    Charges never tested in court

    Jele himself was out on bail, one of 16 PUDEMO members arrested in 2006 and accused of involvement in a series of bombings of government offices, police accommodation, and a house belonging to the press secretary to the government at the time, Percy Simelane.

    Jele and his fellow detainees say they were tortured by police. Then-Prime Minister Themba Dlamini set up a commission of enquiry to establish the facts, but the commission’s report was never made public.

    Jele had been out on bail since his release four years ago with the state showing little inclination to bring the accused to trial swiftly.

    Though Swaziland’s 2006 constitution allows for freedom of expression and association, Jele was arrested on May Day for wearing a t-shirt bearing PUDEMO’s name during workers day celebrations in Swaziland’s commercial hub of Manzini

    He was never to answer charges in this case either. Police claim a fellow inmate found his body hanging in the prison toilet at Sidvwashini Correctional Services.

    Suicide claim challenged

    His family and civil society organisations say he was killed by police during interrogation.

    “When I heard about Sipho’s arrest on Saturday (May 1), I went to the police station and I was told to come back the next day,” recalled Diana Jele, Sipho’s aunt. This went on until on May 4 she was told he had committed suicide.

    “I suspect he was killed on the very same Saturday he was arrested,” she said. “It’s just that police were buying time trying to figure out what they would say was the cause of death.”

    The family is pinning its hopes of discovering the truth on the findings of an independent pathologist from South Africa who did a post-mortem on Jele’s body on May 14.

    An inquest into Jele’s death has been set up, and will begin its work on May 18. Progressive movements have already rejected it on the basis that it has been set up by government and will be chaired by a magistrate who is a former cop.

    Independent inquiry

    Labour organisations, including the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT), Swaziland Federation of Labour (SFL) and SFTU have challenged the police version of events in a petition they sent on May 14 to the Prime Minister, Dr Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini.

    “We call for an inquest chaired by a credible senior judge – preferably with assistance from the International Labour Organisation,” said Dlamini.

    The harassment faced by his family and friends as they seek to bury him undermines confidence that the government will permit a full and complete inquiry into the activist’s death.

    Tension was high at a memorial service held on May 15m as security forces outnumbered mourners. Three political activists, Wandile Dludlu, Patrick Mamba and Pius Vilakati were tipped off that police planned to arrest them, and had to hide in the hearse ferrying Jele’s body to avoid capture.

    And police determination to suppress any political overtones to his funeral went beyond removing PUDEMO’s flag from his coffin when they invaded his wake.

    “Police demanded that workers (labour organisations) should not participate at this funeral,” said SFTU’s Dlamini. “They said only Sipho’s relatives should take part.”

    Dlamini rejected these conditions, saying that Sipho Jele was a worker who died after his arrest on Workers’ Day.

    Local and international human rights organisations have condemned Jele’s detention and his subsequent death.

    Freedoms under threat?

    Father Pius Magagula, the project manager for the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace noted that the problem has its roots in 2008 when King Mswati III issued an inflammatory statement calling for the “throttling” of those opposed to his rule.

    “It’s very common for a regime to be more militant when it realises that its rule is nearing an end,” said Magagula, who accompanied labour organisations to the delivery of the petition at the cabinet offices.

    Jele’s death may serve to highlight the gap between the Swazi government’s actions and its commitment to the principles of the Southern African Development Community which include freedom of association and equal opportunity for all political parties.

    At the time of writing, the labour movement was preparing to go to court to restrain security forces from attending Jele’s funeral on a new date, yet to be announced.

    In death as in life, Sipho Jele seems destined to test Swaziland’s adherence to Article 5 of the SADC treaty, which calls for “the promotion of common political values, systems and other shared values which are transmitted through institutions which are democratic, legitimate and effective.”


  4. Inter Press Service (Johannesburg)

    Swaziland: Border Post Scuffles Highlight a Democratic Shortfall

    Moyiga Nduru

    17 May 2010

    Johannesburg — Activists lobbying for democratic reform in Swaziland have vowed to push ahead with their campaign, even though several of them were temporarily detained this week for blocking the five border posts between South Africa and Swaziland.

    “We’ll meet with our counterparts in Swaziland to chart a way forward. We are right now consulting with each other and we will agree on a date for mass action as soon as we can,” Bongani Masuku, secretary general of the Johannesburg-based Swaziland Solidarity Network, a non-governmental organisation, told IPS.

    Twenty-five pro-democracy campaigners were arrested on the South African side of the border at various crossings Wednesday, and charged with public violence and disturbance. Police said they had been forced fire rubber bullets to disperse the marchers, after they refused to heed warnings to end their protest.

    Those detained included Joe Nkosi, deputy president of the Johannesburg-based Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), and Cedric Cgina, deputy president of the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa – also headquartered in the South African commercial hub.

    Confirming their eventual release, COSATU spokesman Patrick Craven told IPS that the campaigners had been granted bail of between eight and 82 dollars.

    “We will fight these cases. We will demand that the cases be dropped altogether,” he said. “We also want the conduct of the police investigated so that similar incidents can be avoided in the future.”


  5. Pingback: Death penalty for extramarital sex in Swaziland? | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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