Women in Swaziland face unequal social, economic, legal, political and cultural treatment. Some laws still treat women as minors and second class citizens, despite the 2005 Constitution's Bill of Rights declaring that women should be free from any form of discrimination or abuse.In 2009 the house of assembly in Swaziland passed the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Bill, but still waiting to be signed by King Mswati III. In Swaziland women are not allowed to own property especial if they are married in Swazi Law and Custom. The banks will refuse to open an account or grant a loan to a woman without the husband's consent if she is married through Swazi Law and Custom. If she wants to lease land (own land) she has to a male relative to act as a guarantor or her husband. In Swaziland if a woman is widowed, movement and travel is highly restricted, and mingling and mixing with the public has some imposed restrictions as well. One of them is that she does not walk right through the crowd. Widows are not allowed to work in some environments and sectors.In Swaziland there has been a drastic deterioration in Human Rights conditions and respect for the rule of law in recent years. Political activism and trade unions are subjected to restrictions, which is in violation of international law, including banning them under the draconian Suppression of Terrorism Act 2008, arbitrary detention and unfair trials. Last year saw a number of worrying developments that further constrained the ability of people to engage in politics, in particular to exercise their right of freedom of expression and assembly. High profile examples included the sentencing of journalist Bheki Makhubu and lawyer Thulane Maseko to two years in prison after writing an article criticising Swaziland's judiciary. Mario Masuku, president of the People's United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), and Maxwell Dlamini from the Swaziland Youth Congress, were also arrested in May last year for allegedly seditious comments contravening the controversial terrorism legislation.
As Swaziland Vigil UK, we will continue fighting for Freedom of Speech, Democracy, Human Rights and Women's Rights until the whole world hears us and there is rule of law and respect for human rights in Swaziland. VIVA SWAZI VIGIL!! VIVA!!By: Rainny Nomvula Dlamini
The Parliament of the European Union has demanded the release of imprisoned trade union leaders and all political prisoners in Swaziland and called for an investigation of the situation in the kingdom. A European Union press statement said that the Parliament had called for ‘the immediate and unconditional release of Mr Maseko (a prominent human rights lawyer) and Mr Makhubu (Editor-in-Chief of The Nation), given that their imprisonment relates directly to the legitimate exercise of their right to freedom of expression" and also of all political prisoners, including Mario Masuku, President of the People’s United Democratic Movement, and Maxwell Dlamini, Secretary-General of the Swaziland Youth Congress.
Parliament considers the imprisonment of political activists and the banning of trade unions to be in clear contravention of commitments made by Swaziland under the Cotonou Agreement to respect democracy, the rule of law and human rights, and also under the sustainable development chapter of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Economic Partnership Agreement, for which Parliament’s support will depend on respect for the commitments made.
It calls, therefore, on the Commission (Parliament’s cabinet) to honour its obligation to monitor Swaziland’s adherence to human rights and to labour and environmental conventions under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), and to open an investigation to determine whether there has been a serious and systematic violation of the labour rights protected under the GSP.’
The resolution was passed overwhelmingly and was one of three dealing with human rights around the world. Another condemned the abduction of Zimbabwe human rights activist Itai Dzamara.
By: Thobile Gwebu
See: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/content/20150513IPR55482/html/Human-rights-Zimbabwe-Thailand-Swaziland – Human rights: Zimbabwe; Thailand; Swaziland.
Freedom of speech in Swaziland is alluded to by the Nation’s Constitution of 2005 and the government, but it is not respected or encouraged. Most Swazis have lost confidence in our justice system. If you speak up about political affairs that oppose the government, you are seen or perceived as an enemy of the kingdom and you are treated like a criminal. Most Swazis live in fear rather than making their political views known because they are not allowed to speak up ,.
As Swaziland Vigil, we will continue fighting for freedom, democracy, human rights and women’s rights until we are victorious.
The country does not recognise human rights and on the contrary, it violates human rights and yet it wants to be seen and known by other countries as a peaceful country.
Political Parties were and still are banned by the king’s decree of 1973, the king is the only person who makes political, executive and judicial decisions that pertain to the country’s governance and the monarchy. I believe that people should not fear their government, once they start fearing their government, something is not right. People should have rights to voice their concerns in everything. The government should listen to the people, because it is there because of them, without them it wouldn’t exist.
The king of Swaziland is severely opposed to any form of challenge to his rule, as a consequence, he is ready to unleash the security forces on any person(s) deemed to oppose him. Opposition is violently crushed by the forces (Royal Swaziland Police) acting under direct orders from the King.
King Mswati III also uses absolute powers granted by the Swaziland 2005 constitution to enforce a ban on dissenting political views. The constitution gives the King widespread powers: political, economic and social. The King regards his rule as God-given – an opinion shared by his family and all who support him .
The King continues to spend extravagantly on the security forces much against the advice from the IMF who warned about the ever increasing size of civil service. It is believed that this continued investment in the army and police force is his way to solidify his position. Furthermore King Mswati III also regards those who oppose him as less than citizens. i.e. unSwazi, foreign backed, enemy of the state, unpatriotic and should be eliminated.
Unless there is free flow of information, rights and constitution under freedom of expression, Swaziland is incapable of making the right decisions, innocent and vulnerable people will continue to suffer under the Swazi government.
By Zodwa Dlamini
Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Human Rights in Swaziland, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_in_Swaziland, Accessed: 7 May 2015.
U.S. Department of State, Diplomacy in Action, 2010 Human Rights Report: Swaziland, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/af/154372.htm, Accessed: 7 May 2015
Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA), Peace, Justice, Solidarity, http://www.actsa.org/page-1518-Improving%20women%27s%20rights%20in%20Swaziland.html, Accessed: 7 May 2015
The Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland Act 2005, Page 11, Section 4, subsection 3, King and iNgwenyama.
The Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland Act 2005, Page 14, Section 4, subsection 11, Protection of King and iNgwenyama in respect of legal proceedings.