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.
Looking back at the mayhem in our justice system in Swaziland in the past few years, has come to show that the government's commitment to freedom of speech was just a myth. The prime minister has been lying to the nation over and over again. He even went on to bring the worst Chief Justice (CJ) the country has ever seen, a criminal from Lesotho. He was not even vetted as per the regulations. The CJ has been protecting the government and even went on to protect himself and other rotten potatoes within the justice system .
The Nation magazine editor Bheki Makhubu and human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko, have been languishing in prison, denied them bail because the CJ - Ramodibedi - saw it fit to do so. Now, the same CJ is hiding from facing the justice system for his own crimes.
Now, looking back at the history of the justice department, tells the whole story. Edgar Hillary, the current minister for justice has got a long history for protecting the king, it comes to show that the justice ministry is protecting the government and the king. Hillary has a history of arresting journalists when he was the police commissioner.
Silencing journalists through contempt of court charges is inconsistent with international obligations to which Swaziland has voluntarily agreed, and protecting the reputation of the judiciary is not a justification for stifling free speech. If murderous and rapists are given bail, journalists and human rights activists are not given bail, it comes to show that the government is after protecting its image. It seems as if the government does not understand why investors are running away; the Swaziland government seems to think the media and human rights activists are to blame for that .
US secretary of state John Kerry said, in his address at the Journalism Security Conference early this year, that journalists wont give up and have great confidence in the future of press freedom and the commitment of journalists of every description to go out there and find the truth and report on it, no matter where they are and what the resistance and no matter how stark the danger, no matter how many efforts are made against them .
We Swazi people (eMaSwati) will fight to see the day of freedom of the press eSwatini (Swaziland) and we will shout on roof tops and in the wilderness.
Viva Swazi Vigil Viva...!
By: Theophilus Ceko
. M.C. Zulu, Mail & Guardian, Swazi King Sacks Justice Minister, 22 April 2015; http://mg.co.za/article/2015-04-22-swaziland-king-sacks-justice-minister, Date Accessed: 20 May 2015.
. Swazi Observer, Free Defenders of a Free Press, 3rd May 2015, http://www.observer.org.sz/news/72464-free-defenders-of-a-free-press.html, Date Accessed: 20 May 2015.
. U.S. Department of State, Diplomacy in Action, Remarks at the Journalist Security Conference, 20 January 2015, http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2015/01/236125.htm, Date Accessed: 20 May 2015.
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