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Sunday, 15 March 2009

CAMPAIGN ON SWAZI HUMAN RIGHTS

Amnesty International and the International Bar Association are to launch a campaign to highlight the lack of human rights in Swaziland.


The two organisations want Swaziland’s Suppression of Terrorism Act (STA) amended or repealed so that it is in line with accepted human rights laws.


The campaign which will focus on Swaziland’s international trading partners is set to start next month (April 2009).


The campaign follows the publication in January of a damning criticism of the STA, published jointly by Amnesty and the International Bar Association.


According to the Times Sunday today (15 March 2009), a document is circulating within Amnesty that includes a timetable for action.


The Times Sunday reports that Amnesty will ‘provide solidarity to civil society organisations in Swaziland that are under threat’.


According to the report, April will be a month of ‘global focus’ on Swaziland as called for by Southern Africa trade unions.


On 12 April there will be a Southern Africa Solidarity Conference in Swaziland organised by Southern African trade unions.


The campaign will also use World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, 2009 and Africa Day on 25 May to draw attention to the lack of human rights in the kingdom.


Amnesty says countries, trading blocs and political unions should campaign about the impact the STA is having on human rights. Amnesty will also raise its concerns directly with the government of Swaziland and its diplomatic representatives abroad.


According to the Times Sunday, the campaign follows a much publicised outcry against the legislation, and subsequent arrests. The organisations that protested include Lawyers for Human Rights, the Swaziland United Democratic Front (SUDF) as well as the Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions (SFTU) and its regional counterparts.


Their concerns were raised during a series of meetings held in Swaziland and in South Africa, a memorable one being a march staged in Sandton, South Africa during a meeting for the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) heads of state. SFTU and the SUDF were well represented during the march that also included members of South African political parties under the ruling tripartite alliance.


For more details of the campaign, click here.

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