There are serious human rights abuses in Swaziland and these are getting worse.
These are the unsurprising conclusions of the US State Department annual Country Report on Swaziland released this week.
In a wide ranging report, Swaziland is criticized for the way in which the Swazi Government and its agents continue to condone or commit serious abuses.
The ‘human rights situation in the country deteriorated’ over the past year, the report concludes.
‘Human rights problems included inability of citizens to change their government; extrajudicial killings by security forces; mob killings; police use of torture, beatings, and excessive force on detainees; police impunity; arbitrary arrests and lengthy pretrial detention; arbitrary interference with privacy and home; restrictions on freedoms of speech and press and harassment of journalists; restrictions on freedoms of assembly, association, and movement; prohibitions on political activity and harassment of political activists; discrimination and violence against women; child abuse; trafficking in persons; societal discrimination against mixed race and white citizens; and harassment of labor leaders, restrictions on worker rights, and child labor.’
The 10,000-word report covers a wide range, including the lack of respect for human rights; restrictions on freedom of the press (publishing criticism of the monarchy is banned); suspension of the constitutional right to free expression (especially regarding political issues or the royal family); the practice of self‑censorship that restricted academic freedom by limiting academic meetings
In September 2008, Swaziland held elections. According to the report, ‘International observers concluded that the elections did not meet international standards. Political parties were not allowed to register or sponsor candidates; ballots were cast in secrecy but could be traced by registration number back to voters; some ballot boxes were not properly protected; and accusations of bribery occurred. There were widespread reports that citizens were advised that if they did not register to vote, they would no longer receive government services.’
To see the full report, click here.