13 April 2011
Lawyers for Human Rights, Swaziland, statement
The violent suppression of peaceful protests is a gross violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of the people of Swaziland
Lawyers for Human Rights (SWD) are gravely concerned with the violent suppression of human rights and fundamental freedoms of the people of Swaziland. Quite clearly, the greatness of democracy is the capacity and ability of the people to freely express themselves. The Government of Swaziland has not been able to do so for close to four decades now.
We, Lawyers for Human Rights hereby join the voices of the civil society and the Democracy Movement in Swaziland, supported by the peace and democracy loving citizens of the world to condemn the massive use of violent force by the government to crush the peaceful protests by citizens demanding a meaningful stake in the governance of their country.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other human rights instruments, make it clear that the basis of any government is the will of the people, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights goes on to say that, nothing shall justify the domination of a people by another. The peaceful protest by the people of Swaziland is simply to demand the right to self-determination, and the stoppage of the continued domination by the ruling Royal regime and its cabals.
Lawyers for Human Rights note that, the reason for the people’s demand for the resignation of the current government, and the transformation of Swaziland into a democratic and constitutional state is inspired by the universal principles long embraced by the community of nations. Swaziland has been and continues to be out of step with the rest of the democratic world, and has betrayed its commitment to respect the values of humanity and human dignity.
We accordingly join the call for the Government of Swaziland to stop unleashing the security forces against unarmed and defenseless citizens. It must listen to the voices of change by agreeing to enter into a process that will address the crisis facing the country: the constitutional question. So long as the government refuses to engage in a genuine, open, democratic and all-inclusive participatory process of constitutional reform that will result in a democratic constitution, that will guarantee the Rule of Law not rule by men, the crisis will continue. Such a constitution must create strong civil institutions, such as an independent judiciary, an autonomous no-partisan parliament, and an accountable executive authority, as well as an environment conducive for the enjoyment, protection and promotion of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Issued by the Executive Committee of Lawyers for Human Rights (Swaziland)