6 October 2011
Human-rights review latest move in Swazi loan saga
Despite an optimistic review at a United Nations meeting in Geneva on Tuesday (4 October 2011), Swaziland's poor human-rights record is still holding up a rescue loan from SA.
Granting it is in SA's best interests, an analyst said, but the cash-strapped kingdom may now be seeking funding elsewhere.
South African representative Luvuyo Ndimeni reiterated government demands for democratic reforms in exchange for the R2.4 billion loan at the UN Universal Periodic Review, which evaluates member nations' human-rights records every four years.
"The [Swazi] government has alluded to its lack of resources, which impact on its ability to guarantee the human rights of its citizens," he said. "The South African government seeks clarification on whether there is a timeline for implementing laws."
Ndimeni echoed an August memorandum-of-understanding from the treasury seeking a timeframe for reforms. He was also responding to opening remarks by a Swazi representative, who attributed human-rights violations to the global economic crisis and "external shocks".
"These have historically diminished the ability of the government to efficiently underwrite some of the human rights that have financial implications," he said.
Swaziland has experienced a fiscal crisis since February, after its receipts from the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) shrunk by 60%. Half of government revenue comes from Sacu, which shares a common tariff among member nations.
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