June 29, 2012
Danish Development Minister worried about Swaziland
“I fully share your concern about the human rights situation in Swaziland,” Danish Minister for Development, Christian Friis Bach replied last Thursday to a letter from Danish NGO Africa Contact’s chairperson, Signe Borker Bjerre that conveyed the message of the Swazi democratic movement for tougher measures against the Swazi regime.
Friis Bach also maintained that Denmark is acting on this concern. “Even though Denmark is not officially represented in Swaziland, we make sure that our voice is heard in the European Union, through which we pursue an active foreign policy in relation to Swaziland.”
According to Friis Bach, the European Union is considering taking action against Swaziland for its many recent human rights violations.
“During a conversation with European Union Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, on May 28, I raised the issue of the worrying human rights situation in Swaziland. The Commissioner shared my concern and said that he was considering what action the EU should take.”
Friis Bach even reflected on whether or not the European Union should suspend development aid to Swaziland. “Your call for the suspension of European Union development aid to Swaziland needs to be considered carefully. On the one hand we want to pressurize the Swazi government, but on the other hand we wish to be able to help secure the basic rights of the rural population and support initiatives that promote good governance.”