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Thursday, 23 September 2010

HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSERS STILL FREE

No one has yet been brought to account for the human rights abuses that took place in Swaziland during the Global Week of Action protest for democracy in the kingdom.


Amnesty International reports that during 6-8 September 2010 Swaziland’s security forces harassed and intimidated human rights defenders and peaceful demonstrators.


Amnesty says that during the action ‘human rights defenders, trade unionists and political activists in Swaziland were arbitrarily detained, assaulted and intimidated, as security forces attempted to disrupt two days of planned protest marches.


‘The security forces conducted mass arrests with no legal basis and held human rights defenders, political opposition leaders and foreign trade union officials in unlawful detention.


‘Instead of holding the security forces accountable, the Prime Minister of Swaziland appeared to condone their actions, suggesting during a press conference on 8 September that torture should be considered as a form of punishment against interfering foreigners and dissidents.’


Amnesty issued an ‘Urgent Action’ appeal for supporters of human rights to send written protests to Barnabas Dlamini, the kingdom’s illegally-appointed Prime Minister.


This week Amnesty reported that since early September ‘the level of harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders and activists appears to have declined and no further incidents have been reported.


‘However, no one has been brought to justice for the human rights violations that took place between 6 and 8 September.


‘Although the Prime Minister and his office have made subsequent statements to “clarify” his comments about the use of torture, none of these reported statements amount to a clear rejection of the use of torture.’


Amnesty said that in addition ‘to appeals sent in line with this Urgent Action, organizations in Swaziland and other international institutions have put pressure on the Prime Minister to retract his statement condoning torture’.


Amnesty has now called off the Urgent Action and asked supports not to send further letters of protest to Dlamini.

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