A Swazi woman who fled Swaziland to Canada to escape political persecution now faces deportation.
Ntombie Khoza, aged 45, who has a young son, was sacked from her job at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Swaziland because of her activities campaigning for democracy in the kingdom, ruled by King Mswati III’s sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.
Khoza had been active in the Ngwane National Liberation Congress (NNLC), a banned organisation in the kingdom where all political parties are illegal.
She escaped to Canada in 2008, but now faces deportation at an immigration tribunal in Toronto where she now lives. The tribunal is due to sit next Tuesday (18 January 2011).
Khoza needs to convince the tribunal that Swaziland is not a democracy and that if she is forced to return to the kingdom she will face the threat of cruel and unusual punishment by the Swaziland authorities.
As you can read from her personal testimony (click here), her past experiences of mistreatment by the Swazi police and security forces should raise alarm bells about her future prospects.
The public statement made by Barnabas Dlamini, the illegally-appointed Prime Minister of Swaziland, that he favours torturing dissidents who speak out against his government can only increase further fears for her safety if she is forced back to Swaziland.
Khoza is supported by the Caribbean and African Centre in Toronto. The Centre is urging people to write on her behalf to try to convince the tribunal that Swaziland is not a democracy and that King Mswati’s regime has a long record of human rights abuses.
Most readers of this blog will not need prompting when it comes to detailing the shocking record of the King and Dlamini.
But for those new to the fight and who need more background, click here to see an appeal made by Amnesty International in July 2010 to protest against the Swazi Government’s harassment, ill-treatment and arrest of pro-democracy activists.
Letters of support should be sent:
c/o The African Caribbean Centre of Ontario,
200 Wellesley Street, Unit 2905,
Toronto, Ontario. M4X 1G3
Click here to read a detailed statement made by Khoza giving background details to her activities in Swaziland and why she felt compelled to escape to Canada.