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Thursday, 31 March 2011


The Norwegian MP at the centre of a row over his support for Swaziland has poured petrol on the flames with his latest statement.

Arne Haugen, who has just ended a three-day visit to the kingdom ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, is reported in local media saying, ‘My three day trip in the country has given me a very strong impression of the Swazi people. The trip has been full of laughter, which is a result of the friendliness of the people. I am going to be a good ambassador for Swaziland in the Norwegian Parliament.’

Africa Contact, a Danish NGO, has already protested about previously published statements from Haugen, in which he appeared to support the despotic regime of King Mswati.

It is urging that letters of protest be sent to the Norwegian High Commission in South Africa.

Peter Kenworthy, of Africa Contact, writing in his stiffkitten blog today (31 March 2011), says, ‘This praise of Swaziland, an absolute monarchy where political parties have been illegal since a State of Emergency was introduced in 1973, and where police and security forces clamp down heavily on any peaceful manifestations of protest against the lack of democratic reform, is rather surprising from an official Norwegian delegate.

‘Especially as Norway usually advocates human rights, and because Norway’s Ambassador to South Africa, Tor Christian Hildan last August compared Swaziland to apartheid-South Africa and spoke of the “growing problems and lack of human rights and freedom of speech in Swaziland.’

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