The following letter calling the ban on marches in Swaziland a ‘gross violation of the International Labour Organisation’s’ Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work’ was sent by the British Trades Union Congress (TUC) to the Swazi High Commission in London yesterday (8 April 2011).
8 April 2001
Dear High Commissioner
Ban on peaceful protests in Swaziland
The TUC General Council join me in expressing our deep concern over the ban on the peaceful protest planned by the trade union movement for 12-14 April 2011 in Swaziland.
The Press Statement issued on 7 April 2011 from the Prime Minister's Office declares the planned protest action illegal and warns that it will be 'viewed as representing a threat to law-abiding members of society.'
The banning of peaceful protests and the repression of the freedom of expression are a gross violation of the ILO Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. Moreover, the Government of Swaziland, which ratified Convention 98 and Convention 87, is obliged to observe the workers' rights enshrined in them. In addition, the ban is tantamount to an infringement of Article 25 of the Swazi constitution which guarantees the freedom of assembly and association.
We urge you to pass on our deep concern over the ban on the planned protest action to your Government, and use your influence with the authorities to ensure that peaceful protests are allowed to take place without interference from the State.