Times of Swaziland (Swaziland’s only independent daily newspaper).
13 April 2011
American Embassy slams govt’s actions
MBABANE — The Embassy of the United States has called upon government to respect rights of all its citizens, especially freedom of assembly and freedom of expression.
In a statement issued yesterday on the demonstrations, the US Embassy said such rights were guaranteed by the Swazi Constitution and by international human rights instruments.
"The Embassy of the United States wishes to express its concerns about actions taken by the government of the Kingdom of Swaziland to prevent the peaceful assembly of labour and opposition groups on April 12," reads the statement. The embassy said it was also concerned about reports of a raid at the home of a Swazi labour leader and the reported detentions of four opposition activists in the days before the planned demonstration.
"The US calls on the Government of Swaziland to respect the rights of all its citizens to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, which are guaranteed by the Swazi Constitution and by international human rights instruments," said the embassy.
It said the respect for these rights was essential for promoting the sort of dialogue between citizens and government that is a fundamental component of any democratic society.
They further urged all sides to exercise restraint during demonstrations.