UK to investigate human rights violations eSwatini.



BY : ZWELI MARTIN DLAMINI

LONDON The government of the United Kingdom will soon launch an investigation regarding the continuous violation of human rights by the government of the eSwatini. This was disclosed by Grant Calder, the Head of the South African section- Africa Directorate during an engagement meeting with the Swaziland Human Rights Network on the 23rd May 2018.

The meeting was also attended by other regional organizations in the Sothern Africa region that include the Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA), the Human Rights’ Network’s long time partner. The government of the United Kingdom was represented by Andrew Trueman, the Senior Southern Africa Policy Officer as well as Grant Calder, the Head of South African section, Africa Directorate, represented the UK government.

Goodwill Mathonsi, the Swaziland Human Rights Network Coordinator confirmed the meeting saying its main objective was to brief the UK government regarding the continuous human rights violations by Swaziland.

“Our joint aim with ACTSA was to raise issues of human rights breaches by the eSwatini government, violation of the Commonwealth charter and seek the immediate referral of eSwatini to the Commonwealth ministerial action group. Also brought up was the issue of King Mswati III's dictatorship, which is bankrupting the country while he has consolidated power on himself and his family” he said.

Mathonsi said as an organization, they lamented the lack of measurable action by the UK government reading the considering of human rights abuses by the eSwatini government. “Speaking on behalf of our organization I lamented the lack of measurable action by the UK government regarding all the instances of human rights abuses by the eSwatini government including the systematic hounding and persecution of Zweli Martin Dlamini - editor of Swaziland News. We pointed out that this persecution is driven by one goal - to protect king Mswati III,” he said. Mathonsi said they also raised the continued eviction of eMaswati from their land without proper legal protection, the arrests of political activist and the upcoming elections.

“Also raised the issue of continued eviction of eMaswati from their land without proper legal protections, arrests of political activists, the upcoming sham elections which the EU described as not free and fair last time round. The totality of these breaches of the Commonwealth charter necessitated the referral to CMAC,” he said. Mathonsi said the Swaziland Human Rights Network submitted that eSwatini has consistently violated the Commonwealth founding principles that include democracy, human rights and the separation of powers among others. The Coordinator further disclosed that issues of gender equality and good governance were also discussed in the meeting.

“Mr Calder who spoke on behalf of the FCO expressed his gratitude on the issues we raised, some of which he admitted that he not well versed particularly King Mswati's corrupt acquisition of a second private jet” he said.

Mathonsi further mentioned that it transpired during the meeting that eSwatini was now a priority country for the UK government and appropriate action shall be taken. He said the UK government responded as follows after their engagement meeting:

  • 1. eSwatini remains a low priority country for the UK govt as it does not represent strategic interest.
  • 2. The UK government will be reopening its mission in the country in the next nine months
  • 3. All issues of human rights violations, rule of law and good governance shall be looked into and properly investigated.
  • 4. Created an ongoing dialogue between our organization and ACTSA and the FCO where issues of concern can be reported for attention.
  • 5. An official response will be produced in due course.