Civil Society stands in solidarity with people of Swaziland

News and Press Release
Originally published

Johannesburg. 20 April 2011. International and South African civil society groups strongly condemn the brutal crackdown by Swaziland security forces on anti-government protestors.

As a group of concerned organisations, we strongly condemn the brutal crackdown by authorities on peaceful protestors in Swaziland. We stand united to voice our concerns about the daily abuses and the ongoing repression of its people.

The people of Swaziland have started to protest and rebel against the government in the country that has systematically prevented and repressed opposition voices. The democracy movement in Swaziland, while long standing, began in earnest on 12 April 2011 and is similar to many other pro-democracy movements on the African continent, as the people state that enough is enough: they want freedom and democracy. The repressive actions by the state to silence peaceful protest represent anything but a free and democratic society.

The abuses by the forces of the monarchy must end and Swaziland's people must be free of repression and be allowed to exercise their rights. People must be allowed the maintenance of the fundamental pillars of a democratic society, namely respect and protection of their human rights including freedom of association and freedom of. Police brutality and repression is not acceptable. The government of Swaziland should at all times respect the citizens' rights to assemble and be part of associations as enshrined in the 2006 constitution and the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights that it has promised to respect. Freedom of association means repealing the 1973 ban on political parties and so political parties are not legally recognised in Swaziland. All citizens need to be free to mobilise, associate and oppose the Government, without fear of repression.

We stand in full support of the struggle in Swaziland for democratic freedom and human rights. We urge the Swaziland authorities to end the repression of peaceful dissent. We urge the international community to stand up against these abuses and condemn what is going on in the country against its citizens. We also strongly urge the South African government to act against the state sanctioned human rights abuses that are occurring within its direct neighbour.

List of organisations involved
CIVICUS:World Alliance of Citizen Participation
Human Rights Watch
African Diaspora Forum
CAF Southern Africa
Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute
Action for Conflict Transformation
Amnesty International

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