Tuesday, 20 March 2012

PRESS RELEASE: March 20, 2012


The Swaziland Diaspora Platform (SDP) will tomorrow join millions of South Africans all over the country in celebrating Human Rights Day. The SDP identifies with the day as an international symbolism of what a united and determined people can do in the face of injustice and repression.

We Swazis in the Diaspora would like to congratulate the government of the Republic of South Africa by living true to the counsel of former president Nelson Mandela; to build a united, democratic and non-sexist society. We are encouraged and inspired that the post-Apartheid government that some believed and hoped would fail, is now a leading economic giant in Africa and continues to play an important role in global affairs in advancing the cause of Africa.

Human Rights Day is an important day in the South African calendar, as it speaks to the country’s past and the possible future that South Africans must take.
Today, this day is celebrated by all South Africans including those who previously benefitted from the unjust Apartheid system. Indeed, the beautiful country that South Africa has become, post-Apartheid, re-affirms our belief in the centrality of the human rights struggle to defeat all forms of social injustice.

Sadly, as South Africans look back proudly at their heroic struggle against the violations of their human rights by the Apartheid government, we in neighboring Swaziland continue to experience the most backward and non-participatory system of governance ever seen in the 21st century.

As the world in general, and South Africans in particular, reflect on the Sharpeville massacre and the triumphant struggle waged by Africa’s biggest liberation movement, the ANC, we poignantly reflect on our own continued injustice in the face of a hypocritical world that continues to condemn in the most strongest of terms the injustices in Zimbabwe while ignoring the very same injustices just next door.

South Africans at large must ask themselves how it is possible that Swaziland continues to escape the world’s human rights radar and international media attention yet is the only country in Southern Africa, and perhaps even Africa, where the government is not chosen by the people but by the King who is the head of state.

As we convey our fraternal salutations to the people of South Africa we would like to remind the ANC as it goes towards its policy conference that the struggle for justice and human dignity is by its very nature an international one and that Apartheid would not have been defeated had it not been for the international isolation that supporters of the regime were subjected to by ordinary peace loving people of the world.

Swaziland is today at the throes of an economic collapse, not because the country is poor but because of the greedy royal family; a parasitic elite who feed off the plight of the poor.
The economic indicators, as published by the International Monetary Fund, point to a country in imminent collapse and no more shall Africa and the world hide behind ‘sovereignty’ when we Swazis are facing unjustifiable hardships.

Swaziland’s ruling Tinkhundla government is at best a bureaucratic class which uses the poorest of the poor to advance the interest of the royal family and their friends and at worse a latter day version of Adolf Hitler’s Nazism. It uses violence, manipulation and narrow traditional values to whip up social prejudice while perpetuating its own misrule. It has entrenched tribal rule through a system of government that recognizes only the Dlamini clan as God ordained rulers of the country.

Our country Swaziland is today known as the last absolute monarchy in Africa because the King has ultimate authority over the cabinet, legislature, and judiciary. While the country has a Prime
Minister and a partially elected parliament, political power remains largely in the hands of the King and his traditional advisors. We shudder to imagine that all this happens in the 21st century modern world.

Human rights violations Swaziland are so widespread that the most recent *Human Rights Report on Swaziland highlights the most atrocious violation as the inability of citizens to change their own government.
The report notes that other key human rights violations are; extrajudicial killings by security forces; restrictions on freedoms of speech and press; harassment of journalists; restrictions on freedoms of assembly, association, and movement; prohibitions on political activity and harassment of political activists; discrimination and violence against women; child abuse; trafficking in persons; societal discrimination against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community;  and the harassment of labor leaders plus restrictions on worker rights.
If these were not real facts happening in real time this would read like badly written movie script depicting the life and times of Hitler’s Nazism.

Since the heralding of Swaziland’s Suppression of Terrorism Act (2008), jail has become a fait accompli for most human rights activists and has rendered the country a police state. Even though condemned by credible human rights organizations like Amnesty International, the Suppression of Terrorism Act is being used as a weapon of choice by government against pro-democracy activists and has buried even the smallest visage of hope about real democracy in Swaziland.

IMPORTANT: Swazis picket at national Human Rights Day Celebration

We are prepared as peace and democracy loving people of Swaziland to play our role in fighting for the respect for human rights in Swaziland but all our efforts may be in vain if not supported by the people of the world.

We as the Swazi Diaspora Platform will join throngs of South Africans tomorrow in Kliptown, Soweto, firstly to celebrate with them the milestones achieved in the restoration of human dignity and respect for human rights and most importantly to highlight our plight as Swazis in this regard.

 *2011 Report by the US Department of State

Statement issued by

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