Thursday, April 15, 2010


I hear that Barnabas Dlamini, Swaziland’s illegally-appointed Prime Minister, wants to meet with the US Ambassador to Swaziland Earl Irvine to ‘discuss’ a human rights report published last month (March 2010).

They’ll have a lot to discuss, since the comprehensive report on Swaziland from the US State Department tells it like it is.

Dlamini, who was appointed by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, and his cronies like to put it about that Swaziland is a country of peace and harmony, where everyone is happy and the only ‘problems’ in the kingdom are in the imagination of the foreign media.

Here are the first two paragraphs of the report that stretches to more than 11,200 words. It gives you a flavour of the situation. Dlamini will have a lot of explaining to do when he meets up with the ambassador.

(Click here to read the full report).

Swaziland is an absolute monarchy, and King Mswati III has ultimate authority over the cabinet, legislature, and judiciary. The population was approximately 1.02 million, according to the 2007 census. There was a prime minister and a partially elected parliament, but political power remained largely with the king and his traditional advisors, the most influential of whom remained the queen mother. International observers concluded that parliamentary elections held in September 2008 did not meet international standards. The 2008 Suppression of Terrorism Act to silence dissent and ban certain political organizations remained in effect. While civilian authorities generally maintained effective control of the security forces, there were some instances in which elements of the security forces committed abuses

Human rights problems included inability of citizens to change their government; extrajudicial killings by security forces; mob killings; police use of torture, beatings, and excessive force on detainees; police impunity; arbitrary arrests and lengthy pretrial detention; arbitrary interference with privacy and home; restrictions on freedoms of speech and press and 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 transsexual community; discrimination against mixed-race and white citizens; harassment of labor leaders; restrictions on worker rights; and child labor.

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