9 September 2011
United Kingdom concerned about human rights situation in Swaziland
“The UK is deeply concerned about the continuing decline in good governance and human rights in Swaziland, and the lack of progress towards democracy,” the United Kingdom’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s Africa Directorate says in a letter from September 7 . The letter was addressed to the many people who had complained about Swaziland’s absolute monarch, King Mswat III’s, invitation to the British royal wedding in April 2011, and specifically calls on the Swazi regime to uphold human rights.
“The UK calls on the Government of Swaziland to abide by the 2005 Constitution, which guarantees the rights of all Swazi citizens to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression,” the letter says.
According to the FCO, the United Kingdom has repeatedly raised the issues of Swaziland’s human rights record with King Mswati III and his ministers, as well as taking action together within the purview of the European Union.
“The UK takes every available opportunity to make our views known to the Swazi authorities,” the letter stated. “Our non-resident High Commissioner, with her EU colleagues, met with King Mswati III on 10 March in Swaziland, during which human rights and governance issues were raised, whilst our non-resident Deputy High Commissioner directly raised our concerns on human rights with the Swazi Foreign Minister on 13 April.
“Following the anti government protests in Swaziland on 12 April, the UK led the drafting and issuing of an EU statement expressing concern at the actions of the Government of Swaziland. More recently, our new Deputy High Commissioner visited Swaziland in August 2011 to engage with the Government.”