The UK Trades Union Congress (TUC) is to call for Swaziland / Eswatini to be suspended from the Commonwealth because of its poor record on workers’ rights.
It said international institutions should take the lead in condemning workers’ rights abuses in the kingdom where King Mswati III rules as one of the world’s last absolute monarchs.
Swaziland was ranked four out of five in a 2018 survey of the worst nations in the world for workers’ rights published by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), indicating a ‘systematic violation’ of rights.
In the most recent example of abuse, on 29 June 2018 police in Swaziland fired stun grenades, teargas and water cannon at workers trying to deliver a petition to the Swazi Government against poor service delivery, misuse of state pension funds and other issues.
Tanya Warlock, TUC Policy and campaigns support officer, writing on the TUC website, said, ‘In the aftermath of that shocking violence, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady wrote to the High Commissioner of Swaziland to condemn the Swazi government’s actions.
‘Now we’re calling on the Commonwealth to suspend Swaziland until the Swazi government stops breaching fundamental human rights and ends the repression of workers.’
She added, ‘Swazi trade unions continue to suffer from brutal repression just for standing up for workers’ rights.’
The TUC will call for the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (the disciplinary committee of the Commonwealth) to suspend Swaziland, ‘until the government stops breaching the fundamental principles and values that Commonwealth members have a duty to respect’ she said.
Human rights are severely curtailed in Swaziland where political parties are banned from taking part in elections and opponents are charged under a number of laws, including the Suppression of Terrorism Act.
UK Solidarity With Swazi Workers
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