Annual Report: Swaziland 2010

Report
May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Swaziland 2010

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Head of state King Mswati III
Head of government Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini
Death penalty abolitionist in practice
Population 1.2 million
Life expectancy 45.3
Under-5 mortality (m/f) 111/92 per 1,000
Adult literacy 79.6 per cent

The rights to freedom of association, expression and assembly continued to be repressed. Security legislation was used to violate people's rights. Police used excessive force against peaceful demonstrators. Torture and the unjustified use of lethal force by law enforcement officials were reported. Nearly 70 per cent of Swaziland's population lived in poverty and a quarter of the population required food aid. Women and girls continued to be disproportionately affected by violence, poverty and the country's HIV pandemic.

Background

The new government that took office in October 2008 continued to respond to political opposition and dissent by using the 2008 Suppression of Terrorism Act (STA). In July, civil society organizations met in Manzini and called for greater protection of human rights, including rights linked to health, education, housing and security, and for an end to violence against women and the repeal of the STA. The government's National Smart Partnership Dialogue, held in August, was criticized by political organizations and civil society for failing to be inclusive.

In September, the government announced the appointment of the Commission on Human Rights and Public Administration, which had been pending since the new Constitution came into force in 2006. However, the King appointed the Commissioners without enabling legislation and full public consultation or involvement in the nominations.

Delays in judicial appointments began to be addressed, but there were continuing concerns about effective guarantees of judicial independence.

Counter-terror and security

Despite growing domestic and international criticism, the government declared it would not amend the STA. The authorities also used other security legislation to arrest and prosecute government critics.