Swaziland


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Swaziland Human Rights

The Kingdom of Swaziland has the distinction of being sub-Saharan Africa’s last remaining absolute monarchy. Though classified as a lower-middle income country, income distribution is skewed, with nearly eighty percent of its 1.2 million people living in abject poverty. Years of government corruption, excessive spending by the royal family and a drop in revenue from the South African Customs Union has left Swaziland in a deep economic crisis. The crisis has resulted in a forty percent unemployment rate and massive reductions in public services such as education and health care.

Increased financial woes resulted in further reductions in Swaziland’s flailing health care sector. The country suffers the highest HIV prevalence rate in the world at twenty-six percent but has failed to secure adequate treatment for its citizens due to shortages in antiretroviral drugs and HIV testing. According to the World Health Organization, life expectancy in Swaziland is 48 years of age.

Swaziland endures a political crisis, as well. King Mswati III retains absolute control over the executive, legislature and judiciary and is immune from civil suits and criminal prosecution under Swazi law. Political parties are banned from participation in elections and many pro-democracy organizations have been deemed terrorist entities by draconian counter-terror legislation. Freedom of press is also severely restricted as many journalists practice self-censorship in fear of retribution from the government.

Amnesty International is concerned with ongoing violations of the rights to freedom of assembly, freedom of association and freedom of expression by the government of Swaziland. Pro-democracy leaders and activists suffer arrest, torture, beatings, pro-longed detention and forced searches of their homes and offices. Peaceful protests and anti-government demonstrations are often met with violent dispersal by security forces. Civil society organizations, trade unions and the media undergo increased harassment and surveillance.

The credibility of Swaziland’s September 2013 elections was questioned by the African Union Election Observer Mission due to the prohibition of political parties. The African Union called on the government of Swaziland to implement the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights 2012 Resolution on Swaziland. Among other objectives, the resolution urges Swaziland to ensure and protect the human rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of assembly.

Swaziland Newsroom



February 22, 2016 • Press Release

Amnesty International’s Annual State of the World Report Slams Governments, Including the U.S., for Global Assault on Freedoms

On the launch of its 2015 State of the World report, Amnesty International USA urged President Obama to use his last year in office to bring U.S. laws and policies in line with international human rights standards.

February 18, 2016 • Report

Amnesty International State of the World 2015-2016

International protection of human rights is in danger of unravelling as short-term national self-interest and draconian security crackdowns have led to a wholesale assault on basic freedoms and rights, warned Amnesty International as it launched its annual assessment of human rights around the world. “Your rights are in jeopardy: they are being treated with utter contempt by many governments around the world,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

February 18, 2016 • Press Release

Your rights in jeopardy, global assault on freedoms, warns Amnesty International

International protection of human rights is in danger of unravelling as short-term national self-interest and draconian security crackdowns have led to a wholesale assault on basic freedoms and rights, warned Amnesty International as it launched its annual assessment of human rights around the world. “Your rights are in jeopardy: they are being treated with utter contempt by many governments around the world,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

February 25, 2015 • Report

State of the World 2014/2015

This has been a devastating year for those seeking to stand up for human rights and for those caught up in the suffering of war zones. Governments pay lip service to the importance of protecting civilians. And yet the world's politicians have miserably failed to protect those in greatest need. Amnesty International believes that this can and must finally change.

May 23, 2013 • Report

Annual Report: Swaziland 2013

Kingdom of Swaziland Head of state King Mswati III Head of government Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini The rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly continued to be violated, with arbitrary arrests and excessive force used to crush political protests. Torture and other ill-treatment remained a persistent concern. Some progress was made in the reform …

May 6, 2011 • Press Release

Swaziland: Amnesty International Condemns Government’s “Alarming” Violence Against Peaceful Protests in Swaziland

Amnesty International Press Release For Immediate Release Wednesday, April 13, 2011 Amnesty International Condemns Government’s “Alarming” Violence Against Peaceful Protests in Swaziland Contact: Suzanne Trimel, 212-633-4150 (New York) — Amnesty International today condemned the use by Swaziland authorities of state of emergency-style measures to crush peaceful anti-government protests taking place across the country and urged …

May 6, 2011 • Press Release

Swaziland: Amnesty International Condemns Government’s “Alarming” Violence Against Peaceful Protests in Swaziland

Amnesty International Press Release For Immediate Release Wednesday, April 13, 2011 Amnesty International Condemns Government’s “Alarming” Violence Against Peaceful Protests in Swaziland Contact: Suzanne Trimel, 212-633-4150 (New York) — Amnesty International today condemned the use by Swaziland authorities of state of emergency-style measures to crush peaceful anti-government protests taking place across the country and urged …

March 19, 2011 • Report

Annual Report: Swaziland 2010

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. …