Outlawed pro democracy actions demobilised in Swaziland
Outrageously oppressive government of Swaziland, flouts human and labour rights, demobilising pro democracy campaign actions planned for April 12, 2012, which marks the 39th year of an on going state of emergency in Africa’s smallest nation.
SWAZILAND: The Swaziland government obtained a court order on April 10 blocking the planned pro democracy protests for April 12, but union and student activists planned to go ahead despite the ban. Two days before the planned actions, key trade union leaders and other activists, were put under house arrest and cell phones were confiscated. On the eve of the protest, the army held a parade in the streets in an attempt to intimidate people.
On the day, more union leaders were detained at their homes or offices. Buses entering the city were turned away and groups of people of three or more were broken up by soldiers. The police took charge of the roads and the army patrolled the streets, all heavily armed.
Trade unionists have been on the frontline as advancing the struggle for decent work in Swaziland is impossible in a politically hostile, repressive and unstable environment.
With blatant disregard for ILO's Core Labour Standard Convention Number 87 on the Right to Freedom of Association, the Swaziland government deregistered the newly merged Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) early in April 2012, which held its founding conference only a month before. Labour has recognised that worker unity is key to its strength, which prompted the merger.
When the Swazi government deregistered the new federation, the official reason stated was that the law could not accommodate the merger, but senior government officials have also cited that TUCOSWA could not be permitted to engage in politics. Political parties are banned in Swaziland and TUCOSWA has taken a resolution to oppose national elections in 2013, which it called undemocratic unless held under a multiparty system.
On April 13, the International Metalworkers' Federation (IMF), International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers' Federation (ITGLWF) and the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions (ICEM) sent a joint letter to the Prime Minister, calling on the Swaziland government to restore the registration of TUCOSWA, discontinue the harassment and intimidation of trade unionists and uphold trade union and human rights.Apr 16, 2012 – Aisha Bahadur