27 December 2012

Swaziland Denies Miniskirt Ban

Photo: James Hall/IRIN
A majority of children in Swaziland are raised by single mothers or grandmothers, according to women's groups.

Johannesburg — Swaziland has not banned the wearing of miniskirts, government spokesman Percy Simelane said on Thursday.

"Government has not deliberated or taken any position to that effect in recent times or any other time, nor has it ordered the arrest of anyone wearing a mini-skirt," he said.

He said the Section 28 (1,2 & 3) of the National Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland (2005) protected the freedom and rights of women in the country such that no custom may be imposed on them in which they were in conscience opposed.

"Any law that is not in the spirit or is not in conformity with the Constitution is void as explicitly stipulated in Section 2 [1]."

He said the process of reviewing all laws that were in conflict with the constitution were continuing.

Swaziland media reported on Monday that the police had banned women from wearing miniskirts and midriff-revealing tops, saying they were provoking rape.

Offenders faced a six-month jail term under the ban, which invoked a colonial criminal act dating back to 1889.

"The act of the rapist is made easy, because it would be easy to remove the half-cloth worn by the women," police spokeswoman Wendy Hleta was quoted as saying in the Independent Online news.

The ban reportedly also applies to low-rise jeans.

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