Swaziland Police Violence Rampant, Children Die As Economy Collapses, Report Shows

Police in Swaziland (eSwatini) attacked striking public servants with live ammunition, rubber bullets, teargas and water cannon as a long-running dispute over pay dragged on. The police behaviour has become typical in the kingdom ruled by King Mswati III as an absolute monarch. The number of injured was initially estimated as 15, but that more than doubled as more information became available. Separate from this there were new fears that police had a 'shoot-to-kill' policy after three men who escaped from a correctional facility were gunned down.

These were some of the main events in the period July to September 2019 and contained in Swaziland: Striving for Freedom, volume 35 of the compilations of reports posted on the Swazi Media Commentary website and available to download free-of-charge from Scribd.

The kingdom continues in financial meltdown, with health and educational services crippled. Schools and hospitals have run out of supplies and staff have been sacked and other vacancies left unfilled. Up to 200 teachers had reportedly died from stress-related illness over the past two years as a result. Cancer patients have been refused treatment because the government has not paid hospital bills. At least 11 children died of diarrhoea because of drug shortages.

Elsewhere, Lisa Peterson, United States Ambassador to Swaziland renewed her call for the Royal Decree that keeps King Mswati in power as an absolute monarch to be scrapped. Oxfam, the international anti-poverty charity, named Swaziland as the country with most income inequality in Africa. Human Rights Watch reported restrictions on freedom of association and assembly continued in Swaziland although the kingdom had signed the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance in January.

An extensive survey revealed LGBTI people in Swaziland suffer mental health issues and many have attempted suicide because of the way they are discriminated against in the kingdom.

Swazi Media Commentary is published online, updated most weekdays. It is operated entirely by volunteers and receives no financial backing from any organisation. It is devoted to providing information and commentary in support of human rights in Swaziland.

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