Swaziland and Sri Lanka to be probed over human rights

By Staff Writer

Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa - His country is accused of gross violation of human rights.

Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa – His country is accused of gross violation of human rights.

Swaziland’s World Alliance for Citizen Participation (CIVICUS) and Sri Lanka’s Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) have made submissions to the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) to put both countries under scrutiny and continually review their performance in the protection of human rights.

The two organisations made their submissions on 10th March 2014 ahead of the Commonwealth Human Right Initiative (CHRI) meeting due at the end of this week. According to a communication received by our editorial team, both CIVICUS and the CPA illustrated the current state of affairs in their respective countries.

CIVICUS acknowledged that while Swaziland’s National Constitution (2005) contains provisions on the rights to freedom of association and assembly, these basic rights are weakened by contrary claw-back provisions and revealed that there is increased harassment and violence against activists calling for democratic participation and a multi-party dispensation to an extent that the country has received reminders from the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights to respect its obligations to the people.

CIVICUS also expressed concern on the broad media censorship, which remains highly controlled by the state. The communication said that media workers usually face threats and violence expressions that criticise the monarchy and cited the editor of The Nation magazine, Bheki Makhubu, who was charged with contempt of court for criticising Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi in April 2013 and may therefore face two years in prison or a fine.

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