Eswatini: ITUC condemns violence and repression of peaceful protesters

photo: AFP

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has written to the acting Prime Minister of Eswatini calling for an end to the violent repression of peaceful protesters in his country.

Protests began on 26 June when campaigners were prevented from delivering a petition to the government calling for a constitutionally established democracy. Since then the government has used brutal force to stamp out pro-democracy protests, with reports that many people have been killed. Others have been injured, some seriously with gunshot wounds, and many more detained.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said: “Pro-democracy demonstrations have persisted in Eswatini for decades and they will continue until the government listens to the will of the people.

“We condemn the use of violence against peaceful protesters and we are deeply concerned that the government crackdown is disrupting people’s working lives. This could plunge thousands of households into crippling poverty with no social protection to support them.

“We implore the Eswatani government to stop the violence, release all prisoners of conscience, respect the right to peaceful assembly and engage in meaningful dialogue with the people of Eswatini to build a democratic and resilient society. To enable this we call on the United Nations, the African Union and the Southern African Development Community to intervene and facilitate dialogue between all side.”