Swaziland Authorities Arrest 50 Human Rights Activists, Amnesty Reports

Police in the Kingdom of Swaziland arrested almost 50 human-rights activists and trade unionists in the country’s second city of Manzini, Amnesty International said in an e-mailed statement from London.

Most of the activists, who were arrested today, were subsequently released, though 16 remain in custody, Katy Pownall, an Amnesty spokeswoman, said in the statement.

Among those detained are Fundizwe Sifundza, national organizer of the Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions, members of the Swaziland Democracy Campaign and the Congress of South African Trade Unions, Cosatu.

“We demand their immediate and unconditional release by the Swazi regime, which is once again displaying its brutal opposition to any democratic reform,” Cosatu said in a separate e-mail statement from Johannesburg.

Swazi police in the capital, Mbabane, didn’t answer calls to their switchboard when Bloomberg sought comment today.

In January 2009, Amnesty International and the International Bar Association criticized Swaziland in a statement that said the African country’s Suppression of Terrorism Act contributed “to an atmosphere of uncertainty and of intimidation among a wide range of civil society organizations.”

Swaziland is Africa’s last absolute monarchy. The southern African nation is bordered by South Africa and Mozambique.


September 6, 2010



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