25 June 2013
An anonymous column in Swaziland’s only privately owned newspaper, Times of Swaziland, has supported the move by the government to amend the controversial Suppression of Terrorism Act.
The column, ‘MR REF’, is a daily feature of Times of Swaziland’s comment and letters page. Each day MR REF considers three topical issues and will judge each issue as either being ‘onside’ or ‘offside’. It had this to say about the recent debate on the Suppression of Terrorism Act:
“The Suppression of Terrorism Act overly restricts the space for legal, non-destructive, dissent and the government’s promise to the ILO (International Labour Organisation) to amend it will go far to encourage peaceful discussion among Swazis while simultaneously avoiding charges of human rights abuses. ONSIDE.”
Swaziland’s Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Swaziland) is encouraged by the government’s move to amend the Act. MISA has been calling for the amendment of the legislation for many years.
According to many rights groups the legislation in its current form infringes on basic liberties and human rights.
In 2009 Amnesty International, an international human rights organisation, in partnership with Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association, released a report on the Act.
Both organisations said they are “gravely concerned that certain provisions in the Suppression of Terrorism Act No.3 of 2008 (the STA) threaten human rights, are inherently repressive, breach Swaziland’s obligations under international and regional human rights law and the Swaziland Constitution, and are already leading to violations of the rights of freedom of expression, association and assembly”. Click here to read the full report.
The news of government’s plan to amend the legislation was reported by the Times of Swaziland on June 24 2013.
“Government has made an undertaking to amend the 2008 Suppression of Terrorism Act (STA), which is seen as having excessively restrictive measures.
“The promise was made at the recently-concluded 102nd International Labour Organisation (ILO) Congress in Geneva, Switzerland.
“A report of the Committee on the Application of Standards has now been released and it contains all that was submitted by government, workers and employers’ federations during the congress.
“Minister of Labour and Social Security Lutfo Dlamini represented government at the annual conference.”
For comments or queries, please contact:
MISA-Swaziland National Director