The ACHPR expresses concern at the human rights situation in the Kingdom of eSwatini

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The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission) has expressed concern at the human rights situation relating to protests against calling for reform and the violence involving law enforcement personnel in the Kingdom of eSwatini.  

In a statement released to the press by the Commission, it stated that the heavy handed response of security forces against protests in  eSwatini calling for democratic reforms in the country have resulted in deaths and injuries of mostly protesters.

The Commission underscores that the law enforcement personnel deployed for policing of protests and riots should exercise maximum restraint and avoid acts that lead to arbitrary deprivation of life contrary to Article 4 of the African Charter.

The Commission welcomes the announcement of a plan for national dialogue the convening of which in a venue and format that ensures the safe and free participation of all stakeholders

Noting that reports of violations of human rights by law enforcement, the Commission therefore calls on the Government of the Kingdom of eSwatini, to:

1) Immediately halt the use by police of live ammunition

2) Comply with the principles of precaution, proportionality and necessity in the use of force avoiding at all times the use of lethal force except as a last resort measure for preventing serious harm.  

3) To ensure that there are prompt, transparent, effective, independent and impartial investigations into all allegations of human rights violations, particularly the use of excessive force by security forces;

4) Avail those whose rights have been violated by members of law enforcement institutions to have unhindered access to remedies,  including reparation and compensation with indigent victims provided legal assistance; and

5) To create conditions for the participation of all stakeholders in an environment of freedom including through releasing those in detention for their participation in protests.

6) To ensure unhindered access to the internet;

In conclusion the African Commission says, it avails itself to accompany eSwatini in its effort to ensure compliance with the standards of the African Charter on the basis of the foregoing steps.