Today, UNI joins the ITUC and ITUC Africa call to participate in the global day of action on 12 April 2023 in solidarity with our fellow trade unionists in Eswatini who are under siege from their government. We demand:
- An end to the culture of impunity.
- A stop to human and trade union rights violations.
- The government institutes a dialogue with all stakeholders concerned and an independent investigation into the murder of human rights defenders and trade unionists.
We have been following with deep concern the deterioration of human and trade union rights in the Kingdom of Eswatini. The vicious killing of Thulani Maseko, a human and trade union rights lawyer, typifies this situation. His murder was condemned by the UN Human Rights office, the African Union, the SADC and the ITUC:
- More than 80 people are reported to have lost their lives as a result of the police crackdown on protests, demanding democracy and living wages.
- Two members of parliament were arrested in 2021 and are in detention without trial.
- Scores of workers were injured after security forces’ fired of tear gas in a bus carrying protesters and those who tried to escape were shot with live bullets.
- Trade union leaders have been forced into exile following persistent persecution by security forces. Trade union gatherings and protest actions were banned in October 2021 despite a court order restraining the government to uplift the ban.
The trade unions in Eswatini are part of the broader Multi-Stakeholder Forum (MSF), a coalition of civil society organization that is demanding, through an inclusive national dialogue, a democratic state that respects citizens’ and trade union rights.
You are cordially requested to undertake any or all of the following activities:
- Send a protest letter to the Eswatini Prime Minister and copy the Eswatini Embassy in your country, or near you. A model letter is available here.
- Send a copy of the letter to your government and parliament requesting them to intervene in Eswatini.
- Organize a physical protest action at the Eswatini embassy in your country, take photos and post on social media.
- Conduct a press briefing expressing your disapproval of the conduct of the government of Eswatini.
- Post a social media campaign with hashtag #FreeEswatini, tag @EswatiniGovern1, @SADC-News, @_AfricanUnion, @achpr.org, @UNHumanRights.
As English is one of Eswatini’s official languages, you are encouraged to send the English version of the letter.
Kindly send a copy of the letter to firstname.lastname@example.org and the Trade Union Congress of Eswatini (TUCOSWA)’s email@example.com and tag us @ituc, @ituc_africa