SADC leaders under fire for rights violationsfrom SABELO LUKHELE in Mbabane, Swaziland
MBABANE, (CAJ News) – THE Southern African Development Community (SADC) heads of state summit has ended in Swaziland amid the condemnation of human rights violations by governments in the region.
This is jeopardizing the region’s status as the most stable in the continent.
The summit has been held in the capital Mbabane on the back of escalating repression and disregard for basic rights characterized several SADC countries over the past year.
Ironically, the host country, which takes over as SADC chair for the next 12 months, is beset by human rights abuses.
The government has imposed restrictions on political activism and trade unions.
Activists and union members are subjected to arbitrary detention and unfair trials.
However, the violent protests in Zimbabwe dominated the sidelines of the SADC summit.
The government of President Robert Mugabe (92) has disregarded the rights provisions in the country’s new constitution, neither enacting laws to putvthe new constitution into effect, nor amending existing laws to bring them in line with the constitution and Zimbabwe’s obligations under regional and international human rights conventions.
The veteran leader is under pressure to quit, with his country besieged bycprotests his partisan police force has brutally quashed.
Human Rights Watch said the concerns in Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Swaziland, South Africa, and Zimbabwe should get particular attention.
In South Africa, the rights group highlighted the relentless protests against government, which peaked during preparations for elections held at the beginning of August.
“SADC member countries have identified peace, security, and the promotion of human rights as key concerns within the region, but the individual countries need to take steps to ensure respect for human rights and the
rule of law.”
– CAJ News
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