ITF disturbed over continued human rights abuses in Swaziland

April 9, 2014

The International Transport Workers’ Federation is disturbed to hear that less than 48 hours after charges were dropped against two human rights’ defenders in Swaziland, fresh warrants have been issued for their arrests.

Following a high court order, Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) lawyer Thulani Maseko and The Nation Magazine editor Bheki Makhubu were released earlier this week after spending 20 days in jail. But an appeal has now been noted against that ruling.

Acting general secretary of the ITF Steve Cotton said: “We saw this decision from the high court as a first step in ensuring that the bill of rights, which guarantees freedom of expression in Swaziland, is implemented. Now it looks as if the determination to undermine fundamental human and labour rights continues in the country.

“This raises fresh concerns for the ITF over the case of Basil Thwala, legal advisor to the Swaziland Transport and Allied Workers’ Union, who is currently serving an unjust two year jail term as a result of his trade union activities. We have written to the prime minister and last month sent an international delegation to Swaziland as part of our investigation into labour rights abuses in the country. We believe that there needs to be an urgent review of Basil’s case and international intervention to guarantee the freedoms of Maseko and Makhubu.”

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