The land-locked Kingdom of Swaziland has a population of just 1.1 million. This small country is often overlooked despite the denial of democracy, rights and enduring Africa’s longest running state of emergency since 1973.
Democracy and rights in Swaziland
The people of Swaziland suffer from extreme poverty (almost two thirds of the population live on less than $2 a day). It has the highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the world at 26 per cent. Swaziland is Africa's only autocratic absolute monarchy. Political parties are banned, political and civic activists are imprisoned, and the judiciary, media and other authoritative bodies are controlled by the monarchy.
You can find out more about the situation in Swaziland in ACTSA's briefing paper, which examines the country's history, political situation, human and labour rights and the HIV/AIDS crisis.
Democracy and human rights in Swaziland
ACTSA works to increase awareness of the situation in Swaziland, calling for democracy and the respect of human rights.
Working with a wide range of civil society organisations in Swaziland, we highlight the denial of democracy and human rights abuses to decision makers in the UK, Commonwealth and European Union, and encourage them to take action. We also support actions and initiatives in southern Africa which help bring about democracy and rights for Swaziland.
NUS National Conference 2013: Maxwell Dlamini
Maxwell Dlamini was until recently President of the Swaziland National Union of Students. In April 2011, he and fellow activist Musa Ngubeni were arrested on charges of possession of explosives under Sections 8 and 9 of Swaziland’s Explosives Act 4 of 1961.They were both allegedly tortured and were subsequently refused bail. They were imprisoned at the Manzini Remand Centre.
Maxwell Dlamini and Musa Ngubeni were granted bail on 20 December 2011. Bail was set at 50 000 Rand, by far the highest bail ever in the history of Swazi law.
ACTSA, NUS and Danish NGO Africa Contact have campaigned for Maxwell and Musa's release.
Here Maxwell addresses the British National Union of Students Conference in Sheffield, in April 2013.