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Swaziland's communists welcome UN's condemnation of King Mswati III's oppression of student protest

The party calls for the monarch to be charged with crimes against humanity

THE Communist Party of Swaziland welcomed a UN statement condemning excessive use of force by the security services today — calling for King Mswati III to be charged with crimes against humanity.

“Mswati III, as the military’s commander in chief, is directly responsible for the death of over 70 people, the wounding and maiming of hundreds, and the arrest of close to 700 protesters since June this year,” the party said.

“These attacks on an unarmed population flowed from direct commands issued by the absolute monarch.”

UN general secretary Antonio Guterres expressed concern on Monday over the deployment of the military to deal with student protests which have seen schools close, with soldiers storming campuses across the country.

He said the regime must allow the people of Swaziland to exercise their civil and political rights, calling for restraint on behalf of the security services which must adhere to international human rights standards.

But the party warned that “the relationship between oppressor and oppressed is not an equal one” with the military opening fire on unarmed democracy protests.

“Many young people have been dragged out from their homes and heavily brutalised by the military, some even thrown into raging fires,” the communists said.

Youth-led demonstrations have swept the country since the summer, demanding the legalisation of political parties and sweeping democratic changes, including the resignation of Swaziland’s absolute monarch.

The party says the African Union and Southern African Development Community (SADC) have remained silent on its calls for democracy and atrocities carried out by the regime.

It has called on them to speak out against the violence.

“They bear the duty to force the Mswati autocracy to adhere to international human rights law as signatories to the founding charters of both bodies,” the party said.

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