|October 14, 2011
1973 decree is alive, activists tell UN
Human rights stakeholders have informed the United Nations Human Rights Periodic Review team that the 1973 decree still exists and have called for its abolishment. The decree bans political parties, while the Constitution allows for the freedom of association and assembly.
This is contained in a report that is a summary of 12 stakeholders’ submissions to the UN’s Human Rights Council’s universal periodic review. The stakeholders include Amnesty International whose submission follows the structure of the general guidelines adopted by the Human Rights Council. The review is being conducted on Swaziland this month and also includes a detailed report from the Swaziland government in which it highlights its successes and challenges in upholding human rights in the country.
Under the topic of the Constitution and legislation, the stakeholders state that, as there was no legal instrument abolishing the 1973 decree after the adoption of the Constitution, then it still exists. "The Joint Submission one reported that the 1973 King’s Proclamation, which had been the supreme law for 33 years, was supposed to automatically fall away upon coming into force the 2005 Constitution, but should have been abolished by a legal instrument. JS1 stated that in practical terms the Proclamation still existed as there was indirectly heavy reliance on it by the government,” the report alleges. They reported that, while the freedom of association was protected by Section 26 of the Constitution, there was a contradiction with later provisions. The activists recommended that Swaziland abrogate the 1973 King’s Proclamation to the Nation and enact a law to facilitate the registration of political parties.
(Times of Swaziland)