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CANGO CALLS FOR LAW REFORMS TO END ENDLESS EVICTIONS IN SWATINI

evictions must stop

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The Coordinating Assembly of Non-Governmental Organisations (CANGO) Governance and Human Rights Consortium notes with concern the eviction of over 60 residents of Embetseni, in Malkerns and has been informed by independent reports that the affected include women and children who were left homeless.



The Coordinating Assembly of Non-Governmental Organisations (CANGO) Governance and Human Rights Consortium notes with concern the eviction of over 60 residents of Embetseni, in Malkerns and has been informed by independent reports that the affected include women and children who were left homeless.
As a result, the families were unable to join the nation in celebrating the 50/50 Golden Jubilee.
We are aware that there is long standing dispute between the residents and land owners and that the eviction was carried out in terms of a High Court Order. Hence, we would not like to delve on the merits and demerits of the case but are focus on human rights concerns.
We have reason to believe the families are still left homeless and without further means of survival having to relive the stress that comes with being suddenly without shelter. CANGO would like to assure them of our sympathy and we are in solidarity in their situation. We cannot be indifferent. These are our brothers and sisters. Hence, by voicing out our concerns and advocating for a humanitarian approach to issues of land ownership versus land dwellers, we demonstrate Ubuntu.
The country’s Constitution which has a Bill of Rights seeks to protect the vulnerable against inhuman treatment. It provides for some form of compensation where relocation of people becomes the last resort.
We therefore implore the government to reform our current laws and enforce international standards in line with human rights values which would assist all persons who are in similar conditions to adjust than be entirely left out in the cold with no alternative means.
All States signatory to treaties are obliged to refrain from, and protect against, forced evictions from home(s) and land arises from several international legal instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (art. 11, para. 1), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (art. 27, para. 3), the non-discrimination provisions found in article 14, paragraph 2 (h), of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and article 5 (e) of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
In this regard, we urge the State to expedite passing the Farm Dwellers Control (Amendment) Bill into law now to ensure people who were evicted are compensated, treated with dignity and that they have alternative housing.
The land policy also has now been pending finalisation for many years and needs to be finalised in line with the Constitution.
In this light, we will support law reform activities which ensure the country’s compliance to international instruments the country is signatory to.
We are cognisant of the positive role played by traditional structures and duty-bearers including the Human Right Commission to help resolve inhuman treatment and degradation disputes.
We continue to call for an enabling legislation for the Human Rights/Integrity Commission not to be just an advocacy institution but be a statutory empowered agent with powers to restrain such degrading and inhuman treatment.
We also appeal that the government should proactively make an inventory on potential disputes so that efforts are made to allocate households alternative places where they can resettle in.
We as NGOs will also educate the population about existing laws and policies of the land in order to guard against unscrupulous individuals who illegally provide land to desperate Swazis and later abandon them to their fate where they are eventually evicted as it is the case at Madonsa.
These constant evictions will continue to erode the country’s image yet eSwatini is known to be a peaceful country if nothing is done.


Statement by
Emmanuel Ndlangamandla
Executive Director
CANGO

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