The Human Rights and Governance Consortium under the auspice of CANGO is shocked and expresses concern at the alleged brutalisation of incarcerated Members of Parliament who were invaded and assaulted in their cells by warders of His Majesty’s Correctional Service (HMCS) warders covered in balaclavas. We recall a few years ago that the public was notified that the institution was in transition from being a force to a service. Therefore, this is a low point for the Correctional Services institution because incarcerated people are human and have rights that the state has obligations to protect.
We also note that this unfortunate situation has occurred at a time the United Nations (UN) is hosting heads of state and governments who are all claiming to be guided by the UN Charter and values. These values are not in line with the HMCS allegations of brutalisation of inmates. This is not in line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which consists of 30 Articles, of which Article 5 states “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”. Eswatini is signatory to various human rights legal instruments internationally and continentally. Some of these instruments have been domesticated through the countrys 2005 Constitution.
A disappointing factor which generates discontent among the population, is that the Hon MPs have not been convicted of any crime. It is hard not to draw the conclusion that they were denied bail so that they can be tortured. This kind of treatment is reminiscent of the Apartheid regime and other repressive governments.
As human rights defenders, we cannot be silent in the midst of human rights violations. Furthermore, we are still concerned that the TUCOSWA led protest on socio economic matters as permitted in law, was denied. This posture by the government is noted by investors globally.
This action makes it clear that in this country, being elected into Parliament by the people may cost one’s life because in this system, an MP should not serve the voters interests but that of the elite.