eSwatini: Civilian killings must stop now

To the Government of Eswatini and the international community: We, the undersigned 69 civil society organisations, are deeply concerned about the eruption of state violence in Eswatini. We stand in solidarity with the people of Eswatini in condemning the government’s violent repression of mass protests demanding democracy and economic justice.

We support the UN Human Rights Commissioner’s call urging the authorities to fully adhere to human rights principles and reminding them that peaceful protests are protected under international human rights law. We call on the Government of Eswatini to immediately cease its brutal crackdown against civilians, restore and maintain internet access, and engage in inclusive dialogue with pro-democracy groups and politicians.

We call on the international community, including the United Nations, African Union, Southern African Development Community, and individual governments, to demand that the Government of Eswatini respect human rights, allow a thorough, independent investigation of who authorised violence against protesters, including shoot to kill orders, and support a peaceful transition to a democratic form of government.

Reports out of Eswatini indicate that, since late June, the army and police forces have killed dozens of unarmed civilians and injured around 1,000 people, including by shooting indiscriminately at and wounding protesters. The government has reportedly imprisoned hundreds of people, many of them young people, and shut down internet access across the country for several weeks, which Amnesty International calls “a brazen violation of the rights to freedom of expression and information.” Reports further indicate that security forces have sought to intimidate human rights defenders and activists with unlawful surveillance, imposed a curfew, and restricted public gatherings and petition deliveries to the government. This political crisis caused by state-sponsored violence risks creating a humanitarian crisis, as hospitals struggle to treat the influx of people injured by security forces, food and fuel supplies become limited, and people’s movement and ability to conduct basic commerce is restricted.

Specifically, we lend our support to the demands of civil society organisations, political organisations, and people’s movements within Eswatini calling for a long-term resolution to the current political crisis through an inclusive political dialogue, the total unbanning of political parties, a transitional authority, new democratic Constitution, and a multiparty democratic dispensation.In the immediate term, we join democracy defenders in Eswatini in the following demands, calling for action from the Government of Eswatini to cease violence, restore and maintain communications services, and provide urgently needed humanitarian support:

● The immediate cessation of the killing of civilians and the return of the army to the

● The immediate restoration of civic services such as the rapid issuing of death
certificates for those killed in the past days;

● Mandatory independent pathologists to conduct post-mortems on the deceased;

● Urgent humanitarian support to the affected families, workers and citizens who
need basic necessities such as food, sanitary towels, baby food, etc.

● The provision of direct financial support to resuscitate affected small and medium

● The full and permanent restoration of internet and communication services and
peoples’ right to freedom of expression; and

● The urgent availability of vaccines to all emaSwati and the end of unnecessary

As the Government of Eswatini, Africa’s only remaining absolute monarchy, violates the human rights of residents, suppresses freedom of speech and assembly, and jails young people for demanding a brighter future, the international community cannot remain silent.

We call on the government of Eswatini to immediately cease its brutal crackdown on civilians, to restore internet access, and engage in inclusive dialogue with pro-democracy groups and politicians.

Read more

  • Co-signatories

    AbibiNsroma Foundation
    Africa Coal Network
    Africa Institute for Energy Governance
    African Climate Reality Project
    Andy Gheorghiu Consulting
    Aotearoa New Zealand Human Rights
    Center for International Environmental Law
    Centre for Applied Legal Studies, University
    of Witwatersrand
    Centre for Citizens for Citizens Conserving
    Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre
    Clean Energy Action
    Climate Action Network InternationalCorporate Accountability And Public
    Participation Africa (CAPPA)
    DITSHWANELO - The Botswana Centre for
    Human Rights
    Earth Ethics, Inc.
    Earthlife Africa
    Economic and Social Justice Trust
    Environment Governance Institute
    ETC Group
    Empower our Future - Colorado
    Fair Finance International
    Food and Water Watch, USA
    Foundation for Environmental Management
    and Campaign Against Poverty (FEMAPO)
    Fridays For Future
    Fridays For Future Czech
    Fridays For Future Digital
    Fridays For Future MAPA
    Fridays For Future Sweden
    Fridays For Future Windhoek
    Friends of the Earth Africa
    Friends of the Earth US
    Fundación Quantum
    The Gaia Foundation
    GASP - Grand(m)others Act to Save the
    Generation Zero
    Global Initiative for Food Security and
    Ecosystem Preservation (GIFSEP)
    GoBio Waste Management and Renewable
    Health of Mother Earth Foundation
    The Human Rights Institute of South Africa
    Institute for Ecology and Natural Resources
    Institute for Policy Studies Climate Policy
    International Federation for Human Rights
    Jeunes Verts Togo
    Justiça Ambiental JA! - Friends of the Earth
    KAIROS Canadian Ecumenical Justice
    Keep a Cool World
    Lekeh Development Foundation
    Oil Change International
    Oilwatch Africa
    People’s Justice Council
    Power Shift Africa
    Rainforest Action Network
    South Durban Community Environmental
    Southern Africa Human Rights Defenders
    Southern Africa Litigation Centre
    The United Church of Canada - Church in
    We the People
    WoMin African Alliance
    Youth Advocates for Climate Action -
    Youth For Climate Turkey
    Youth for Environment and Sustainable
    Development (YSD)
    Youth for Green Communities
    350 Ghana Reducing Our Carbon

Take action