Tuesday, December 12, 2017

‘ARMY SEXUAL ASSAULTS AT BORDER POSTS’



Soldiers in Swaziland have once again been accused of sexually assaulting women at the kingdom’s border posts.

The latest accusation also says they are charging people to cross at informal border crossings into South Africa.

The Observer on Saturday reported (9 December 2017), ‘The army troops have been accused by women of abusing their powers by touching them inappropriately as they lay their hands on their buttocks just to allow to cross either to South Africa or into Swaziland. 

‘Some women when being searched for illegal goods alleged that they are touched almost everywhere by the male army officers and these informal crossings.’

The newspaper said the inappropriate behaviour takes place ‘almost every day’ around the Ngwenya informal crossing. 

A spokesperson for the Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force (the official name for the Swaziland army) denied the allegations.

This was the latest in a number of recent reports of Army misbehaviour at borders. 

In July 2017 soldiers reportedly forced a bus-load of passengers to strip naked after it crossed the Mhlumeni Border Gate into Mozambique. Local media reported it happens all the time. 

The Times of Swaziland, the kingdom’s only independent daily newspaper, reported they were ordered to strip ‘stark naked’ as part of a ‘routine body search’. The newspaper said the passengers had been on vacation in Mozambique.

In June 2017 it was reported women at the informal crossing situated next to the Mananga Border Gate with South Africa were made to remove their underwear so soldiers could inspect their private parts with a mirror. The Swazi Army said it happened all the time.

Soldiers were said to be searching for ‘illegal objects’ using a mirror similar to that used to inspect the underside of cars.


See also 

ARMY STRIPS BUS PASSENGERS NAKED

SOLDIERS INSPECT WOMAN’S PRIVATE PARTS

ARMY UNREPENTANT ON STRIP SEARCH

Monday, December 11, 2017

LGBTI SWAZIS FACE DAILY ABUSE



LGBTI people in Swaziland are subjected to abuse in their daily lives and from police and medical workers, a meeting on human rights in the kingdom was told.

Lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender and intersex people are also harassed and stigmatised and some are denied educational scholarships because of their sexual orientation.

Pitty Dludlu, a member of the LGBTI community, said this during the annual Joshua Mzizi Memorial Lecture held in Ezulwini.

The Observer on Saturday newspaper reported (9 December 2017), ‘Dludlu appealed to the nation to embrace all individuals in their own skin than to label them with numerous name tags. Dludlu further said as a minority group in Swaziland they face a number of issues that include access to health care without the stigma and prejudice they are subjected to.’

The newspaper added, ‘Dludlu further decried the service they are subjected to in the hands of the police and health care workers as the worse abusers of the LGBTI community. The abusive situation is worse at the bus terminal station to the LGBTI community. 

‘Other challenges are that they are denied scholarship due to their sexual orientation. Dludlu further pointed that “qualified transgender community are unemployed as they are told point blank that there is no need to proceed with an interview once they see their sexual orientation and told embarrassingly that they don’t hire such people”’. 

There is a long history of discrimination against LGBTI people. In May 2016, Rock of Hope, which campaigns for LGBTI equality in Swaziland, reported to the United Nations Universal Periodic Review on Swaziland that laws, social stigma and prejudice prevented LGBTI organisations from operating freely.

The report, presented jointly with three South African-based organisations, stated, ‘In Swaziland sexual health rights of LGBTI are not protected. There is inequality in the access to general health care, gender affirming health care as opposed to sex affirming health care and sexual reproductive health care and rights of these persons. HIV prevention, testing, treatment and care services continue to be hetero-normative in nature only providing for specific care for men born as male and women born as female, thereby leaving out trans men and women as an unprotected population which continues to render the state’s efforts at addressing the spread and incidence of HIV within general society futile.’

The report added, ‘LGBTIs are discriminated and condemned openly by society. This is manifest in negative statements uttered by influential people in society e.g., religious, traditional and political leaders. Traditionalists and conservative Christians view LGBTIs as against Swazi tradition and religion. There have been several incidents where traditionalists and religious leaders have issued negative statements about lesbians.   

‘Human rights abuses and violations against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex population continue to go undocumented, unreported, unprosecuted and not addressed.’

It added, ‘There is no legislation recognizing LGBTIs or protecting the right to a non-heterosexual orientation and gender identity and as a result LGBTI cannot be open about their orientation or gender identity for fear of rejection and discrimination. For example, the Marriage Act, only recognizes a marriage or a union between a man and a woman. Because of the absence of a law allowing homosexuals to conclude neither marriage nor civil unions, same-sex partners cannot adopt children in Swaziland.’

The report made seven recommendations to the Swazi Government, including to review laws that undermine LGBTI persons’ rights in particular and human rights in general especially as they conflict with the Constitution; and to ensure prosecution of State agents who commit human rights violations against LGBTI individuals and their organizations.   

HOOP (House of Our Pride), a support group for LGBTI people, reported to the United Nation in 2011, ‘It is a common scene for LGBTI to be verbally insulted by by-passers in public places. [There is] defamatory name calling and people yelling out to see a LGBTI person’s reproductive part are some of the issues facing LGBTI in Swaziland.’

See also

SENATE SNUBS LGBTI HEALTH REPORT

LESBIAN AND GAY MURDERS IN SWAZILAND
           
SWAZI MINISTER LIES TO UN ON GAYS

GAY PREJUDICE RIFE IN SWAZILAND

COMMUNITY POLICE BANISH GAY MEN

Sunday, December 10, 2017

8 IN 10 SWAZI ELDERLY ARE IN POVERTY



More than 80 percent of women aged 60 and over and 70 percent of men in Swaziland live in poverty, according to a new report.

This comes at a time when the Swazi Government has run out of money and cannot pay elderly grants (pensions) to all people in that age group.

The figures are contained in the National Strategy and Action Plan to End Violence in Swaziland: 2017 to 2022.

About seven in ten of Swaziland’s 1.3 million population live in abject poverty defined as having incomes less than the equivalent of US$2 per day. The report said poverty among people aged 60 or over was highest compared to other age groups.

The Swazi Observer newspaper on Thursday (7 December 2017) quoted the report, ‘Whilst the elderly are now receiving social grants, they continue to be subjected to other forms of abuse as they are neglected by family members, abused physically and emotionally within society.’

The findings come as the Swazi Government which is not elected by the people but handpicked by King Mswati III who rules as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch said it could not afford to pay elderly grants to people who reached the age of 60 this year. About 4,000 people are affected.

A media report in Swaziland estimated that the government needed about an extra E20 million (US$1.4 million) to pay for the new pensioners and another E40 million to meet a shortfall to pay the existing 66,000 people already receiving the pensions.

The Government said it had no budget to pay the new pensions. It has a budget of E282 million for the elderly, but with the reviewed monthly grant, rising from E220 to E400 has meant that this budget became insufficient, the Observer on Saturday reported in November 2017.

Although the government did not provide sufficiently for the elderly in its 2017 budget it did increase spending on the Swaziland Royal Household by E200 million (US$14 million) to E1.3 billion. The increase was ten times the amount needed to pay for the new elderly grants.

King Mswati lives a lavish lifestyle, with at least 13 palaces, fleets of top-of-the-range Mercedes Benz and BMW cars and at least one Rolls Royce. He has a private jet airplane and is soon to get a second.

See also

SWAZI KING’S BUDGET INCREASES US$14 MILLION

BUDGET NEGLECTS ELDERLY, FAVOURS PM

ELDERLY STAY POOR AS KING GETS MORE

ELDERLY UNPAID AS CASH GOES TO SOCCER