Encourage an End to Government Violence Against the People of eSwatini

Encourage an End to Government Violence Against the People of eSwatini

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Anna Mac started this petition to US State Department and

eSwatini is a small country in southern Africa with a rich traditional heritage and claims the last monarchal government on the continent. It is currently ruled by King Mswati III. Although there is a parliament, the king has control over it and all government ministers.

In late June 2021, following a series of petitions made by several pro-democracy student groups demanding investigations into the suspicious death of a student activist, the current acting Prime Minister, Themba Masuku, declared petitions were no longer permitted as they encouraged division in the country. Following this decree, several groups organized protests across the country, requesting the right to submit petitions, and a constitutional referendum, which would make way for a democratic government elected by the people as well as put in place accountability measures for the king and other members of government. These have been met with firm and often violent responses from eSwatini's military and police. There are reports of dozens of demonstrators being killed, as well as people kidnapped from their homes by security forces. Additionally, access to the internet has been strictly limited with repeated total shutdowns of the nation's networks per government order. 

eSwatini receives significant aid from the US Government and its people. There is a good diplomatic relationship between the two countries, and many American aid workers call the country home. We ask that the US Government (specifically the US State Department, the offices of the President and Vice-President, and the US ambassador to eSwatini, Jeanne M. Maloney) encourage the government of eSwatini to respond peacefully to protestors, and refrain from using excessive violence against them and other residents of the country. On July 1, the U.S., E.U., and U.K. issued a joint statement condemning the violence, however, a public statement from high-ranking politicians in the USA would offer additional significant support to the plight of the Swazi people. 

As Americans, we recognize freedom of speech and freedom to participate in our own governance as basic human rights. We understand how terrible it is when the police are used as a weapon to terrorize the citizenry. With that understanding, we request that the US recognizes and supports the people of eSwatini as they navigate their path to the future and urge King Mswati, his cabinet, and ministers to respond peacefully with the people and cease all violent responses. 

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