Eswatini: Education International calls for democracy, freedom of association and respect for human rights

published 7 July 2021 updated 18 August 2021

Education International, the global federation representing 32.5 million teachers and education support personnel in 178 countries, including Eswatini, is seriously concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in the country, which has resulted in hundreds of deaths, abductions, and disappearances.

The people of Eswatini, formerly Swaziland, are demanding political freedom and full democracy through the massive delivery of petitions in 59 constituencies. EI strongly condemns the deployment of the police and army to crack down on the protests, as close to 100 protesters have been shot dead and over 200, including 5 teachers, admitted to hospital with serious injuries.

Education International supports the leaders and members of its affiliate, the Swaziland National Association of Teachers, in their efforts to promote peace and democracy and defend teacher professionalism and quality public education.

EI calls upon the Eswatini Government to withdraw charges against all peaceful protesters. The citizens of Eswatini have the right to be heard and deserve a smooth transition of power from the current dictatorship to a full democracy.

Education International also urges the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Organ for Politics, Defence and Security to immediately involve civil society and education workers in its negotiations with the Government of Eswatini to implement the necessary reforms that would enable the country’s citizens to enjoy fundamental freedoms and rights, including freedom of movement, association and expression.