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STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:Rural Women’s Assembly  Statement on Current Wave of violence in Eswatini

Date 21 October 2021
Release: Immediately

The Rural Women’s Assembly is a self-organised, activist grass-roots movement based in ten countries across the SADC Region. Eswatini is one of our member countries. Over the last few weeks, we have been hearing alarming messages from our members in Eswatini, about the concerning rise in violence met out by the government against the protesters seeking clarity on police brutality and a call for democratic reform. We woke to the news that Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) has dispatched envoys to Eswatini where at least 29 people have been killed and many others injured in clashes between pro-democracy protesters and security forces since last week.  

The Rural Women’s Assembly of Southern Africa supports the envoys to Eswatini but calls for a parallel action, where civil movements also conduct a fact-finding mission in Eswatini, to bring the people of Eswatini a democratic process to vote for a Prime Minister. Further to this fact, we look keenly to see whether the envoy is in line with previous SADC interventions which are procedural but does not address the issues at hand. We want to see change, but we need to investigate whether SADC needs to be the body that steps in when their member states step out of line, instead of their being existing checks and balances that keeps member states in line, to begin with. We need more than just the promise of envoys.

RWA calls for the government to cease fire and stop killing innocent women and children in Eswatini. We need our sisters and their children to be safe and secure. We condemn the killing, hunting and haunting of citizens of Eswatini by Police and Soldiers. 

RWA further calls for a strategic moment across civil movements to manage a Political, Legal, Communications and Humanitarian strategy. This is a call to mobilise across our borders. A real crisis is looming in Eswatini- protests are happening at the time of COVID-19, food is running low, citizens are traumatised, schools remain closed. We need this to stop! 

Free Communication has also been cut off by the government, preventing communities from sharing the dire situation on the ground. This too must be addressed.

It is the time for our Eswatini comrades to stand firm as we swiftly share our support and solidarity for the revolution to unfold in Eswatini. We stand with you, Eswatini.

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