The United Nations (UN) has said it will continue engaging stakeholders to resolve the ongoing civil unrest in the Kingdom of eSwatini. Since June this year, there has been series of unrests in Eswatini as members of the public demanded democracy from the government.
STATEMENT ON ONGOING UNREST IN THE KINGDOM OF ESWATINI 14 OCTOBER 2021
- The United Nations in Eswatini has been monitoring the civil unrest in the Kingdom of Eswatini since June 2021 and engaging with the Government and all actors to restore calm and order; and pave the way for the convening of a broad, inclusive, and meaningful dialogue aimed at addressing all grievances.
- The United Nations in Eswatini is particularly concerned by the latest developments in the country, with the involvement of the youth and school children, and public transport workers, in the protests. The United Nations in Eswatini has noted with concern scenes of children taking to the streets to air grievances of various nature; the burning of schools and school equipment in different parts of the Kingdom of Eswatini; the violent reaction of some elements of the country’s security forces that has resulted in, reportedly, arrests and injuries sustained by unarmed civilians, including children.
- The United Nations in Eswatini wishes to remind all parties that the right to education is one of the most important rights that shapes the future of a nation. Children of Eswatini, like others around the world, have lost precious time as a result of COVID-19. As the pandemic eases, learners must safely return to schools and places of learning with the full protection and support of parents, teachers, the Government, and development partners.
- Learners must be assured that schools are safe sanctuaries for learning and developmental growth. As such, the United Nations encourages all parties to ensure the safe and unimpeded return of learners and teachers to places of learning.
- The United Nations also wishes to remind the Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini of its obligations under the laws and several Conventions – including the 2012 Children’s Protection and Welfare Act, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – to protect children in all circumstances. The United Nations in Eswatini strongly condemns the deployment of the police or the army to schools; the use of force by security forces against children and unarmed civilians; legal processes involving minors without the presence of guardians or social workers; and any violation of human rights in the ongoing protests in Eswatini.
- The United Nations calls upon all stakeholders including the Government, political activists, and leaders, as well as protesters to exercise utmost restraint and restore an environment that is conducive for an Emaswati- led and Emaswati-owned dialogue.
- The United Nations, in close collaboration with regional and international organizations, and development partners, will continue to engage with the Government and all stakeholders to support a peaceful resolution of the current tensions.
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