Swaziland

Mswati III has backed off on an earlier proclamation limiting rights. "That such an inward-looking, diehard government can respond in this way underscores how influential the liberal democratic value system has become in the world."

Amnesty International is gravely concerned over the threat posed for human rights in Swaziland by the recently issued law, Decree No.2. The Decree, issued by the Head of State, King Mswati III, on 22 June 2001 further restricts the exercise of fundamental rights that had already been hampered by the longstanding suspension of the country's constitution and bill of rights.

The Royal Decree of 22 June 2001, which allows banning of publications without appeal, denies bail for an unlimited range of offences and raises the penalties for defamation, is a further reminder of official hostility towards the independent media and critical voices. A new report from ARTICLE 19, the Global Campaign for Free Expression, calls for urgent reform to guarantee fundamental human rights. The report will be launched at the annual meeting of MISA Swaziland, on 30 June 2001.

The Government of Swaziland has banned the print version of the "Guardian" newspaper from circulating in the country, in the wake of the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration. The newspaper has been blamed for not fulfilling all the requirements under the country's media laws, though the paper has indeed met all of the requirements. The Nation magazine has been banned as well.

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