The International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY) passed a resolution at its 31st world congress that called for a process that would unban political parties, remove repressive legislation and introduce multi-party democracy in Swaziland.
The resolution, passed on Saturday, also called for an end to the systematic harassment, intimidation and incarceration of political activists and the unconditional release of political prisoners and return of exiles, as well as for the isolation of Swaziland until these demands are met.
The IUSY is an international youth organisation with UN ECOSOC consultative status. It has 134 member organisations in over 80 countries, including the youth league of banned pro-democracy party PUDEMO, the Swaziland Youth Congress (SWAYOCO).
SWAYOCO President Bheki Dlamini, who attended the IUSY congress in Tirana, Albania, and was elected into the IUSY Presidium as Vice President, saw the resolution and his election as a positive step forward for the struggle for freedom and democracy in Swaziland.
“This shows that our struggle is a just struggle. My election must inspire the youth of Swaziland to stand up for democracy, and I shall use every space to champion the cause of the Swazi people and all oppressed people in the world”, he said.
“The resolution calls for the isolation of the regime and pressure must therefore continue to mount. The USA started with the withdrawal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act in regard to Swaziland. The next step is that the EU that must ensure that Swaziland is not given preferential trade with the EU until Swaziland respects human rights and allows political freedoms”.
Several former IUSY leaders have gone on to hold office in their respective countries, including former IUSY Secretary General Per Hækkerup, who served as Minister of Foreign Affairs in Denmark in the sixties; former IUSY President Fikile Mbalula, who is the current Minister of Sport and Recreation in South Africa; and former President Jacinda Ardern, who is an MP and member of the Shadow Cabinet in New Zealand.
* Peter Kenworthy is a journalist with the Danish organisation, Afrika Kontakt.