European Union External Action

Communities need to play leading role in human rights advocacy – EU Ambassador

09/12/2019 - 09:46
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Hundreds turned up for the Human Rights Fair held on 06 December 2019 at Jubilee Park in Manzini as part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence as well as commemorating the International Human Rights Day 2019.

The event also marked the end of the RIGHTS4ALL project, funded by the European Union, which has been implemented for the last two years by three organisations – the Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC), Italian NGO, COSPE and the Foundation for Socio Economic Justice (FSEJ).

Addressing the gathering, EU Ambassador to Eswatini, Esmeralda Hernandez Aragones, thanked the organisers for a successful project which she said has raised the necessary awareness around human rights issues in Eswatini.

However, the Ambassador said the end of the project did not mean the end of the campaign for the human rights for all in the country.

She said human rights can only be realised through community mobilisation. As such, she said communities should always be in the forefront in advocating for the protection and promotion of human rights, particularly rights for women and girls.

The Ambassador also hoped that the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence (SODV) Act passed in 2018 will help fight sexual offences and gender-based violence which she said was prevalent in the country.

The Ambassador was accompanied to the event by Jan Vejmelka, the EEAS Desk Officer in Brussels responsible for Eswatini and Mozambique. Vejmelka was in Eswatini on a two-day familiarisation tour.

The RIGHTS4ALL project itself had four components. The first component focused on 'My Body My Rights' campaign which advocated for the enactment of the SODV Act, campaigned against sexual discrimination and further raised awareness around the SODV Act after its promulgation in 2018.

The second component of the project focused on the economic and social rights for citizens. This campaign called for an all-inclusive national budget formulation so as to ensure a budget that improves lives across the board.

The third component focused on civil and political rights and campaigned for the repeal of all laws that restricted freedom of assembly and association. This cluster also called for legislation that allows for the formulation and registration of political parties in Eswatini.

The fourth and last composed focused on the youth and children and campaigned for the registration of all children in Eswatini under the campaign banner – 'Count Me In'.

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