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Detention of Khulumani Board Member Paul Verryn and fellow panellists in Swaziland on the 45th Anniversary of its Independence

Reverend Paul Verryn, Khulumani Board Member and his colleagues on the Global Inquiry Panel of Experts, were detained for questioning after Swazi police led by Manzini Regional Police Commander surrounded the hotel where the proceedings of the panel were underway on Friday 6 September 2013 and ordered that the inquiry stop. 

The inquiry had been convened to hear testimony from Swazi workers about the continuing violation of labour rights.

This was an unfortunate way to commemorate Swaziland's 45th Independence Day and confirmed the suppression of democracy by its political elite dating back to 1973 when political parties were banned and Parliament was stripped of its powers leading to a crushing of debate and severe penalties for all who dare to have a view contrary to those of the ruling elite.

COSATU has raised concerns about the lack of democracy and human rights in Swaziland, but the South african government has remained mute on these issues.

Former Minister Jay Naidoo was part of the panel and reported the events on his website:

Last week’s events in Swaziland reminded me of the old days, under apartheid. Roadblocks, run-ins with security police, banned meetings, workers’ voices and rights being suppressed. The social media and the immediate response of the print-, radio- and television news media  showed the value of the media as a tool to have the voices of the otherwise unheard, heard.

Now that the international community has been alerted to the disturbing circumstances prevailing in Swaziland and I am safely back home, we should not forget that ordinary worker’s have remained behind and their difficulties continue.

- Jay Naidoo

Follow this link to view some of the media that covered the events of the 6th and the 7th September 2013 in Swaziland. Articles, podcasts and video.

The Daily Maverick published an article on the actions of the Swazi authorities in stopping debates about Swaziland's human rights record:

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