UN rights chief condemns murder of activist in Eswatini


CAPE TOWN, South Africa (TBEN) — United Nations human rights chief Volker Türk on Monday condemned the “brutal murder” of a leading pro-democracy activist in the South African nation of Eswatini, one of the few remaining absolute monarchies in the world.

Human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko was shot in his home on Saturday, Türk said in a statement.

He called on the Eswatini authorities to ensure an independent and effective investigation into the murder.

ALSO READ  How the US is boosting military alliances to counter China

Maseko was a leading figure in Eswatini’s move to multi-party democracy. He was imprisoned in 2014 for allegedly criticizing the lack of independence of the judiciary, according to the UN. He was acquitted on appeal and released a year later.

Formerly known as Swaziland, Eswatini is a country of just over 1 million inhabitants bordering South Africa and Mozambique. It is Africa’s last remaining absolute monarchy and has been ruled by King Mswati III since 1986.

ALSO READ  UN envoy encouraged by intensified efforts to end war in Yemen

The country was engulfed in pro-democracy protests two years ago, when there were reports of state violence against demonstrators and King Mswati III was accused of suppressing any opposition.

Amnesty International said it believed Maseko was killed because of his work as a human rights lawyer and also called for a proper investigation. Maseko was reportedly shot twice through the window of his home, Amnesty said.

ALSO READ  UNESCO is trying to prevent trade in looted Ukrainian art

At the time of his death, Maseko was working as a lawyer for two people on trial for crimes allegedly committed during the 2021 unrest, the UN said.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here