The widespread occurrence of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in Swaziland requires prompt action to enact the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Bill, says the ICJ in a report released today.
The ICJ’s report found that discriminatory practices based on customary laws and traditional beliefs undermine equality between men and women and contribute to an environment in which SGBV is at crisis point in the country.
“As the Senate of Swaziland deliberates over the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Bill, it must recall that enactment of the Bill is an essential step in complying with recommendations of the UN Human Rights Committee and CEDAW Committee and as a means of discharging the commitments made by His Majesty’s Government during the 2016 Universal Periodic Review,” said Arnold Tsunga, Director of the ICJ Africa Regional Programme.
In earlier submissions to the Senate of Swaziland, the ICJ noted that enactment of the Bill is a matter required of the Kingdom of Swaziland pursuant to its international human rights law obligations, including those arising from the Africa region, to criminalize and sanction the perpetrators of SGBV.
His Majesty’s Vision 2022, the aims and targets of the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office and Swaziland’s consensus in the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development reinforce compliance with those obligations.
The Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Bill 2015, first drafted over ten years ago, has still not been passed into law, including because there is a perception that some of its provisions will infringe Swazi law and custom.
“Legislative and policy reform is needed as is the enhanced technical capacity and commitment of justice actors and policy makers to combat domestic and sexual violence,” Tsunga added.
Arnold Tsunga, Director, ICJ Africa Regional Programme, t: +22.214.171.12411; e: arnold.tsunga(a)icj.org
Alex Conte, ICJ Global Redress and Accountability Initiative, t: +41.79.957.2733; e: alex.conte(a)icj.org
Swaziland-GRABaselineStudy-Publications-Reports-Thematic reports-2018-ENG (full report in PDF)
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