British Foreign Office to reproach Swaziland over mistreatment of British citizen

According to a representative of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the FCO will be “making representations” towards the Swazi regime over the “mistreatment” of a British foreign national during the Global Week of Action in Swaziland.

“The Foreign and Commonwealth Office takes all allegations of mistreatment against British nationals very seriously and will raise the allegations with the relevant authority in the country concerned,” the representative wrote on 16 September in a reply to an email sent to them raising the issues of the mistreatment of a British citizen on 7 September in Manzini.

A delegation from Danish organisation Africa Contact, including two Danish citizens and one British, Peter Kenworthy, were detained by police, beaten, threatened, and denied any legal representation, food, drink, or visits to the toilet during a five hour ordeal at Manzini Regional Police Headquarters.

The representative also stated that they would ask “our High Commission in Pretoria to raise the allegations with the Swaziland authorities”, and insisted that they would “ask for an investigation to be conducted and the perpetrator(s) brought to justice”. Finally, the FCO representative mentioned that the British High Commission in Swaziland “may contact the Danish Embassy in Pretoria to inform them of our intention to raise the allegations.”

UPDATE: 13 October 2010

According to the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, “a standard format of a diplomatic letter” has been sent to the Swazi regime, including the statement of the allegations made against its police forces as well as a “request for the allegations to be investigated and the results of the investigation to be conveyed to the BHC [British High Commission]”. An official response has not been received as of yet.

UPDATE: 7 December 2010

The British High Commission in Pretoria has not received a response to its diplomatic note, sent to the Swaziland authorities raising the issue of the “mistreatment” of Peter Kenworthy. According to a representative of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, they would usually now send “a follow-up note repeating our request”. Since an official from the High Commission is scheduled to visit Swaziland in January, however, the representative said that they “will instead raise the allegations directly with Swazi government officials in January”.

UPDATE: 2 February 2011

Diplomacy can sometimes be a arduous matter. According to a representative from the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, there was “no response” to their questions regarding the “mistreatment” of  the British foreign national during their visit to Swaziland in January.

“Unfortunately, there was no response to our initial letter raising your allegations. My colleague again raised them again during a visit to Swaziland in January, but still no response. Another diplomatic note will be sent repeating our request for an investigation in to your allegations.”

UPDATE: 17 February 2012

After a time-span of a year without news about the case, a Desk Officer at the British Foreign Office stressed that “we are continuing to press the Swaziland authorities to investigate [the] case. We have stressed that we do take such allegations very seriously and will continue to make the necessary representations.”

UPDATE: 26 September 2013

After another year-and-a-half, the British Foreign Office have said they “continue to raise [my case] with the Swaziland authorities but unfortunately are yet to receive a response. The British High Commissioner to Swaziland (based in Pretoria) recently discussed your case during a meeting with the Acting Foreign Minister on 15th August  who was handed our previous communication and agreed to consult the Foreign Minister.”

UPDATE: 4 May 2016

“On reviewing your case with regard to your mistreatment whilst in Swaziland in 2010 I note that although your case has been raised on many occasions, as recently as 2015, we have to-date had no new information on the investigation”, the Foreign Office says in a mail.

UPDATE: 21 December 2017

“Your case is still open with us, and I am emailing following a regular review of your case between those in country and our teams in London, including specialist legal advisors. As I understand, the last time you were in contact with us was in May 2016. Since then, we issued a further Note Verbale (NV) in December 2016 to the Swaziland authorities to follow-up on the previous communications with the authorities . Regrettably, we have not received a response to the NV.  You may be aware waiting for a response can be extremely slow. If you wish, we are of course willing to continue to raise this issue with a further NV to the Swaziland authorities. However, this unfortunately does not guarantee the response or action you may be looking for. It’s important for me to be realistic with you about our limitations of influencing Swaziland authorities in this matter to help inform you decision whether to proceed further,” the Foreign Office wrote in a mail.


2 Responses to British Foreign Office to reproach Swaziland over mistreatment of British citizen

  1. Pingback: Danish Minister for Development Cooperation concerned about the political development in Swaziland « Stiff Kitten's Blog – development & socio-political issues

  2. Pingback: This is Swaziland – an eyewitness account of the brutality of the Swazi police « Stiff Kitten's Blog – development & socio-political issues

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