British Foreign Office to reproach Swaziland over mistreatment of British citizen
September 17, 2010 2 Comments
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 British Foreign Office says in a mail.
Pind vil ikke åbent fordømme vold mod danskere i Swaziland, Modkraft, 21 October 2010
Fury at UK national’s harassment, Swazi Media Commentary, 17 September 2010