Swazi PM to recieve human rights award

As the regime in Swaziland in general, and Swaziland’s Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini in particular, are symbols of Human Rights violations in word as well as in deed, it was very surprising to read that Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini is to receive the World Citizen Award 2010 for his ‘exemplary contributions to peace and human rights’. Especially as Barnabas Dlamini recently openly pronounced and defended that the regime would torture ‘dissidents’ and ‘meddling’ foreigners.

Perhaps the award is a even more surprising when one discovers who the people behind the World Citizen Award really are. Some of the board of directors should surely know better than to give a human rights-related award to Barnabas Dlamini. President Robert Rotberg has written the aptly named ‘Worst of the worst: Dealing with Repressive and Rogue Nations‘, and another of the members of the board, Peter D. Bell, is both a former president of Care USA and a former member of the board of Human Rights Watch.

Danish Organisation Africa Contact, amongst others, has sent a letter to the international headquarters of the World Citizen Awards in the Bahamas where they ask them not to give the award to Barnabas Dlamini:

“Dear Sir or Madam, We at Africa Contact were so surprised to read today that the World Citizen Award was to be given to Swazi Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini for his ‘exemplary contributions to peace and human rights’ that we first thought it a joke. As this is apparently not the case, we would like to urge you to reconsider. Swaziland in general, and Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini in particular, have a dismal record on Human Rights and political freedom as documented by organisations such as Amnesty International and Freedom House. Democracy advocates in Swaziland have been tortured for holding peaceful demonstrations and demanding a democracy that you and I take for granted, and Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini has not only encouraged this, but has even recently said that his government would consider using ‘Sipakatane‘, a form of torture used by the Portuguese colonial regime in Mozambique, to punish ‘dissidents’ and foreigners who come into the country to ‘disturb the peace’.

It should therefore be blatantly obvious that Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini does not deserve to receive your prize.

We will contact former recipients of the prize to hear of their opinion of this years recipient of the World Citizen Awards.”

Africa Contact has also emailed all members of the board of World Citizen Awards to inform them of their misgivings concerning this award, as well as to give them the opportunity to explain themselves.

Links:

Protest against Swazi PM award, Swazi Media Commentary, 27 September 2010

PM to get world citizen award of excellence, Times of Swaziland, 27 September 2010 (below article ‘I raped Senzo….’)

Anger at PM’s human rights award, Swazi Media Commentary, 27 September 2010

Swazi PM gets human rights medal, Swazi Media Commentary, 25 September 2010

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