Handelsministeren: okay at danske firmaer ulovligt opererer i Vestsahara

”Regeringen modsætter sig … ikke, at danske firmaer opererer i områder som Vestsahara”, siger Handels- og Investeringsminister Pia Olsen Dyhr (SF) i et svar på et brev fra solidaritetsbevægelsen Afrika Kontakt.

Pia Olsen Dyhr skriver desuden i brevet, at Danmark anerkender Marokkos jurisdiktion over Vestsahara. ”På linie med EU og en række andre lande anerkender Danmark, at Marokko udøver jurisdiktion over [Vestsahara], men ikke Marokkansk overhøjhed”.

Disse udtalelser er dog ikke i overensstemmelse med international lov.  Ifølge denne, har Marokko, som ulovligt har holdt Vestsahara besat siden 1975,  ikke ret til at sælge Vestsaharas naturressourcer, som man blandt andet gør det gennem en fiskeriaftale med EU. Read more of this post

Refugee starvation could trigger new war over Western Sahara, says Minister

“The strategy of the Moroccan regime is to starve the Saharawi refugees into accepting the Moroccan position. They pressurize the UN into not giving the refugees more aid,” says the Minister of Cooperation in Western Sahara’s exile government the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, Hach Ahmed Barek Allah. “If the starvation in the refugee camps continues, we cannot control the reaction of the people. We want to follow the peace process and continue negotiations, but with the situation now this is becoming increasingly difficult.” Read more of this post

Economic justice and democracy are interdependent, says new Swazi campaign

“At the centre of poverty is the question of power,” Musa Andile Nsibande of the Swaziland Economic Justice Network (SEJUN) tells Africa Contact. “When we tell people to stand up for their rights, there is a possibility that the balance of power will shift towards the masses, paving way for a full democratisation process.”

To this end, the recently formed SEJUN launched a new campaign, Eradicate Poverty and Hunger, last Saturday [February 11.] in Lavumisa. The campaign takes a rights-based approach to economic justice in emphasizing the right to adequate food in a country where two-thirds of the population survive on less than a dollar a day – many on food aid from the UN, the need for agrarian reform in a country where the absolute monarch in effect controls all land, and the necessity of empowering ordinary people in order to achieve the campaign goals. Read more of this post

Musa is also out!

Musa Ngubeni finally left the Manzini Remand Centre at 10:20 a.m this morning [9. February] and headed for his parental home at Mankhayane,” Dumezweni Dlamini of the Foundation for Socio-Economic Justice told the Free Maxwell Dlamini Campaign.

Musa Ngubeni, a law graduate from the University of Swaziland and former student leader, was detained, allegedly tortured, and charged with being in possession of explosives together with student leader Maxwell Dlamini during the April 12 Swazi Uprising last year – one of the largest protests ever against Swaziland’s absolute monarchy crushed by police and security forces. Read more of this post

Help us help ourselves, say Swaziland’s young single mothers

Women in Swaziland are heavily discriminated against, both by law and by custom. According to the former, women in effect have the status of minors and cannot get a bank loan without the consent of their husbands. According to the latter, women can be fined for wearing trousers by traditional authorities, nearly half of Swazi men believe it is okay to beat a woman, and two thirds of young women have experienced sexual violence of some sort.

But young single mothers are even worse off than the average women in Swaziland. Teenage mothers account for over a third of all pregnancies in Swaziland, but they receive little or no help from the government, their families or communities. On the contrary, when they are found to be pregnant they are often expelled from school and ostracised and stigmatised by their neighbours, communities and families. Read more of this post

Danmarks Indsamling: Send flere penge, det er os der kan gøre en forskel

Da jeg, som hundredetusinder af danskere, sad foran skærmen for at se Danmarks Indsamlings tv-show i går, hørte jeg gentagne gange budskabet om at det er vores velgørenhed, og størrelsen af pengebeløbet, der betyder noget for de ”stakkels” afrikanske børn på flugt som indsamlingen forsøger at hjælpe. ”Tusinde tak for donationerne. Lad dem flyde ind. Og vi taler jo bare på vegne af børnene i Afrika”, sagde programvært Louise Wolff, “der er kun en ægte vinder, og det er børnene i Afrika”. ”Danmark, det er os der kan gøre en forskel her”, sagde sangeren Wafonde. Read more of this post

Student leader Maxwell Dlamini out on bail

President of the Swaziland National Union of Students, Maxwell Dlamini, has been released on bail today [3. February]. The money for the 50,000 Rand bail (€5000) – the largest bail ever in Swazi legal history –was raised by Maxwell’s father, Nimrod Dlamini, and local and international solidarity movements.

Maxwell Dlamini was detained, allegedly tortured and forced to sign a confession, and charged of possession of explosives last April in connection with one of the largest protests against Swaziland’s absolute monarchy in many years, the so-called April 12 Uprising.

Two thirds of Swaziland’s population survive on less than a dollar a day and hundreds of thousands can only get by on food aid from the UN. Additionally, Swaziland cannot afford to pay its bills and the salaries of its civil servants due to widespread financial overspending and mismanagement by Swaziland’s absolute monarch, King Mswati III, and his government. Read more of this post