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EU calls for an urgent dialogue in Eswatini

By Phephile Motau

The European Union has urged the authorities of the country to launch a comprehensive and inclusive dialogue as a matter of urgency and a priority.

This, the EU said in a statement released by the Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy in Brussels, Nabila Massrali, on the situation in Eswatini following the killing of Human Rights lawyer, Thulani Rudolf Maseko.

The EU said Maseko, human rights lawyer and Chairperson of the Multistakeholder Forum (MSF), was shot dead at his house on Saturday, January 21.

The EU said it strongly condemned Maseko’s assassination and looked forward to the results of the investigations already launched by the authorities to identify and prosecute those responsible for this brutal act.

“The EU calls on the authorities to ensure the safety of all citizens, including political activists. This tragic loss comes in a row of killings, arson attacks and other violent acts, which have destabilised the country over the past months,” Massrali said.

The EU added that since June 2021, the EU, as a long-standing and reliable partner of the country had followed with grave concern about the situation in Eswatini.

“The EU urges the authorities to launch the comprehensive and inclusive dialogue as a matter of urgency and priority, on terms facilitated by SADC, towards national reconciliation, respect for human rights and the rule of law, and ultimately, lasting peace,” Massrali said.

Meanwhile, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk also condemned the brutal killing of Maseko.

“Thulani Maseko was a stalwart of human rights who, at great risk to himself, spoke up for many who couldn’t speak up for themselves. I offer my sincere condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues. His cold-blooded killing has deprived Eswatini, Southern Africa and the world of a true champion and advocate for peace, democracy, and human rights,” said Türk in a statement.

He also called on the authorities in Eswatini to ensure a prompt, independent, impartial, and effective investigation is held into his killing, in accordance with Eswatini’s Constitution and international human rights law, and to hold all those responsible to account for fair trials.

“The Eswatini authorities must also ensure the safety and security of all Eswatini people, including human rights defenders, journalists and political activists, and to protect civic space,” he said.

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