We are deeply saddened by the news of the brutal assassination of Adv. Thulani Maseko, a prominent human rights lawyer in eSwatini. This shocking act of violence is a tragic loss for the legal profession and for the people of eSwatini, who have lost a passionate advocate for justice and equality. Advocate Maseko was gunned down in front of his family home south of Mbabane, Eswatini, in what can only be described as a targeted killing.
Maseko was the chairperson of the pro-democracy Multi-Stakeholder Forum. The Multi-Stakeholder Forum is a collaboration of political parties and civil society groups working towards amplifying the calls for democratic reforms. Advocate Maseko was a leading figure in the push for Eswatini to transition into a multiparty democracy.
“The developments in eSwatini are troubling. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the family of Adv Maseko and all loved ones. Clearly the situation is deteriorating. We continue to call for dialogue by all key stakeholders to find meaningful solutions to the challenges confronting the people of eSwatini. We once more call on SADC leadership to provide guidance to the people of eSwatini and help navigate a way out of this quagmire. People of eSwatini deserve better”, said, Bafana Khumalo, the Co-Chairperson, Global MenEngage and Executive Director at Sonke Gender Justice.
We are alarmed by the egregious crimes committed against human rights defenders. We know that threats and attacks on human rights defenders are on the rise. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Adv. Maseko’s family, friends, and colleagues, and call on the government of eSwatini to thoroughly investigate this murder and bring the perpetrator or perpetrators to justice.
MenEngage Africa calls on all legal institutions, as well as the African Union, to defend, solidify, and protect the human rights defenders, while also pursuing justice for Thulani Maseko.
“Adv. Maseko’s work in defense of human rights and the rule of law will not be forgotten, and we will continue to honor his legacy by fighting for the rights of all people. Let us all work together to ensure that his sacrifice will not be in vain”, Bonginkosi Ndlangamandla, MenEngage eSwatini National Coordinator added.
eSwatini has a long history of heinous human rights violations. For instance, in May 2021, protests by mainly young people started when a law student who died under questionable circumstances. As a such we call on the African Union (AU) and all governments in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU) to be proactive in condemning these repressive acts that appear to be the norm and protecting human rights defenders.
For media enquiries, contact:
- Bafana Khumalo, Co-Chairperson, Global MenEngage Alliance: firstname.lastname@example.org or +27-82-578-4479
- Bonginkosi Ndlangamandla, National Coordinator, MenEngage eSwatini +268 76976397
NOTES TO EDITORS:
Sonke is a South African-based non-profit organisation working throughout Africa. We believe women and men, girls and boys can work together to resist patriarchy, advocate for gender justice, and achieve gender transformation.
MenEngage Africa is part of a global alliance of organisations that engage men and boys to achieve gender equality, promote health, reduce violence and to question and address the structural barriers to achieving gender equality. The alliance consists of 22 country networks spread across East, West, Central and Southern Africa. MEA members work collectively toward advancing gender justice, human rights and social justice in key thematic areas including Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), gender-based violence (GBV) & HIV prevention, Child Rights and Positive Parenting and in promoting peace on the continent.