SouthernDefenders Strongly Condemns Deadly Grenade Attack on the home of Mlungisi Makhanya, President of PUDEMO
22 September 2022
The Southern Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (SouthernDefenders) unequivocally condemns the deadly, illegal, and unwarranted grenade attack on the home of Mlungisi Makhanya, President of the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO). According to information from credible sources on the ground in Eswatini, the unlawful and deadly attack was perpetrated in the early hours of Tuesday, 20 September 2022.
According to information received from credible sources, the attack was executed with lethal intent by highly trained, well-armed, specialized military operatives using non-precision weapons, which do not care for fatal collateral damage or serious injury, as well as serious damage to property. Furthermore, it was reported that the perpetrators unlawfully invaded Mlungisi Makhanya’s home, then proceeded to switch off the electricity, fired numerous gunshots and then threw military grenades in two bedrooms. As a result, two used military grenade canisters, along with bullet cartridges, were recovered at the scene.
Moreover, it is deeply concerning that this vicious attack comes against the backdrop of a stern warning that was recently issued by government officials against human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists in the country. This is according to a leaked telephone conversation between members of the government, confirming that any State agent who bombs the homes of “political activists” will not be held accountable, and they further declared that the regime has trained an arson special squad, whose sole purpose is to target and burn down homes belonging to political activists.
As a State party to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the government of Eswatini has an obligation to uphold and protect basic human rights to human dignity, the right to life and freedom from torture, inhuman or degrading treatment. Moreover, we remain deeply disturbed that the worsening human rights situation in Eswatini is further compounded by a pervasive wave of impunity for abuses of those calling for political reforms, as required in any democracy.
SouthernDefenders stands in solidarity with all human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists in Eswatini and echoes the demands for justice, accountability, and political reforms in the country. We remind the government that it has a great duty to ensure that its citizens live free of fear or attacks and that protecting the rights of the people is a fundamental part of a thriving democracy.
SouthernDefenders strongly urge the Eswatini authorities to:
- Refrain from the unlawful and unwarranted attacks that endanger the lives and property of the country’s pro-democracy activists and human rights defenders.
- Stop misusing the country’s security forces and resources to harm the citizens they are meant to protect.
- End the violent rhetoric and crackdown on civic space, human rights defenders, and pro-democracy activists in line with the Constitution of Eswatini, as well as regional and international human rights instruments the country of Eswatini has ratified
For more information please contact:
Simphiwe Sidu, SouthernDefenders Regional Legal Adviser: +27 76 675 8168 / firstname.lastname@example.org