Falana drags King Mswati III to UN over killing of girls, women in Swaziland
HUMAN rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has dragged King Mswati III of Swaziland to United Nations (UN) over killing of girls and women en route to dancing virgin festival.
Falana, in a petition sent to UN Special Rapporteurs, requested them to use their “positions and mandates to thoroughly investigate reports of the unnecessary deaths of at least 60 girls and young women in Swaziland in bus crash on their way to dance festival where King of Swaziland, King Mswati III picks one of thousands of topless virgins as his new wife”.
The petition was sent to Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Mr. Juan Ernesto Mendez, Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Ms. Dubravka Simonovic and Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Mr. Christof Heyns.
The petition reads in part: “According to reports, a car or a van hit the back of one truck which resulted in a pileup. The dead were reportedly thrown from the back of the truck which was usually used for transporting building materials and some were said to have been hit by on-coming cars. The festival still went ahead despite reports on the deaths.
“I urge you to investigate allegations of cover-up and blatant failure of the authorities to prevent the violations of the rights to life, to human dignity, and violence against girls and women, forced marriage, as well as to provide effective remedies for the victims and their families.
“I am seriously concerned that King Mswati III’s regime rather than addressing the serious violations of human rights has continued to prevent and prohibit the publication of these abuses against innocent girls and young women while also compromising the law enforcement agencies in the discharge of their lawful functions.”
“The girls were forced to stand up in the back of an open truck cheek-by-jowl. There was no space to sit down or even to turn around. By forcing the girls and women to travel on the back of open trucks in a convoy, the government of Swaziland has violated also their rights to freedom from cruel, inhuman, degrading or ill-treatment.”