The call for signatories has now closed, and the statement has been sent to the Attorney General of the Kingdom of Eswatini. Many thanks to everyone who has supported this campaign.

We call for the investigation into the murder of prominent human rights lawyer, Thulani Maseko.

On the evening of 21 January 2023, Thulani Maseko was gunned down in his home in Luhleko, Bhunya, Swaziland. Thulani Maseko, was a world-renowned human rights lawyer and chairperson of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum (MSF), a convergence of civil society organisations, businesses, trade unions, political parties, faith based organisations, women’s organisations, among others, calling for constitutional reforms in Swaziland.*

This is the latest in a series of escalating attacks on human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists in Swaziland, which have increased since the nation-wide protests demanding democratic reforms started in May 2021. In June 2021, this culminated in protests during which at least 46 died and many more were injured by members of the Swazi armed forces, according to the victims. The government, led by King Mswati III, has responded with excessive use of force against protesters and human rights defenders, arbitrary arrests and detention, internet shutdowns and blanket bans on protests. 

We at RINGO stand in solidarity with civil society actors in Swaziland who are fighting for democracy. MSF has been participating in the RINGO prototype, ‘For the People, By the People: An Alternative Solidarity Model’, which aims to create an alternative, inclusive and virtual solidarity platform that is determined by the terms of engagement and views of local activists. We express our deepest condolences to Maseko’s family.

  • Together with others, we urgently call on the authorities for an internationally supported independent, impartial and transparent investigation into the murder of Thulani Maseko and other civil society actors killed since 2021. 
  • We call for an end to all violence and intimidation against civil society actors in the region who are exercising their political freedoms
  • We urge human rights defenders to support the existing civil claims process of the survivors and families of victims and survivors of the 29 June 2021 massacre

UPDATE: US Senators introduce resolution condemning Eswatini’s human rights record.

We invite members of global civil society to sign on to this statement of solidarity, as individuals or organisations, by 22nd May 2023, and show support to the survivors and families of victims and survivors. The statement and call to action will then be sent to Sifiso M.M. Khumalo, Attorney General of the Kingdom of Eswatini.

*Democracy supporters and opposition groups in civil society continue to use the name Swaziland as opposed to Eswatini because the change of name by the government was seen as an undemocratic decision taken without consultation of the broader population.


Image via @thulanirmaseko