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Homelessness in Swaziland
Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, is an enclaved country within Southern Africa. The nation faces a massive problem of homelessness caused by a broken system of human rights and poverty. The country’s land governance system has unfairly sent many people out of their homes. King Mswati III owns much of the land that the people live on — leaving the Swazi people powerless when evictions occur. These evictions hit women and other marginalized groups especially hard, as they do not have protection under the law. AIDS, HIV and the eradication of agriculture for land development have also played a role in worsening homelessness in Eswatini.

Land Insecurity

Farming is a vital part of the Swazi peoples’ livelihood. Yet, recent land development disputes have begun to hurt farming practices with evictions leaving hundreds of people homeless. These evictions have occurred at the hands of police and bulldozers, which destroyed many homes. To make matters worse, many newly-evicted people have no alternative or even temporary shelter. In April 2018, dozens of people and more than 30 children became homeless — forced to live in inhumane conditions. Some people slept at a local school, some slept outside of their now-demolished home and some slept in a chicken shed.

As more people increasingly fall victim to homelessness in Eswatini, fewer places exist for families to purchase goods for themselves. It has been difficult to fight these evictions due to the country’s government being an absolute monarchy. As a result, people cannot overturn the policies that the king has put in place. These forced evictions come from not only Mswati III owning the land, but also private entities and/or the government owning some as well. This leaves the Swazi people at a high risk of eviction without preparation, warning or recompense.

Connections to HIV

The contraction of HIV has also contributed to the problem of homelessness in Eswatini. Almost 40% of sexually active Swazi adults are positive of the virus. As adults suffer or die as a result of HIV contraction, their children and other members of their households are left without a breadwinner. Sometimes, these homes become children-led. This makes it easier for the government to remove the homes with no plan or adequate place for the family to live afterward.

What is Being Done?

Amnesty International, a non-government organization focused on human rights, reported human rights violations causing homelessness in Eswatini. Moreover, Amnesty International assessed that the violations were caused by the country’s government. The organization has recommended and pushed the prime minister, attorney general and the minister of justice to address this problem. It has urged the prime minister to prohibit all evictions due to violations of legal protections and lack of adequate housing. Specifically, in the regions of Malkerns and Nokwane, the prime minister is to protect the people and provide them with safe places to live until they find a home. The attorney general is to put into law the stoppage of all forced evictions regardless of the circumstance. Relevant institutions would have to go through the proper procedures, before evicting someone.

Upon converting these policies into law, the attorney general is to make sure their new land policy is in line with international human rights involving housing. In this way, the government is taking action to reduce the problem of homelessness in Eswatini.

Dorian Ducre
Photo: Flickr

ruthless_leaders
In recent years many notorious leaders have been overthrown and put to death for their ruthless ways. Unfortunately, more of these leaders still remain around the world and continue to hold power over innocent lives. Here are 4 that are still around.

Kim Jong un- North Korea

In 2011, Kim Jong-un became Supreme Leader of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, AKA North Korea, preceding his father, longtime dictator Kim Jong-Il whom was in power since 1941.

Today, the desolation of human rights still remains under rule of Jong-un. Thousands of people are held in political prison camps, facing starvation, daily beatings and death. People are sent to these camps for numerous reasons; government opposition being the main one.

If they are not sent to prison camps, execution is likely ordered by the dictator. Among recent reports Jong-un ordered the execution of his grandfather and in 2011, also executed his then girlfriend, Hyon Song Wol. Jong –UN also holds American Kenneth Bae captive for unknown reasons and refuses to release him to the American government.

Outside of prison camps famine spreads like wildfire. An estimated 1 million people have died from starvation since 1990. In addition to this, mobile phone use is highly restricted and internet usage is monitored and filtered by the government.  Television is also censored and runs numerous ads painting the U.S. as an evil nation.  Government opposition is not tolerated by Kim Jong- UN.

Xi Jinping – China

Xi Jinping became president of China in March of 2013. The communist leader claims to have loosened the ties on certain human rights violations, such as eliminating labor camps and modifying the one child rule. However, reports have surfaced stating the newly created “rehab centers” to replace labor camps might be close to one in the same. People are still beaten and starved for opposing government power and expressing religious freedom.

Complete control over all media and internet usage is common in China. Over 40,000 people are employed by the government to monitor web browsing and block news sites deemed unacceptable. Any form of government rebellion is not tolerated. Many people have been punished for speaking out against the dictatorship. Thousands of people are executed and tortured every year for this.

Bashar Al Assad – Syria

President of Syria since 2000, Al- Assad took over after his father Hafez al-Assad died. Once hoped to be a reformer of his father’s ruthless political ways, Al- Assad quickly revealed keen dictatorship after government protesters were attacked under his command.

Internet usage is monitored around the clock.  Blockage of popular internet sites such as YouTube, Facebook and Wikipedia occurred throughout the 2008 -2011 time period.

Protesters are continuously attacked and imprisoned for opposing the dictator. During the 2011 Syrian war, gang rapes of young boys and the killing of children as young as two by Syrian security were reported.

King Mswati III – Swaziland

Located in Africa, Swaziland shares borders with South Africa and Mozambique. This country has been under the rule of King Mswati III’s dictatorship since 1986. The 1 million plus country longs for a democratic government however, King Mswati clearly objects to splitting up the political parties, sticking with traditional monarchies.

Mswati’s monarchy has been known for its lavish and carefree ways which have depleted economic funds. Careless handling of finances has left the Swaziland people to fight for their lives.

Poverty, food shortages and disease take countless lives every day. Over 26 percent of adults live with AIDS, making it the highest rate per country in the world.  Anti-viral treatments that could lower this number dramatically are not provided by the government, resulting in thousands of children becoming orphans every year. The life expectancy in Swaziland is the lowest in the world, estimated to be 48.

Amy Robinson

Sources: USA Today, Amnesty International, CNN, Human Rights Watch, BBC, World Vision
Photo: Foreign Policy