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Swaziland[1] [print]

Last edited: May 2005

 

Summary and Analysis

 

Swaziland signed the CRC on August 22, 1990 and ratified it on September 7, 1995.[2]  After ratification of the CRC, Swaziland established a National Committee on Children to oversee monitoring of child rights. In 1992, the Committee produced a report entitled the “National Programme of Action for the Children of Swaziland 1993-2000.”[3]  Swaziland has yet to submit any reports to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.  Swaziland has signed, but not ratified, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.

 

Swaziland's only formal means of dealing with child abuse occurs in the criminal system.  Police assigned to the Children's Unit are responsible for investigating any allegations of child abuse, including interviewing the alleged child victim.  Recently the High Court, where child abuse cases are heard, has assigned an “intermediary”—either a government or NGO official—to inform the child of the court proceedings and to relay the child's testimony to the court.  The child testifies in a room separate from the perpetrator.

 

Outside of the criminal system, the chiefdoms are responsible for the well-being of children who have been abused or neglected.  Each chiefdom has a child protection committee which is responsible for decisions concerning these children.[4]

 

It appears that there are no specific statutes or case laws governing child protective proceedings.  We are unsure if child protective proceedings even exist.  Although the current Constitution does not speak to the issue of child abuse or neglect, under Article 30 of the draft constitution, a child shall not be subjected to abuse or torture or other cruel inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.  A child also has the right to be “properly cared for” by his or her parents or other lawful authority. [5]  This article also instructs Parliament to adopt legislation which would provide that “children receive special protection against exposure to physical and moral hazards within and outside the family.” [6]  We should note, however, that the drafting of the constitution began in 1996.

 

One possible reason for the lack of child protective proceedings is Swaziland's current HIV/AIDS crisis.  Swazi officials participating in “Say Yes,” a UNICEF initiative, identified one of the most urgent issues facing Swazi children as the HIV/AIDS crisis.  Swaziland has the highest HIV prevalence in the world, with an estimated 38 percent of adults infected with the disease.[7]  UNICEF estimates that by 2010, 150,000 children will be orphaned due to AIDS. 

 

Related Sources of Law (In Order of Authority)

 

Constitution

 

Draft Constitution of Swaziland[8]

 

Article 30 - Rights of the Child

  1. A child has the right to be protected from engaging in work that constitutes a threat to the health, education or development of that child.
  2. A child shall not be subjected to abuse or torture or other cruel inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment subject to lawful and moderate chastisement for purposes of correction.
  3. The child has the right to be properly cared for and brought up by parents or other lawful authority in place of parents.
  4. Children whether born in or out of wedlock shall enjoy the same protection.
  5. Children have the duty to respect their parents at all times and to maintain those parents in case of need.
  6. Every Swazi child shall have the right to free education in public schools at least up to end of primary school within three years of the commencement of this Constitution.
  7. Parliament shall enact laws necessary to ensure that -
    1. a child has the right to the same measure of special care, assistance and maintenance as is natural for its development from its natural parents, except where those parents have effectively surrendered their rights and responsibilities in respect of the child in accordance with law;
    2. a child is entitled to reasonable provision out of the estate of its parents;
    3. parents undertake their natural right and obligation of care, maintenance and proper upbringing of their children; and
    4. children receive special protection against exposure to physical and moral hazards within and outside the family.

 

Local Contact Information

 

Nomzamo Dlamini

Save the Children Swaziland

PO Box 472 Mbabane
Lilunga Street
Swaziland

Tel: + 268 404 2573, + 404 7731

Fax: + 268 404 4719

zdlamini@savethechildren.org.sz

 

Additional Resources and Links

 

Save the Children Swaziland

http://www.savethechildren.net/swaziland/

 

UNICEF – Swaziland

http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/swaziland.html

 

Government Website:

http://www.gov.sz/

 

News article re: rampant child abuse (October 17, 2003), available at http://www.againstchildabuse.org/article/articleview/54/1/4/.[9]

 

Environmental Consulting Services, Report on Child Protection, available at http://www.ecs.co.sz/cca/cca_4.htm.[10]

 

Save the Children, Report on Child Protection, available at http://www.savethechildren.net/swaziland/what_we_do/issues/ch_prot.html.[11]

 

Save the Children, Report on National Call for Action, available at http://www.savethechildren.net/swaziland/publications/ch_rights.html.[12]

 

Swaziland Statement to the UN Special Session on Children (May 10, 2002), available at http://www.un.org/ga/children/swazilandE.htm.[13]

 

Research Path

 

The most recent collection of Swaziland laws was published in 1974.  We were unable to locate a copy of the code.  However, our local contact was not aware of any provisions in this code or any more recent statute concerning the representation of children in child protective proceedings.

 



Endnotes

[1] This page is also available as a .pdf Document, and Word Document.

[2] It is unclear what force of the law, if any, the CRC carries in Swaziland.

[3] See Environmental Consulting Services, Report on Child Protection, available at http://www.ecs.co.sz/cca/cca_4.htm.

[4] See Swaziland Statement to the UN Special Session on Children (May 10, 2002), available at http://www.un.org/ga/children/swazilandE.htm

[5] Id.

[6] Id.

[7] Government of Swaziland and The United Nations Children's Fund, Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Swaziland: Community Approaches, Good Practice, Innovative Ideas, Report prepared for the GoS/UNICEF Programme Annual Review (Dec. 4, 2002). 

[8] Swaziland Draft Constitution, art. 30, available at http://www.constitution.org.sz/, and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[9] And also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[10] And also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[11] And also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[12] And also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[13] And also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

 

 

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