Last edited: May 2005
Summary and Analysis
Swaziland signed the CRC on August 22, 1990 and ratified it on September 7, 1995. 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.” 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.
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.  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.”  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. UNICEF estimates that by 2010, 150,000 children will be orphaned due to AIDS.
Related Sources of Law (In Order of Authority)
Draft Constitution of Swaziland
Article 30 - Rights of the Child
Local Contact Information
Save the Children Swaziland
PO Box 472 Mbabane
Tel: + 268 404 2573, + 404 7731
Fax: + 268 404 4719
Additional Resources and Links
Save the Children Swaziland
UNICEF – Swaziland
News article re: rampant child abuse (October 17, 2003), available at http://www.againstchildabuse.org/article/articleview/54/1/4/.
Save the Children, Report on Child Protection, available at http://www.savethechildren.net/swaziland/what_we_do/issues/ch_prot.html.
Save the Children, Report on National Call for Action, available at http://www.savethechildren.net/swaziland/publications/ch_rights.html.
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.
 It is unclear what force of the law, if any, the CRC carries in Swaziland.
 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).
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