Swaziland

12th UPR session
Date of review: 4 October 2011
Date of report adoption: March 2012
Working Group report: A/HRC/19/6

Summary

Recommendations: Take concrete measures to decriminalise same-sex relations and prevent discrimination based on marital status and sexual orientation; Adopt the necessary political and legislative measures to establish a specific framework to protect against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and repeal all laws which criminalise homosexual practice, and implement public awareness-raising campaigns on this matter; Bring its legislation into conformity with its international human rights obligations by repealing provisions which may be used to criminalise same-sex activity between consenting adults, and take all necessary measures to ensure enjoyment of the right to the highest attainable standard of health, without discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

 

Response: Rejected.

 

I. Key issues/recommendations identified by NGOs

 

  • Bring its legislation into conformity with its international human rights obligations by repealing provisions which may be used to criminalise same-sex activity between consenting adults,
  • Take all necessary measures to ensure enjoyment of the right to the highest attainable standard of health, without discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

II. Excerpts from input reports

Compilation of UN information

II. Promotion and protection of human rights on the ground
B. Implementation of international human rights obligations
4. Right to privacy, marriage and family life

39. In 2011, UNCT noted that there was still some level of stigma and discrimination against lesbians, men who have sex with men, bisexuals, and transgender and sex workers. The most-at-risk population (prisoners, men who have sex with men and sex workers) still had difficulties accessing sexual reproductive health care due to the fact that the country still had legislation that prohibited their sexual acts.

Summary of stakeholders’ information

II. Promotion and protection of human rights on the ground
B. Implementation of international human rights obligations, taking into account applicable international humanitarian law
4. Right to privacy, marriage and family life

42. SCHRPA and JS5 indicated that sexual contact between male persons was still criminalized under the common law as sodomy. JS5 indicated that Swaziland planned to include prohibitions of all male homosexual acts and lesbian acts in its revision of the Sexual Offences laws. JS2 reported that there was no legislation recognising lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgendered and inter-sexed people (LGBTIs) or protecting the right to sexual orientation and that LGBTIs were discriminated and condemned openly. Homosexual people could not marry under the Marriage Act and homosexual partners could not adopt children. The House of our Hope (HOOP) provided examples of discrimination against LGBTIs occurring in various settings.

III. References to SOGI during the Working Group review

B. Interactive dialogue and responses by State under review

44. The United States of America […] called on Swaziland to protect the rights of LGBT people.

49. On sexual orientation, Swaziland advised that to date no one has been prosecuted for sexual orientation offenses. As the world revolves, Swaziland would look on the possibility to adopt a policy on the issue.

IV. Conclusions and/or recommendations

78. The recommendations below did not enjoy the support of Swaziland:

78.4. Take concrete measures to decriminalise same-sex relations and prevent discrimination based on marital status and sexual orientation (United States of America);

78.5. Adopt the necessary political and legislative measures to establish a specific framework to protect against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and repeal all laws which criminalise homosexual practice, and implement public awareness-raising campaigns on this matter (Spain);

78.6 Bring its legislation into conformity with its international human rights obligations by repealing provisions which may be used to criminalise same-sex activity between consenting adults, and take all necessary measures to ensure enjoyment of the right to the highest attainable standard of health, without discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity (Portugal).

 

V. Adoption of the Report

The report of the working group was adopted at the 19th session of the Human Rights Council in March 2012.

Statements by States or other stakeholders

Action Canada for Population and Development, Sexual Rights Initiative and COC Netherlands

Madame President,

The Sexual Rights Initiative draws the attention of the United Nations Human Rights Council to the sustained sexual and reproductive rights violations of the people of Swaziland by the government of Swaziland.

The failure of the state to fulfill its human rights obligations to women and other vulnerable groups such as LGBTI people is happening in a context where Swaziland has acceded to various international instruments aimed at promotion and protection of human rights violations at national level. This is worrying in that the Swaziland government has rejected recommendations from other states at this council to put legal and other measures to address human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity and women’s rights to own property.

Swaziland has failed to effectively address gender-based violence. Levels of physical, emotional and sexual violence against women are extremely high.. Madam President, Swaziland has no legal protections in place on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. This continues to infringe on the sexual and reproductive rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex citizens of Swaziland.

The Constitution of Swaziland limits women’s rights to sexual and reproductive health. In terms of section 15(5), no woman is permitted to terminate her pregnancy. Consequently, the mortality rate of both women and children is escalating because the laws do not provide for women’s autonomy on the issue of termination of pregnancy.

We call on the government of Swaziland to:

  1. Accept the recommendations made by some states at this council on addressing the human rights situation in Swaziland, particularly those based on sexual orientation and gender identity and women’s rights to own property.
  2. Accept the recommendations submitted by the Swaziland civil society coalition on addressing human rights violations in Swaziland

We ask the Swaziland government to address this Council on the specific measures it will take to address the issues of women’s human rights and the human rights of LGBTI people in Swaziland in keeping with its International human rights obligations?

Thank you.

VI. Further information

UPR Documentation

National report 1 :  ACE | F | R | S
Compilation of UN information 2 :  A | C | E | FR | S
Corrigendum 1 : E only
Summary of stakeholders’ information 3 :  A | C | E | FR | S
Questions submitted in advance :  E
Addendum 1 : E
Addendum 2 : E
Addendum 3 : E

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