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LOBAMBA – International judges want Senate to pass the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Bill with immediate effect.

The judges, through their organisation, International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), have reminded the country to live up to its promise of enacting the Bill as early as 2016 through undertakings it made during the 2016 Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the country.

The ICJ further stated that they respectfully recommend that the Senate of Swaziland urgently pass, and send to the King for his Royal Assent, the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Bill.
This was communicated in a letter dated 20 March, 2018 drafted by Arnold Tsunga (ICJ Africa Regional Director). 
The letter titled ‘Regional and international obligations and commitments of the Kingdom of Swaziland reinforcing the need for urgent enactment of the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Bill 2015’ was directed to Senate President, Ngomuyayona Gamedze.

The ICJ, which is a global organisation, composed of some 60 eminent judges and lawyers from all regions of the world, said: “Cognizant of the Senate’s consideration of the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Bill 2015, the briefing recommends that the Senate urgently passes the Bill.”

The judges further stated that the enactment of the Bill was required of the country under its regional and international human rights law obligations to criminalise and sanction the perpetrators of sexual and gender based violence.
The jurists further noted that compliance with those obligations was reinforced by His Majesty’s Vision 2022, the aims of the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“The ICJ recalls the ‘Vision 2022’ for First World status of His Majesty King Mswati III. Informed by the Swaziland Development Index, the government has identified a shared definition of First World status as ‘one where all citizens are able to sustainably pursue their life goals, and enjoy lives of value and dignity in a safe and secure environment’.”
According to the letter, to implement the monarch’s vision, the DPM’s Office indicated that it aimed to reduce the percentage of women that experience violence from 79 per cent to 30 per cent by 2022.
Further, the DPM’s Office noted that the percentage of children who experience violence would be reduced from 59 per cent to 20 per cent.  

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