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Swaziland: Prime Minister threatens to strangle trade union leaders

In partnership with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), which represents 176 million workers in 161 countries and territories and has 325 national affiliates.

The Prime Minister of Swaziland, Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini, threatened that the trade union and human rights leaders who attend the African Summit in Washington, D.C. should be strangled upon their return. The threat was made when the Prime Minister was being questioned by parliamentarians as to the government's plan to maintain trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which the US will suspend on 1 January 2015. The decision to suspend the benefits was taken because the government has for years engaged in serious and systematic violations of workers' rights. These include the jailing of trade union leaders, the deregistration of the union federation (TUCOSWA) and the banning of strikes and demonstrations. In January 2014, the ILO High-Level Fact-finding Mission to Swaziland found that "no concrete, tangible progress has been made on the various matters concerning [freedom of association], some of which have been pending for over a decade."

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