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Exclusive interview with Human Rights Commissioner: Rights of vulnerable groups must be respected

Friday, 19th February, 2021

MBABANE:Sabelo Masuku, the Commissioner of the Human Rights and Integrity Commission said the Commission was empowered by the Constitution to investigate allegations of human rights violations, however, they always prioritise rights of vulnerable groups that include people living with disabilities, children and the elderly.

Speaking to this Swaziland News in an exclusive interview, the Commissioner confirmed that the case of Khethukuthula Mathabela who was allegedly harassed and denied entry at Family Carry and Carry Supermarket in Matsapha because of her disability condition was formally reported to them adding that the investigation will commence soon. 

An investigation is a process that seeks to gather evidence to substantiate allegations of wrong-doing, however, it further acts as a deterrence against impropriety. 

The Commissioner said subsequent to the investigations an array of remedies such as taking appropriate action to correct or reverse the violation though means that are fair are normally considered. 

"The Commission is empowered by the Constitution to investigate allegations of human rights violations not only of rights of people living with disabilities. There is however more attention to vulnerable groups such as people living with disabilities , children the elderly etc.

The investigation is not conducted without the involvement of the Respondent . There is an array of remedies such as taking appropriate action to correct or reverse the violation through means that are fair, proper and effective by publicising the findings and recommendations , negotiating a compromise between the parties , bringing matters for prosecution and perhaps for a shop recommending a revocation or suspension of trading licence pending remedial action", he said.

On Thursday morning , women's human rights organisations and political activists led by the Federation of Organisations of the Disabled in Eswatini (FODSWA) staged a demonstration outside the Family Cash and Carry Supermarket  in protest against the harassment of the disabled woman. These organisations include the Swaziland Rural Women Assembly, One Billion Rising Campaign, the Ngwane National Liberatory Congress(NNLC) among others. 

Reached for comments, Khethukuthula Mathabela, the woman who was abused at the Supermarket thanked the Human rights organisations and the Commission for their intervention.

"I would like to thank the human rights activists for their intervention .This will be a deterrence to would-be offenders. Im glad that the Human Rights Commission is also working  on the case," she said.

Exclusive interview with Human Rights Commissioner: Rights of vulnerable groups must be respected
Human Rights Commissioner Sabelo Masuku