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International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Swaziland (CCPR 23-08-2017)
In the absence of a report by the State party, the Human Rights Committee considered the situation of civil and political rights under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in Swaziland at its 3382nd and 3383rd meetings (CCPR/C/SR.3382 and CCPR/C/SR.3383), held in a public session on 7 and 10 July 2017. In accordance with rule 70, paragraph 1, of the Committee’s rules of procedure, the failure of a State party to submit its report under article 40 of the Covenant may lead to an examination in a public session of the measures taken by the State party to give effect to the rights recognized in the Covenant and to adopt concluding observations.
2. At its 3405th meeting, held on 25 July 2017, the Human Rights Committee adopted the following concluding observations.
C. Principal matters of concern and recommendations
Discrimination and violence on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity
- The Committee is concerned that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is not clearly prohibited under the Constitution, or in the State party’s domestic laws. It is also concerned at reports that reveal that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons frequently face discrimination, particularly in accessing adequate housing and employment. It is further concerned about reports of violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons, including the murder of two individuals directly linked to their sexual orientation and the rape of a gay man in detention. While noting the State party’s position that the common law criminalization of same-sex relations between men (sodomy) is not enforced in practice, the Committee is concerned at the State party’s current intention to retain the law, and at the law’s continued discriminatory effect on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons (arts. 2, 6, 7, 17 and 26).
- The State party should revise its laws to clearly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, in all contexts, and take the measures necessary to ensure that such persons can fully enjoy all the human rights enshrined in the Covenant. It should also:
(a) Vigorously combat stereotypes and negative attitudes towards persons on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity;
(b) Train and sensitize police officers, prosecutors and members of the judiciary to identify discrimination and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons;
(c) Adopt legislation explicitly prohibiting hate crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons;
(d) Adopt robust measures to effectively prevent acts of discrimination and violence against such persons and ensure that all acts of violence against them are effectively investigated, perpetrators are brought to justice and punished with appropriate sanctions and victims are compensated. It should also collect comprehensive data on cases of violence against persons on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity;
(e) Criminalize the rape of men and repeal the common law crime of sodomy.
Discrimination against persons living with HIV/AIDS
- While acknowledging the considerable efforts made by the State party to promote and protect the life and health of persons living with HIV/AIDS, the Committee remains concerned at the continued high number of infections in the State party and the persistence of stigma and discrimination against such persons. The Committee is also concerned at the absence of laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of HIV/AIDS (arts. 2, 6 and 26).
- The State party should:
(a) Continue and step up intervention to address the needs of key populations, in particular women, youth, sex workers and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community, including persons in rural areas;
(b) Redouble its efforts to combat the high level of HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination among the general population;
(c) Ensure that discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS is legally prohibited in all contexts and that such laws are enforced effectively in practice.