HUNDREDS of people have been left homeless and pushed deeper into poverty after forced evictions in Eswatini, formerly Swaziland.
Human rights groups have documented the forced evictions of more than 200 people in two areas of the Southern African country.
Amnesty International said it was aware of at least 300 more people facing imminent eviction from land they depend on for farming, food and their livelihoods.
Although evictions involve a long legal process, they were reportedly carried out in the absence of adequate notice, genuine consultation and without adequate compensation, which according to experts is in violation of international law.
“These forced evictions expose the harsh reality of land tenure for ordinary Swazi people,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa.
“The country’s land governance system is deeply flawed as it denies ordinary Swazis the most basic commodity and dignity.”
Amnesty International recently released a report revealing the devastating impact of the country’s land governance system.
According to the rights group, since most of the land is held by the King (Mswati III) in “trust” for the nation, and others living on title-deed land without formal recognition, Swazi people do not enjoy any degree of security of tenure – making them vulnerable to forced evictions.
A Member of Parliament has been quoted as saying laws governing land in Eswatini were failing the people.
“There’s never a year without eviction. The law on land is weak against the victim. They are at the mercy of the land owner,” he said.
– CAJ News