The Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse (SWAGAA) is absolutely overjoyed with the news that the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Bill has received Royal Assent from His Majesty King Mswatii III and will now be passed into law.
This marks a truly historic day for the Kingdom of Eswatini.
A day where the values of human rights and human dignity have prevailed against an unrelenting fear of change. A day where we have come together as a country and said we will no longer accept a culture of impunity and unrestrained hostility, often targeting our most vulnerable. And, a day where the tireless work of all those who have been advocating for the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Bill – NGOs, magistrates, government representatives and members of the international community – can finally be celebrated.
SWAGAA would like to extend a warm and generous ‘thank you’ to all our partners, both local and international, that helped us get here today. Together, we have ensured a brighter and safer future for our nation.
Having this legislation in place is an important first step in protecting people from sexual and gender-based violence – but it is only one part of the process.
Now, the real work begins.
Moving forward, we must make certain that our government agencies and courts have the resources they need to effectively and efficiently manage cases of sexual and gender-based violence. We must empower our civil society organizations to provide critical supports that both prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence. We must take concerted steps toward genuinely implementing our international and regional obligations that reinforce our commitments to protecting people, especially women and girls. And we must all work together to change the harmful attitudes and gender norms that for far too long have allowed for this kind of violence to consume our nation.
So today we rejoice in this momentous and transformative achievement and tomorrow we will get back to work.