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Oilwatch Africa, others condemn assassination of Thulani Maseko

Thulani Maseko


‘During one of Maseko’s life challenges, he was arrested allegedly for contempt of court charges for having questioned the way the then Chief Justice was conducting the affairs of the Judiciary’


The gruesome assassination of Thulani Maseko, a highly decorated human

rights lawyer, on Saturday January 21, 2023, marked a dastardly low in the attacks meted to human and democracy rights in Swaziland.

Oilwatch Africa and other civil society organisations in Africa and beyond have therefore

condemned the murder of the renowned activist in his own home and demanded the state to assume its responsibility of arresting the perpetrators and protecting citizens.

Also read: COP27 failed Africa, say CAPPA, others, seek justice

Thulani Maseko was well-known as a campaigner committed to the respect of human rights andthe use of dialogue as the key tool for the resolution of political disputes and conflicts.

The brutal murder of Maseko raises serious concerns about the heightened threat to human and environmental rights defenders and the overall rule of law in Swaziland.

The assassination of Maseko marks an ugly turn in the attempts to cripple dissent and eliminate the defenders of the masses on our continent.


Human right defenders have been the target of executions, torture, beatings, arbitrary arrest and detention, death threats, and harassment as well as restrictions on their freedom of movement in

Swaziland and elsewhere in Africa.

During one of Maseko’s life challenges, he was arrested allegedly for contempt of court charges for having questioned the way the then Chief Justice was conducting the affairs of the Judiciary. He was sentenced to two years without an option of a fine. Sadly, he had to endure that imprisonment and completed the sentence before the Supreme Court accepted that his arrest and sentence were unlawful in the first place and an infringement on his right to freedom of expression.

As a family, African human and environmental rights campaigners share in the grief of Maseko’s. We call on the international community, including the United Nations,

African Union, Southern African Development Community, and individual governments, to demand that the government of Swaziland respect human rights.


African governments must ensure they create an environment where human rights of all citizens are respected, and activists are not targeted for standing up to injustice. No more bloodshed!



Oilwatch Africa

Friends of the Earth Africa

South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA), South Africa

Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Nigeria

Connected Advocacy, Nigeria

Friends of Lake Turkana, Kenya

We the People, Nigeria

Bio Vision Africa (BiVA)

Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ)

New Apostolic Centre for Development (NCD)

OilWatch Ghana

Centre de Recherche et d’Actions sur les Droits Économiques, Sociaux et

Culturels (CRADESC), Sénégal

Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA)

Policy Alert, Nigeria

Justiça Ambiental, Mozambique

Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN)

Community Development Advocacy Foundation (CODAF),

African Center for Environment and Rural Development (ACERD),

Host Community Network, Nigeria (HoCoN),

Zero Waste Ambassadors (ZeWA)

Earthlife Africa JHB

Right to Know Campaign

Oil Change International

World March of Women -Kenya

Centre pour la Justice Environnementale – Togo

Les Amis de la Terre – Togo

Africa Institute for Energy Governance, Uganda

Action 54, South Sudan

Leadership Initiative for Transformation & Empowerment (LITE-Africa),


Kebetkache Women Development & Resource Centre – Nigeria

Women Initiative on Climate Change – Nigeria

Annie Rural Health and Women Foundation – Nigeria

League of Queens International Empowerment, Nigeria,

LVC Southern and Eastern Africa

34.Kalkal Human Rights Development Organization (KAHRDO), Somalia

  1. Abahlali baseMjondolo Movement SA.
  2. Uplift (UK)
  3. War on Want (UK/Global)
  4. Sanlakas – Philippines
  5. AbibiNsroma Foundation Ghana
  6. Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (US/Global)
  7. Hawai’i Institute for Human Rights (Hawai’i)
  8. Oceania Human Rights (Hawai’i)
  9. Aotearoa New Zealand Human Rights Foundation (New Zealand)
  10. South African Faith Communities Environmental Institute


  1. Urgewald (Germany)
  2. Friends of the Earth International
  3. Center for International Environmental Law
  4. Transport & Environment
  5. Global Justice Now (UK)
  6. Africa Climate Movement Building Space
  7. Appui aux Initiatives Communautaire de conservation de

l’environnement et de Développement Durable

  1. Raise Your Voice Saint Lucia Inc.
  2. Women for Green Economy Movement Uganda
  3. Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO)



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