UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, on Monday, called on authorities in Eswatini to launch a probe into the killing of a prominent human rights lawyer gunned down this past weekend.
Thulani Maseko, a pro-democracy activist, was shot dead in his home in Mbabane on Saturday.
“Thulani Maseko was a stalwart of human rights who, at great risk to himself, spoke up for many who couldn’t speak up for themselves,” he said in a statement. “His cold-blooded killing has deprived Eswatini, Southern Africa and the world of a true champion and advocate for peace, democracy and human rights.”
The UN rights chief extended his condolences to Maseko’s family, friends, and colleagues.
“I call on the authorities in the Kingdom of Eswatini to ensure a prompt, independent, impartial and effective investigation is held into his killing, in accordance with Eswatini’s constitution and international human rights law, and to hold all those responsible to account in fair trials,” he said.
Mr Maseko was the chairperson of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum, an umbrella association of civil society organisations, business and trade unions, political parties, as well as faith-based and women’s organisations.
The group advocates for a peaceful transition to multi-party democracy in Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland.
At the time of his death, Mr Maseko was a legal representative for two members of parliament facing trial for offences allegedly committed during the civil unrest in 2021.
In 2015, he was acquitted on appeal and released from a year in detention for allegedly criticising the judicial system.