The gruesome assassination of Thulani Maseko, a highly decorated human rights lawyer, on Saturday 21 January 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 condemn the murder of this renowned activist in his own home and demand that the state assumes its responsibility of arresting the perpetrators and protecting citizens.

Thulani Maseko was well-known as a campaigner committed to the respect of human rights and the 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!


  1. Oilwatch Africa
  2. Friends of the Earth Africa
  3. South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA), South Africa
  4. Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Nigeria
  5. Connected Advocacy, Nigeria
  6. Friends of Lake Turkana, Kenya
  7. We the People, Nigeria
  8. Bio Vision Africa (BiVA)
  9. Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ)
  10. New Apostolic Centre for Development (NCD)
  11. OilWatch Ghana
  12. Centre de Recherche et d’Actions sur les Droits Économiques, Sociaux et Culturels (CRADESC), Sénégal
  13. Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA)
  14. Policy Alert, Nigeria
  15. Justiça Ambiental, Mozambique
  16. Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN)
  17. Community Development Advocacy Foundation (CODAF),
  18. African Center for Environment and Rural Development (ACERD),
  19. Host Community Network, Nigeria (HoCoN),
  20. Zero Waste Ambassadors (ZeWA)
  21. Earthlife Africa JHB
  22. Right to Know Campaign
  23. Oil Change International
  24. World March of Women -Kenya
  25. Centre pour la Justice Environnementale – Togo
  26. Les Amis de la Terre – Togo
  27. Africa Institute for Energy Governance, Uganda
  28. Action 54, South Sudan
  29. Leadership Initiative for Transformation & Empowerment (LITE-Africa), Nigeria
  30. Kebetkache Women Development & Resource Centre – Nigeria
  31. Women Initiative on Climate Change – Nigeria
  32. Annie Rural Health and Women Foundation – Nigeria
  33. League of Queens International Empowerment, Nigeria,
  34. LVC Southern and Eastern Africa 34.Kalkal Human Rights Development Organization (KAHRDO) ,Somalia
  35. Abahlali baseMjondolo Movement SA.
  36. Uplift (UK)
  37. War on Want (UK/Global)
  38. Sanlakas – Philippines
  39. AbibiNsroma Foundation Ghana
  40. Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (US/Global)
  41. Hawai’i Institute for Human Rights (Hawai’i)
  42. Oceania Human Rights (Hawai’i)
  43. Aotearoa New Zealand Human Rights Foundation (New Zealand)
  44. South African Faith Communities Environmental Institute (SAFCEI)
  45. Urgewald (Germany)
  46. Friends of the Earth International
  47. Center for International Environmental Law
  48. Transport&Environment
  49. Global Justice Now (UK)
  50. Africa Climate Movement Building Space
  51. Appui aux Initiatives Communautaire de conservation de l’environnement et de Développement Durable
  52. Raise Your Voice Saint Lucia Inc.
  53. Women for Green Economy Movement Uganda
  54. Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO)
  56. Project 90 by 2030
  57. Power Shift Africa
  59. National Association of professional Environmentalists (NAPE)
  60. Andy Gheorghiu Consulting


  1. Kwami Kpondzo
  2. S’bu. Zikode
  3. Anja Kollmuss
  4. Ruth Kruger
  5. Lorraine Chiponda
  6. Lisa Amélie Tostado
  7. Greg Muttitt
  8. Salome Nduta
  9. Masayoshi Iyoda
  10. Pouné Saberi, MD, MPH
  11. Judite Jofrice
  12. Peter Bosshard
  13. Melinda Janki, Justice Institute Guyana
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