Labour government refused to sell guns to repressive regime

The Wikileaks cables reveal that the UK Government refused a US$60M export licence for assault rifles, heavy machine guns, armoured personnel carriers and helicopters to be exported to Swaziland in 2008.

The Swaziland government is dues to spend 10% of its budget on police and the army and has, in recent years has used force to viciously subdue internal dissent. ACTSA says, “King Mswati III rules a population of just over one million people by authoritarian means; political and civic activists are threatened and imprisoned. There is less political freedom than in Zimbabwe.”

Official UK Government documents show that there was enough worry that the arms would be used by the government of Swaziland against its own people. For that reason, the last Labour Government refused the licence; an action that was exactly right.

“We are pleased that the British Government blocked this shipment of arms to Swaziland. We hope they did not get the arms from anywhere else.  The Swazi government has an appalling record of crushing dissent. For a country enduring a major financial crisis, where 70 per cent of the population live in absolute poverty, it can not be right for a government to prioritise repression over tackling poverty and supporting democracy.”

Tony Dykes, Director of ACTSA

The principle that values come before profit is an important one and one that we at LCID will be working hard to ensure the current Conservative-led Government respects.

You can find out more about this story on the ACTSA website.

Right to unionise under threat in Swaziland – act now!

ACTSA, UNISON, PCS and Prospect are joining forces to speak out against a new law to be introduced in Swaziland. The Public Services Bill will make it illegal for public officers to take part in political formations or groups. The definition of those groups has, however, been left vague.

Add your name to the petition to stop the Bill

The UK places restrictions on senior civil servants, in order to maintain the impartiality of high-level public officers. The Public Services Bill in Swaziland is not so equitably targeted. Due to the loose definition of political formations, this will preclude public servants unionising.

This is wrong: speak out to stop it

ACTSA has said:

Harassment, arrests and threats of unemployment or demotion are regular
occurrences for trade unionists and pro-democracy activists in Swaziland. The Public
Services Bill is an anti democratic measure and a further attempt by the Government
of Swaziland to prevent freedom of association and expression. ACTSA supports the
call of trade union movement in Swaziland and internationally that the Bill should be
dropped.

Contact the Swaziland High Commission to call for the Swazi Government to drop the Bill

Fantastic opportunity to visit South Africa with ACTSA

Are you an active member in a youth or student movement? Are you interested in Southern Africa Issues?

Action For Southern Africa want you to be part of their 2010 Youth and Student Delegation to South Africa.

You will gain an in-depth knowledge on Education issues, HIV/AIDS, Civil Society, South Africa Government, South Africa’s relations with the UK and more.

You will also have the opportunity to meet student leaders, trade unionists, NGOs and Government Ministers; as well as to visit HIV/AIDS projects, Urban Townships, rural areas in Swaziland, Robben Island, Manzini and more

The trip is from 27 August to 9 September with pre and post briefings in Lond on the 22 July and 7 October. Flights, accommodations, meals, insurance, and visas are paid for by ACTSA. Applications are due 21 June 9am. Telephone Interviews will be held 1 and 2 July. If you would like to apply click on the link http://www.actsa.org/page-1444-delegation.html

Check out ACTSA’s World Cup actions

The World Cup is on the very near horizon and brings with it more than just the promise of good football. This tournament, which begins in a fortnight, will be held in South Africa and is the largest tournament ever held on African soil.

There is more to this World Cup than football. Though South Africa has made huge strides since the downfall of apartheid, there still remains a society that is racked with inequality, poverty and illness. The scourge of HIV/AIDS is taking its toll on every section of society, yet it is the poorest that feel the pain the most.

Action for South Africa (ACTSA) have launched a ranges of resources and we really encourage you to take a look!

They are calling for action too. They are calling on the British Government to help eradicate mother to child transmission of HIV by the next World Cup in 2014. So much has been done in the developed world, but not enough elsewhere. Help them get this done by taking their e-action!