King of Swaziland approves new constitution amid international concerns Kate Heneroty at 8:54 AM ET
[JURIST] After sending a draft back to lawmakers [JURIST report] for reconsideration earlier this month, King Mswati III [BBC profile] of Swaziland has signed a new constitution [draft text and summary] for the sub-Saharan African nation amid concerns that it is undemocratic and designed to maintain the monarch's political power over the country. Copies of the finalized charter constitution were not released to journalists, but the draft approved by the parliament in June [JURIST report] permited freedom of speech, assembly and religion, although it give the King authority to veto anything against the public interest. African Union officials have criticized Mswati for his ban on opposition parties and ability to interfere with the judiciary. The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights [official website] has set a 6-month deadline for Swaziland to conform with the African Charter [text], which provides for continent-wide freedom of association and independence of the judiciary. Reuters has more.
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