Swaziland society is characterized by large socio-economic gaps. Visit AbbreviationFinder to see the definitions of SWZ and acronym for Swaziland. The differences between the urban population and the rural people are prominent, not least with regard to the situation of women. More than half of the population lives in extreme poverty and three out of ten lack access to clean water.
Health care is neglected, with higher child mortality and shorter life expectancy than in countries with a comparable economy. Of the total public expenditure, 9 percent is spent on health care (2009). There are two doctors (2004) and 21 hospital beds (2006) per 10,000 residents. Qualified personnel are available at 70 percent of deliveries (2007). About 50 children out of 1,000 die during their first year of life. The HIV/AIDS epidemic contributes strongly to a low average life expectancy. Swaziland is one of the countries most affected by the disease; 26 percent of the population aged 15-49 are estimated to be infected (2009).
In May 2016, the King appointed 7 experienced attorneys to Supreme Court judges. This happened in contravention of §153 of the Constitution which states that judges must be selected in an open, transparent and qualitative process. The Advocate Council therefore decided in November to boycott the Supreme Court, demanding that the judges be appointed in the bull council with the Constitution.
In September, the High Court ruled that parts of the Sedition and Subversive Activities Act (SSA) and the Suppression of Terrorism Act (STA) were in violation of the Constitution when they violated freedom of speech and assembly. The government appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court.
In May Swaziland was subjected to the UN Human Rights Council’s periodic review (UPR). The country accepted 121 of the Council’s 181 recommendations on safeguarding freedom of speech and assembly, as well as preventing child marriage. In turn, the country rejected the recommendation to abolish the death sentence and safeguard the rights of migrant workers. The ILO was also involved in efforts to secure better rights for the trade union movement in the country, but without results.