Swaziland - Social development

Social services have developed slowly. The government subsidizes workers whose wages fall below specified minimums, and workers' compensation is also provided. A system of pensions exists for formally employed persons. Old-age, disability, and survivorship is covered. The program is funded by 5% contribution by both employees and employers. Retirement is allowed between ages 45 and 50 and pensions are paid as a onetime lump sum equal to contributions plus at least 3% interest. Private work injury insurance is mandatory for all employers.

Women do not have full legal equality with men, and a married woman is virtually a legal minor. Women may not open a bank account, buy land, or leave the country without her husband's permission. In addition, women do not automatically transmit citizenship to their children, and cannot transfer property to them either. Slow and small gains are being made by women in the workforce. Domestic violence is commonplace, and rape is viewed as a minor offense by most men. Child abuse is also a widespread social problem despite legislation protecting the rights of children.

There are continued reports of the use of excessive force by police, and torture during interrogation. The law does not provide for freedom of speech and of the press, and the government restricts these activities. However, human rights organizations are permitted to operate.

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