Lesotho Lesotho: Promotion Mission, 2006

Dates:3 - 7 April 2006
Session:40th Ordinary Session
15 - 29 November 2006. Banjul, Gambia

The promotional mission to Lesotho was undertaken from 3 to 7 April 2006 by Ms Sanji Mmasenono Monageng, Commissioner responsible for promotional activities in the Kingdom of Lesotho, accompanied by Ms. Fiona Adolu, Legal Officer at the Secretariat of the ACHPR. The objectives of the mission were to:
  1. Promote the African Charter and exchange views and information on its implementation;
  2. Raise awareness of and enhance the visibility of the African Commission and its functions especially among the relevant government departments and institutions, and in civil society;
  3. Follow up on recommendations arising from the Concluding Observations adopted by the African Commission following its examination of Lesotho’s initial report submitted in accordance with its obligations under Article 62 of the African Charter;
  4. Encourage Lesotho to establish a national human rights institution;
  5. Encourage Lesotho to submit its 1st Periodic Report in accordance with its obligations under Article 62 of the African Charter;
  6. Encourage a closer relationship between the African Commission and the Kingdom of Lesotho and between the African Commission and the civil society human rights NGOs in Lesotho.

Recommendations

To the government of Lesotho

  1. Continue to undertake aggressive HIV/AIDS campaigns within the population in order to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS in the country taking into account International Guidelines on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights, according to which campaigns should not discriminate against people living with HIV/AIDS. HIV/AIDS. Support programs should not only target people living with HIV/AIDS but also the care givers who also need support and assistance.
  2. Ensure that Economic, Social and Cultural Rights are rendered justiciable.
  3. Ensure that the process of making primary education compulsory is finalised and the policy implemented.
  4. Ensure that Chinese business persons acquire the permits required for them to live and work in Lesotho and in addition pay the relevant taxes as this would assist in eliminating unfair business practices, and consequently reduce the tensions that may exist between the local business persons and the Chinese business persons and therefore avoiding instances of xenophobia.
  5. Accelerate the process of enacting into law the following bills which have already been drafted -:
    • Children’s Protection and Welfare Bill
    • Married Persons and Equality Bill
    • National Youth Council Bill
  6. Undertake, through its relevant government institutions, awareness and sensitisation campaigns about the Married Persons and Equality bill aimed at informing the Members of the National Assembly of the importance of enacting it into law.
  7. Strengthen the provision of legal aid services so that all indigent persons can benefit from these services.
  8. Consider abolishing the death penalty since Lesotho has in practice not carried out executions in the last 10 years. This would be in line with the African Commission’s Resolution Urging States to envisage a Moratorium on the Death Penalty and the Resolution on the Composition and Operationalization of the Working Group on the Death Penalty.
  9. Amend the Statute establishing the PCA to provide for the public to address their complaints directly to the PCA.
  10. Build the capacity of the PCA members of staff in order to enable them handle police officers against whom complaints have been brought. 
  11. Provide the police force with adequate resources that will enable them meet their logistical demands, as this would facilitate them to carry out their functions without inadvertently violating people’s human rights.
  12. Carry out consultations with the police force, the PCA and other relevant institutions with view to amending the Police Act to reflect the restructuring within the police force and in order to bring it also in line with other relevant SADC legislation. In this respect, the process of amending the Police Act and the Internal Security Act should be accelerated.
  13. Ensure basic education of all children, regardless of sex and facilitate human rights education and training on the African regional human rights system among all the  government institutions that deal with human rights issues.
  14. Ensure the speedy establishment of the National Human Rights Institution in accordance with the Paris Principles in order to promote and protect human rights issues in the country.
  15. Ensure the proper application of the Speedy Trials Act which was enacted to deal with the problem of prison congestion in order to implement the recommendations of the Ombudsman, in respect of the conditions of prisons in Lesotho.
  16. Ensure the separation of prisoners held on remand from convicted prisoners in prisons.
  17. Ensure adequate and necessary medical services for people held in places of detention.
  18. Authorise a mission to be undertaken by the Special Rapporteur on Prisons and conditions of detention in Africa to the Kingdom of Lesotho.
  19. Maintain its good representation of women in local government and encourage equal representation across other government departments, agencies and in all decision making bodies.
  20. Submit its First Periodic Report under Article 62 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which is overdue.
  21. Establish a forum through which the Judiciary and the Law Society of Lesotho can amicably resolve the issues that have led to the tensions currently existing between them.
  22. Ensure that the Bar and the Faculty of Law are involved in the process of appointments to the Bench.
  23. Ensure that the judicial appointments are opened and fair.
  24. Ensure the integrity and the preservation of independence of the Courts.
  25. Consider expanding the composition of the Judicial Services Commission to include representatives from the Bar and the Faculty of Law.
  26. Consider appointing local lawyers more on pro-deo and pro-bono work to avoid tensions that seem to be evident mainly because of appointment of white South African lawyers to do such work.

To Political Parties

  1. Adopt laws that provide for equal representation of women and men in their executive committee structures and all other structures.

To the Media

  1. Familiarise themselves with the African human rights system, particularly the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa.
  2. Assist the government of Lesotho to sensitise the general public about human and peoples’ rights.

To NGOs

  1. Undertake sensitisation campaigns in order to create awareness about human and peoples’ rights among the people of Lesotho.
  2. Consider applying for Observer Status at the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

To Donor agencies and institutions

  1. Provide material and financial resources to NGOs in Lesotho to facilitate them carry out activities aimed at promoting and protecting human rights.

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