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Human Rights Council – Universal Periodic Review

For use of information media; not an official record

Date: Monday 5 May (afternoon)

Country under review: LESOTHO (KINGDOM OF)

Concerned country - national report

  • Represented by a 19-member delegation and headed by H.E. Mrs. Mpeo MOILOA-MAHASE, Ministry of Justice and Human Rights and Correctional Services and of Law and Constitutional Affairs
  • National report presented by the head of delegation

Highlights

  • Severe impact of the financial crisis on ability to fully protect human rights.
  • De facto moratorium on death penalty since 1995.
  • Vulnerable groups, such as people infected with HIV/Aids have free access to health services.
  • Prohibition of torture guaranteed by the Constitution and under common law. Convention against torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment ratified in 2000.
  • Prisons conditions improved; renovation of places of detention. Further structural improvement will depend on availability of adequate resources.
  • Increase in representation of women in the government in the recent years.

Interactive discussion

Number of States taking part in the discussion

  • Member States: 25
  • Observer States: 22

Positive achievements

  • Sexual offences Act and Legal Capacity of Married Persons Act to combat discrimination against women.
  • Increase in representation of women in Government and decision-making positions.
  • Efforts to eradicate poverty and to further enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights.
  • Efforts to ensure wide access to health care, despite limited capacities due to financial crisis.
  • National policies to broaden access to education for all children.
  • School fees of orphans of HIV/Aids victims catered for by the government.

Issues and questions raised 

  • Definitive abolition of death penalty.
  • Child labour and sexual exploitation of children.
  • Female genital mutilations.
  • Discrimination against women in customary law.
  • HIV/Aids rate.
  • Poverty and food insecurity
  • Freedom of expression.
  • Criminalisation of same sex relationships.

Recommendations

  • Pursue efforts to eradicate poverty and promote right to health and education.
  • Abolish the death penalty formally.
  • Eradicate definitively female genital mutilations.
  • Raise awareness regarding discrimination against women to combat contrary customary practice.
  • Raise minimum age of criminal responsibility to be in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • Ensure the full enjoyment of the right to freedom of expression and assembly.
  • Remove reservation to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.
  • Extend a standing invitation to all UN Special Procedures.
  • Ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

Response of the concerned country

  • Female genital mutilations - This practice does not exist in Lesotho.
  • Prevalence of HIV/Aids– A strategic plan is underway to deal with the current challenges faced by rehabilitation centres. Personnel of these centres have been given adequate training.
  • Establishment of a human rights commission - Not enough resources and infrastructure in the country to pursue with this recommendation.
  • Standing invitation to UN Special procedures– Review mechanism of the African Union is adequate to ensure the protection of human rights in Lesotho. Since the country has limited capacity, duplication of mechanisms should be avoided.

Adoption of the report by the UPR working group scheduled on
Friday 7 May, 17:30 – 18:00

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