Lesotho: End culture of impunity to reverse recent spike in human rights violations

Lesotho’s newly elected government must act swiftly to ensure accountability for past human rights violations and end the spike in abuses recorded in recent years, Amnesty International said today.
The organization is releasing a human rights agenda today for the new government ahead of the inauguration of the incoming Prime Minister, Thomas Thabane, on 16 June.
“For the past few years, Lesotho has been characterized by a political and security crisis, resulting in a spike in human rights violations. Since 2014, we have documented a pattern of arbitrary arrests and detentions of opposition party members, journalists, human rights defenders and members of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF),” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa.
“The authorities must demonstrate a clear break from the past and urgently initiate a programme of human rights reform, including accountability and justice for the victims of human rights violations and abuses.”
Amnesty International calls on the new Lesotho government to:
·         End the practice of arbitrary arrests and politically motivated prosecution;
·         Take effective measures to end the practice of torture and other ill-treatment;
·         Ensure accountability and justice for victims of human rights violations and abuses, including the killing of Lieutenant-General Maaparankoe Mahao;
·         End attacks on the right to freedom of expression;
·         Comply with Lesotho’s international and regional human rights obligations and commitments.
Lesotho held an election on 3 June 2017 after former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili lost a vote of no confidence in Parliament on 1 March 2017.
A coalition of four political parties, made up of the All Basotho Convention (ABC), the Monyane Moleleki-led Alliance of Democrats (AD), Basotho National Party (BNP) and the Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL) formed a ruling coalition after combining their 63 parliamentary seats.
For more information or to request an interview, please contact: Amnesty International Canada press officer Sue Montgomery at 613-744-7667 ext 236 or smontgomery@amnesty.ca