There’s a notable progress towards protecting human rights in Lesotho

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It’s the end-of-the year; time for reflection. Reflection on our government’s efforts to promote and protect human rights. We also just celebrated the human rights day.

It has to be clear that, although Lesotho still has a lot to work on there’s improvements and motivating efforts worth mentioning. This time of the year we should consider our state of affairs as a nation.

No longer do we need to continue in our neglect of human rights recognition. This can help, at least in tracking the efficiency of our human rights mechanisms.

So where do we begin? How about identifying some trends and directions in the sphere of human rights?  

Let’s consider indicators of performance and impacts:

Women’s rights and human trafficking

UPRmid-term report 2018 posits that, according to Lesotho Millennium Development Goals 2015 Report, Lesotho has made progress in promoting gender equality and empowerment of women. Noted progress is in education and non-agricultural wage employment.

The State commemorates African Women’s Month, International Girl Child Day, Day of the African Child,International Men’s Day and International Women’s Day annually,International Day of the elimination of Violence.

Themes for each event are usually aligned to promote gender equality, promotion of the rights of a category in question and alignment with the SDGs.  

Gender Links in collaboration with MGYSR established 50 Centres of Excellence. These are community councils identified to mainstream gender in their planning and programmes.

The Centres of Excellence have been empowered on gender mainstreaming and human rights, and this initiative has widely disseminated information on human rights and gender issues at the grassroots level through the assistance of community councillors.

Children’s Rights

The Ministry of Social Development is leading the process of amending Children’s Protection and Welfare Act (CPWA) 2011, to add sections that criminalise child marriage. 

Furthermore, the Ministry, in conjunction with Development partners such as United Nations Children’s Fund(UNICEF), has run campaigns on media platforms and in communities, sensitising people against child marriage.

Recognizing the role of social protection in addressing poverty and inequality, the country has demonstrated extraordinary commitment by allocating about 9% of its GDP to social protection.

In order to make the investment efficient and effective, both in development and humanitarian contexts, the Governments have been strengthening the social protection system, consolidating policies and strategies, programs to address age-specific vulnerabilities, institutional arrangements, and coordination mechanisms. Child Grand Program is a flagship program the addresses the vulnerabilities and deprivation of children’s access to basic social services.

Right to health

The Ministry of Health has come up with strategies such as the Lesotho National Health Strategy for Adolescents and Young People 2015-2020.

According to the Strategy, adolescents and young people have a right to access information, skills and services concerning their health. The strategy also addresses issues of prevention; contraception and education programs for young people.

There is also a Revised Action Plan for Women and Girls and HIV and AIDS 2012-2016. The Plan addresses issues of access to healthcare services, particularly in the area of HIV/AIDS and ARVs. The Government has also developed a Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategic Plan 2015-2020 which covers sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls. There is also in place a National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP) 2012/13-2016/17.

Evidently, with these few successes Lesotho can be said to be promoting and fulfilling human rights aspirations. It is important to keep these and many other successes in view, so that we have a sense of direction.

These will help track down notable failures in our efforts. Despite the fact that our NHRIs aren’t as efficient, they’ve not altogether failed. Our government should, for future advances, intensify its human rights mechanisms and get the public involved.

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Teboho Polanka
Teboho is a Social Worker, Writer and Inspirational Speaker. He is in pursuit of MSc. in Managerial Psychology. Graduates are able to apply psychological principles and methods to tackle challenges in the work environment and provide effective practical solutions. Acting as industrial-organizational psychologists.