Recent Developments in Lesotho

The Lesotho National Federation of the Organizations of the Disabled (LNFOD) held a meeting aimed at briefing the Portfolio Committee on the state of persons with disability. The meeting resulted in Members of Parliament emphasizing the need to have a Disability Equity Bill. LNFOD said there was a need to eradicate discrimination against persons with disabilities, and their livelihoods should be improved through the adoption of national strategies that afford them equal opportunities, thus ensuring their full participation in all social, economic and political aspects of life.

According to the Bureau of Statistics, PWDs constitute 3.7% of the total population of Lesotho, with 2.1% being male and 1.6% being female. The most prevalent forms of disabilities in Lesotho are visual, hearing, mobility, remembering, self-care and communication impairments. Most youths with disabilities are socially and economically marginalized, and often face even higher barriers to starting and running businesses.

Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA) in collaboration with Lesotho Council of Non- Governmental Organizations (LCN), held a meeting for CSOs to discuss measures to put an end to child marriages. The meeting held under the theme: “Particularity of Rights, Diversity of Context: Opportunities for Policy Action Towards the Reformative Democratic Architecture in Ending Child and Early Marriage in Lesotho” was supported by the European Union.

The Child Marriage Act of 1974 recognise that the years of marriage should be 21. However, it allows girls to be married at 16 and boys to marry at 18. This according to WLSA is an infringement of childhood that should be enjoyed by children given the victims, more often than not, are girls.
WILSA highlighted the need to enact a new law that should be in line with the international legal framework, which Lesotho is a signatory to. Furthermore, the law should draw a clear line between the customary law, which more often than not has been used as the safety net to most abductions done to girls in the name of marriage.

Progressive Association of Lesotho Teachers (PALT), in partnership with the Ministry of Labour and Employment, held a one-day workshop entitled: Trends and Impact of Youth Unemployment: The Policy Options and Priorities for Lesotho. The meeting was attended by youth organizations, as well as other community-based organizations and trade unions. The concerns expressed by the Government through the ministry was visible in the statistical data that was presented, which showed that 75% of youth in Lesotho are employable but out of jobs and the impact therein is manifested in the drug and alcohol abuse as well as crime rates that are increasing at an alarming rate. PALT showed that the enrolment seen in high schools and institutions of higher learning vis-à-vis the number of job opportunities available contributes a lot to absurd behaviour seen in youth.

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