AFRICA/LESOTHO - "Clashes within military forces with arbitrary arrests and torture", 'Justice and Peace' denounces

Friday, 17 July 2015

Maseru (Agenzia Fides) - Mass protest in Lesotho against human rights abuses by the government of Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili. Earlier this week, the capital Maseru was a "dead city" with offices and shops closed and no taxis in circulation. In early July, the South African leadership had called the situation in Lesotho "explosive", after the killing of the former Chief of Staff, General Maaparankoe Mahao, who according family members was murdered by men wearing military uniforms and drove army vehicles (see Fides 07/07/2015).
The serious human rights violations have been denounced in a joint statement of the Episcopal Commission of Lesotho and the "Lesotho Law Society and Transformation Resource Centre" (TRC).
The document, published on June 24, but only now sent to Agenzia Fides, denounces torture, arbitrary arrests and intimidation of family members of soldiers arrested in connection with the failed coup in late August 2014 (see Fides 08/09/2014).
In order to overcome the crisis, the statement proposes the creation of a Commission of Inquiry, composed of personalities from within and outside Lesotho, who will have to determine the responsibility of the situation in the Country. "What is certain - states the document - is that the causes of the crisis are within the armed forces". The Commission will also have to investigate the root causes of the instability in the Country and recommend constitutional and institutional reforms to be undertaken to ensure its long-term stability and democratization. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 17/07/2015)