2010 Human Rights Report

from US Department of State
Published on 08 Apr 2011 View Original

Lesotho is a constitutional monarchy with a population of 1.88 million. Under the constitution, the king is head of state but does not actively participate in political activities. The prime minister is head of government and has executive authority. In the 2007 election, the governing Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) party retained a majority of seats in the legislature; domestic and international observers characterized the election as free and peaceful. Other observers, including members of the leading opposition parties and some nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), stated it was not entirely fair. Issues from the 2007 election were still contested and remained the greatest source of political conflict between the ruling and opposition parties. Security forces reported to civilian authorities, but there were instances in which elements of the security forces acted independently of civilian control.

The following human rights abuses were reported: killings, torture, and abuse by police; mob violence; poor prison conditions; lengthy pretrial detention, and long trial delays. Societal abuses included abuse of spouses and children; sexual abuse; restrictions on women's rights; discrimination against women; stigmatization of persons with disabilities and HIV/AIDS; and child labor.