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Judicial CP - April 1999
M2 Press WIRE, 12 April 1999
UN: Human Rights Committee concludes sixty-fifth session from 22 March to 9 April(extract)
In its concluding observations on Lesotho, the Committee expressed concern over discrimination against women that was still being practiced in that country. It emphasized its grave concern that both common and customary law permitted discrimination by treating women as minors. The Committee recommended that the State either repeal or ammend those discriminatory laws and eradicate discriminatory practices which were violations of the Covenant.
Other areas of concern to the Committee were the influence of the military in civilian matters, the excessive use of force by the police and security forces, including shooting suspects who did not use force or violence, and the treatment of detainees while in custody. The Committee urged that measures be taken by the State to ensure the primacy of civil and political authority, and that it investigate instances of violence by police and ensure the prosecution and punishment of those responsible. It noted that the Lesotho report indicated that corporal punishment was still being practiced when medical doctors were present. That practice must be totally abolished both in practice and the law, the Committee recommended.
The denial of rights of the media and journalists was also a serious concern. They were repeatedly harassed and libel suits were often filed against them if they criticized the Government. Also, journalists who worked for the State were fired if they demonstrated any connection with the political opposition. The Committee urged that the State party respect the freedom of the press and desist from violations of their rights.
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