Lesotho Court Decision Upholds Discrimination against Women

Washington

Following a court decision in Lesotho denying the daughter of a chief the right to inherit the chieftainship solely because of her gender, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“The decision of the Court of Appeal to uphold the discriminatory section of the Chieftainship Act so that first-born daughters cannot inherit chieftainship is a step backwards for gender equality in Lesotho,” said Jenai Cox, Africa program manager at Freedom House. “The Court of Appeal has allowed discriminatory customary law to supersede the rights of women.”

“Freedom House is disappointed that the judiciary of Lesotho is sanctioning the unequal treatment of women based only on their gender,” Cox said. “The government and citizens of Lesotho should recognize the equal dignity of the female half of Lesotho through the updating of chieftainship practices to be inclusive of the rights of women.”

Lesotho is rated Free in Freedom in the World 2014, and Partly Free in Freedom of the Press 2013.

To learn more, visit:
Freedom in the World 2013: Lesotho
Freedom of the Press 2013: Lesotho
Special Report: Politics of Judicial Independence in Lesotho
Blog: Freedom at Issue

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Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

Join us on Facebook and Twitter (freedomhouse). Stay up to date with Freedom House’s latest news and events by signing up for our newsletter and our blog.