MASERU – Sesotho Media and Development (SM&D) this week launched a new accountability and capacity-building project, entering into a working relationship with the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) and She-Hive Association.
Sesotho Media and She-Hive have been awarded a grant contract under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) with a contribution to the tune of €750 000 to spearhead the initiative titled “The Accountability and capacity building initiative by Lesotho CSO, bringing together the Police, CSOs and the public in realisation of Human Rights compliance by the LMPS.”
This is a 48-month long initiative from 2021 to 2025 planned to be implemented in six of the country’s 10 districts, as an intervention seeking to address respect for security sector institutions and the rule of law in Lesotho. The main objective is to support multi-sector participatory change process leading to enhancement of the respect, promotion, fulfillment and protection of human rights by the LMPS.
This will be achieved by, among others, creating platforms for meaningful joint consultations linking the public, police and CSOs in identifying and documenting human rights abuse challenges involving the police. The project will also capacitate LMPS, CSOs, media and community leaders on human rights issues, and lobbying and influencing security sector reforms at policy level on the LMPS’ compliance to human rights.
Speaking of the joint initiative, LMPS Commissioner, Holomo Molibeli, said this was a good start, especially in eliminating police brutality. He expressed hope that during the duration of the project they would achieve all the objectives of the project. “This project is the culmination of the expressed views and recommendations of various stakeholders to remedy LMPS’s human rights challenge.
“As we sign this milestone Memorandum of Agreement with the LMPS, we are privileged, as SM&D, to be representing the collective will and interests of our partners, CSOs, the media and the general public…including all minority groups in Lesotho,” said ’Mamolefe Petlane, Executive Director SM&D.
“This is a project for Basotho, seeking to provide a grassroots-led solution to the human rights challenge, I also thank the EU for this extraordinary support to Basotho and the country at large,” added Petlane.
She noted that it is against this background that the consortium has collaborated with the national police to ensure their support and cooperation throughout the country. The agreement’s key aim is to encourage LMPS to use international human rights standards and principles to police effectively and promote practices that are compliant with the principles of human rights within the service.
It also aims to break the silence on potential human rights violations in the LMPS and will help create safe spaces for discussion on these issues. Its objectives also include strengthening the involvement of local the public, marginalised groups and the LMPS in the security sector reforms process. The project will, however, increase the role of local CSOs in the implementation of the security sector recommendations and reforms through raising awareness among policymakers and SADC heads of state on LMPS compliance in human rights.