Lesotho

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Lesotho gained independence from Britain in 1966 and is a constitutional monarchy with a dual legal system consisting of customary law and common law. The major challenges facing the country are high unemployment and HIV/AIDS prevalence rate coupled with food insecurity.[1] 

The constitution of Lesotho guarantees the right to equality and non-discrimination on the basis of sex, however customary laws are exempted from this constitutional guarantee.[2] The constitutional principle of non-discrimination does not, however, apply to laws relating to adoption, marriage, divorce, burial, devolution of property, death or other matters that fall under personal law or where Customary Law governs the parties concerned.[3] Lesotho became a party to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1995 and ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in 2004. The country submitted its first report to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in 2010. Lesotho also ratified the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa in 2004.
Lesotho has a dual legal system – Common Law (Roman Dutch Law) and Customary Law (Basotho customs). Both systems have equal validity, although in cases of inconsistency, Statutory Law prevails.[4]

[1] African Development Bank (2005) p.1 [2] Sections 4 and 18, Chapter 2 of the Constitution of Lesotho [3] CEDAW (2010) p.16; Section 18 (4) (c) Constitution of Lesotho [4] CEDAW (2010) p.15
 
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