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Jubilation in parly over anti violence bill

The Minister of Gender Likeleli Tampane

April 7, 2021 3 min read

3 min read

PANDEMONIUM broke out in the National Assembly on Tuesday when the gender minister, Likeleli Tampane, tabled the Counter Domestic Violence Bill 2021 before the House.

Members of the House burst into ululation and cheerful appreciation of the new bill, in support of the move by the minister.
Presenting the Bill, Tampane said the introduction of the planned legislation was making history in Lesotho, calling for unwavering support from female MPs, who responded with ululation and thundering applause to welcome the bill.

Deputy Speaker of the august House, Lebohang Ramohlanka, read the bill for the first time, duly referring it to the relevant portfolio committee.

The bill is, in the main, aimed at providing the protection of rights which inflict pain and injury on another person physically, sexually, emotionally, verbally, psychologically and economically.

It is focused on and will apply to people who are in domestic relationships, demarcates this particular group of persons while also recognising discrimination experienced by certain groups of people by virtue of their age, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

The bill further abolishes some of the existing abusive practices which degrade children and women such as forced child marriages, levirate and sororate marriages as well as sex between parents and children.

It affords victims protection in the form of court orders known as protection orders in order to prohibit perpetrators from doing certain acts.

The bill also establishes a family court which will deal with problems arising out of family matters and hear cases of domestic violence.

It further provides for the restorative justice councils where proceedings in these instances will be guided by village chiefs.

Again, the bill will provide shelters for victims of domestic violence and will also establish rehabilitation centres for perpetrators of domestic violence.

It will also enable the minister responsible to develop policies on public awareness campaigns in collaboration with relevant stakeholders.

It will encourage integration of issues against domestic violence into school curriculum, inform and educate members of the general public on their rights and duties under this act.

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Enacted into law, the bill will allow institutions or organisations which may be approached to provide assistance or information and to also establish legal or other measures available to ensure their safety and include appropriate measures aimed at reaching rural communities.

Where possible, the bill proposes for the provision of awareness on domestic violence in a language understood by all people and review policies on public awareness relevance and effectiveness, annually.
It also proposes several penalties on offences committed by perpetrators like physical abuse.

A person who commits an offence and is liable on conviction to community service or a fine not exceeding M5 000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years or both.

According to provisions of the bill, a person who perpetrates fellatio or any form of genital stimulation commits an offence and is similarly liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding M5 000 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years or both. LENA

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