Statement by U.S. Department of State on Concerns about Security Sector Reform in Lesotho

Statement by Jeff Rathke, Director, Office of Press Relations 

U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesperson

The United States is concerned that no one has been held accountable for the August 2014 political unrest and violence between the military and police, yet the Government of Lesotho has reinstated one of the most polarizing figures from that difficult period as Commander of the Lesotho Defense Force. Other recent troubling developments include reports of kidnappings and abuse within the Lesotho Defense Force, the murder of a prominent supporter of the major opposition party, and the failure to provide security for former Prime Minister Thabane.

As a longstanding friend and partner, the United States urges the Government of Lesotho to take robust, concrete steps to address these concerns and demonstrate its commitment to the rule of law and to the vital democratic principle of civilian control over the military. We encourage the Government of Lesotho to move forward vigorously with plans for security sector reform in a way that builds the confidence of Basotho in their government.