In conversation with Bokang Lethunya - Khutlang and Ompha Tshamano
In 2022, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria undertook a research and advocacy project that sought to assess the status of digital rights in Southern Africa. As part of the research component, a report titled The Digital Rights Landscape in Southern Africa. The report came into being after the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the digital gaps and inequalities in Southern Africa.
In this episode, Africa Rights Talk together with Ms. Bokang Lethunya-Khutlang and Mr Ompha Tshamano, discusses the digital rights landscape in Southern Africa with a specific focus on the status of digital rights in Lesotho. The discussion was premised on the challenges that vulnerable communities, namely women, children and people living with disabilities face in realising digital rights in Lesotho. In line with the mandates that States ought to adopt as recommended in the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa, the discussants reflected on the measures that have been adopted through the Ministry of Justice in Lesotho to ensure that human rights are protected online and offline. In this conversation, Ms Lethunya-Khutlang acknowledged the impact that race, class and gender has on people realising digital rights in Lesotho and subsequently the challenges and stifled opportunities that people face when it comes to accessing digital services and technologies in Lesotho. In conclusion, Ms Lethunya-Khutlang emphasised on the importance of individual and communal efforts in order to ensure a healthy digital life.
Ms. Bokang Lethunya-Khutlang works as a Legal Officer in the Human Rights Unit under the Ministry of Justice and Law, having joined the Unit in June 2008. Her duties entail dissemination of human rights to the public through various media spots; receiving complaints on human rights violations for referral to where they could best be resolved; compilation of human rights state party reports. In a nutshell, her duties are on promotion, protection and monitoring of human rights in Lesotho. Since joining the Unit, Ms. Lethunya-Khutlang has benefitted from several trainings by the OHCHR, UNAIDS, University of Pretoria amongst others. She serves as a coordinator and secretariat of all human rights state party reports and thus has played a key role in the compilation of several state party reports both to the UN treaty bodies and the African Commission. These include CEDAW, CMW, ICCPR, UPR, ACHPR and Maputo Protocol. Prior to joining the Unit, Ms. Lethunya-Khutlang worked as a Magistrate from 2004 - 2008. She has also served as a Board Director (2015 – 2018) for the Lesotho Communication Authority which is a regulator for the communications sector in Lesotho.
Mr Ompha Tshamano is an LLM Candidate at the University of Pretoria and a project assistant at the Expression, Information and Digital Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria.
This conversation was recorded on 02 May 2023.
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