THE Lesotho National Federation of Organisations of the Disabled (LNFOD) and National University of Lesotho Faculty of Law Legal AID Clinic (NULLAC) have signed a ground-breaking Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
Under the agreement, which was signed on Monday this week, NULLAC will help Basotho living with disabilities with legal aid when necessary, while the MoU also seeks to empower LNFOD members.
In her keynote address during the signing ceremony held at the university, LNFOD Chairperson, Regina Lephoi, said the MoU will assist both parties identify further areas of cooperation, while also enhancing their current partnership.
“This partnership will strengthen our rights advocacy at grassroots level because this is where people with disabilities experience serious discrimination in terms of access to justice,” Ms Lephoi said.
“I hope the two parties signing this agreement today will fulfil their mutual obligations in line with the MoU. I also believe the signing of this agreement will present the university with an opportunity to introspect in terms of how far it can accommodate students with disabilities.
“Most importantly, the signing of this MoU creates significant awareness about disability as a development and not medical issue as many of us perceive it to be.”
Ms Lephoi further noted the abuse of people with disabilities continues to increase, especially the deaf, since the perpetrators know most of the cases are not easy to prosecute in court, hence the significance of the MoU.
“We still have a big challenge of making sure that justice is served regardless of the person’s condition,” Ms Lephoi further said.
On his part, NUL Law Faculty Dean, Kananelo Mosito, said the university had introduced the Law Clinic to assist the most vulnerable members of society.
Dr Mosito (King’s Counsel) further confirmed the Clinic would be representing LNFOD members in the courts of law, in line with Monday’s MoU.
“I have been LNFOD’s legal representative and interacted with them for a long time now, and known their members as some of the most hardworking people in Lesotho, especially in advocating for the rights of the disabled,” Dr Mosito said.
“After the establishment of the Law Clinic, LNFOD officials approached us and that was when we realised we needed to have an agreement of working together with them.
“We see this as one of the most important days in the history of NUL, particularly the Faculty of Law, now that we are going to be providing such outreach programmes.”