"Two new laws, one currently going through the legislative pipeline and another enacted last year, are key to addressing the confluence of social problems that are contributing to Lesotho's humanitarian crisis.I have been praying for some such action on the part of Lesotho authorities for a while. This is a victory for the Mosotho woman and, on a grander scale, the beginning of the end of the reign of HIV/AIDS. It is simply marvellous and encouraging. Keep it up!
'Because HIV/AIDS is undermining our social institutions and economy, it is crucial that the Sexual Offences Act be utilised now that it is law,' Limakatso Chisepo, director of social welfare at the Ministry of Health, told IRIN.
'The act is important because it thoroughly defines sexual violations. It contains revised definitions of rape, including within the marital situation,' said Sakoane Sakoane, counsel for the Lesotho Law Reform Commission.
Before the act, women could not refuse sex with their husbands. They may do so today, and if the husband forces himself on his spouse, he is guilty of marital rape.
'Even if sex is consensual, if you withhold the information that you are HIV-positive from your sex partner, it is a crime - this was a grey area before. It is also a criminal offence now to deliberately infect another person with HIV,' Sakoane said."