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Features of Constitution1

Is there a constitution? Yes
Does the constitution provide for freedom of religion? Yes


Constitution Year 1993
Last Amended As of 5/11/2011, last amendment was made in 2004
Source UNHCR Refworld
Translation Original was written in English
Current as of 1993 (later amendments not included)

Constitution Excerpts (clauses that reference religion)2

4. Fundamental human rights and freedoms

(1) Whereas every person in Lesotho is entitled, whatever his race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status to fundamental human rights and freedoms, that is to say, to each and all of the following -…
…(i) freedom of conscience; freedom of expression;…

9. Freedom from slavery and forced labor

(1) No person shall be held in slavery or servitude.
(2) No person shall be required to perform forced labor.
(3) For the purposes of this section, the expression "forced labor" does not include -…
… (c) any labor required of a member of a disciplined force in pursuance of his duties as such or, in the case of a person who has conscientious objections to service as a member of a military or air force, any labor that that person is required by law to perform in place of such service;

13. Freedom of conscience

(1) Every person shall be entitled to, and (except with his own consent) shall not be hindered in his enjoyment of, freedom of conscience, including freedom of thought and of religion, freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others, and both in public and in private, to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance.
(2) Every religious community shall be entitled, at its own expense, to establish and maintain places of education and to manage any place of education which it wholly maintains; and no such community shall be prevented from providing religious instruction for persons of that community in the course of any education provided at any places of education which it wholly maintains or in the course of any education which it otherwise provides.
(3) Except with his own consent (or, if he is a minor, the consent of his guardian), no person attending any place of education shall be required to receive religious instruction or to take part in or attend any religious ceremony or observance if that instruction, ceremony or observance relates to a religion other than his own.
(4) No person shall be compelled to take any oath which is contrary to his religion or belief or to take any oat in a manner which is contrary to his religion or belief.
(5) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this section to the extent that the law in question makes provision—
(a) in the interests of defense, public safety, public order, public morality or public health; or
(b) for the purpose of protecting the rights and freedoms of other persons, including the right to observe and practice any religion without the unsolicited intervention of members of any other religion.
(6) A person shall not be permitted to rely in any judicial proceedings upon such a provision of law as is referred to in subsection (5) except to the extent to which he satisfies the court that that provision or, as the case may be, the thing done under the authority thereof does not abridge the rights and freedoms guaranteed by this section to a greater extent than is necessary in a practical sense in a democratic society in the interests of any of the matters specified in subsection (5)(a) or for the purpose specified in subsection (5)(b).
(7) Reference in this section to a religion shall be construed as including references to a religious denomination, and cognate expressions shall be construed accordingly.

16. Freedom of association

(1) Every person shall be entitled to and (except with his own consent) shall not be hindered in his enjoyment of freedom to associate freely with other persons for ideological, religious, political, economic, labor, social, cultural, recreational and similar purposes…

18. Freedom from discrimination

(1) Subject to the provisions of subsections (4) and (5) no law shall make any provision that is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect…
…(3) In this section, the expression "discriminatory" means affording different treatment to different persons attributable wholly or mainly to their respective descriptions by race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status whereby persons of one such description are subjected to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of another such description are not made subject or are accorded privileges or advantages which are not accorded to persons of another such description.
…(5) Nothing contained in any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of subsection (1) to the extent that it makes provision with respect to standards of qualifications (not being standards of qualifications specifically relating to race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status) to be required of any person who is appointed to any office in the public service, any office in a disciplined force, any office in the service of a local government authority or any office in a body corporate established by law for public purposes…

26. Equality and justice

(1) Lesotho shall adopt policies aimed at promoting a society based on equality and justice for all its citizens regardless of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. (2) In particular, the State shall take appropriate measures in order to promote equality of opportunity for the disadvantaged groups in the society to enable them to participate fully in all spheres of public life.

SCHEDULE 1 (Section 51)


In the presence of Almighty God and in the full realization of the responsibilities and duties of the high office of King (Regent) and of the binding nature and binding force of this Oath, I do swear that I will obey and observe the provisions of the Constitution and all other laws of Lesotho, that I will discharge my duties in such manner as to preserve the character of the monarchy as a symbol of the unity of the Basotho Nation, and that I will accordingly abstain from involving the monarchy in any way in politics, or with any political party or group. SO HELP ME GOD.

SCHEDULE 3 (Section 154)


I do swear (or solemnly affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to King , his heirs and successors, according to this Constitution and the laws of Lesotho. So help me God [to be omitted in affirmation]


1.  Data under the "Features of Constitution" heading are drawn from coding of the U.S. State Department's 2008 International Religious Freedom Reports conducted by researchers at the Association of Religion Data Archives. The article by Brian Grim and Roger Finke describes the coding of the International Religious Freedom reports. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.

2.  The constitutional excerpts shown above are reproduced from the websites given in the "Source" field; the links to these websites were active as of May 2011. Where the constitutional text shown on these websites was provided in a language other than English, this text was translated to English by ARDA staff with assistance from web-based translation utilities such as Google Translate and Yahoo! Babel Fish. Constitutional text was converted to American English where applicable. Constitutional clauses were judged to contain religious content based largely on the standards used in the construction of the Religion and State Constitutions Dataset collected by Jonathan Fox. Emphases were added to the text by ARDA staff to highlight religious content in articles that also contain content that does not pertain to matters of religion. The data on this page were correct to the best of the knowledge of the ARDA as of the date listed in the "Current as of" field shown above. Please contact us at support@thearda.com if you are aware of any incorrect information provided on this page.

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