Eyob B. Asemie v. the Kingdom of Lesotho, Communication 435/12

Published: 29/Jul/2014
Source: African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights

1. The Secretariat of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Secretariat), received a complaint on 18 December 2012 from Eyob B. Asemie (the Complainant) against the Kingdom of Lesotho (the Respondent State), State Party to the African Charter on  Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Charter).

2. The Complainant submits that in 2003, because of his political views, he fled the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (Ethiopia) to seek asylum in the Respondent State.

3. He states that he was granted refugee status in the Respondent State in 2005, and was allowed to live with his family in the country.

4. The Complainant states that during his stay in the Respondent State he was able to acquire a number of businesses in the country. He adds  that in 2010 he was granted Basotho citizenship, after he revoked his Ethiopian citizenship, in accordance  with the law governing citizenship in the two countries. He alleges that the Principal Secretary (PS) of Home Affairs of the Respondent State did not invite him to the swearing in ceremony of new citizens in accordance with the provisions of the Lesotho Refugee Act. He avers that he challenged the actions of the PS in the High Court, which in its judgment of 13 September 2012, ordered the Minister of Home Affairs to swear him in as a citizen.

5. The Complainant submits that senior officials of the Respondent State have since harassed him and his family, and ignored the High Court orders. He further states that the High Court decision was appealed by the Ministry of  Home Affairs to the Court of Appeal, which overturned the decision of the High Court on 19 October 2012.

6. The Complainant states he was not in the Lesotho when the judgment of the Appeal Court was delivered as he had travelled to the Republic of South Africa (South Africa) on 14 October 2012 to meet officials at the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to seek help regarding the intimidation he was facing in the Respondent State. He adds that following the Court of Appeal Judgment, he was refused entry into Lesotho, as the  Respondent State had by then issued a declaration nullifying his citizenship status and revoking his passport.

7. He alleges that his wife, who was then eight (8) months pregnant, and his two (2) children were still in the Respondent State. He further  states that his wife was refused a visa to South Africa for medical care because the Lesotho Government refused to give her a visa facilitating letter in accordance with the new policy in the Respondent State. He adds that his wife and children have been traumatised by the situation.

8. The Complainant states that the Respondent State has violated the provisions of the African Charter, and had rendered him a stateless person, as he had revoked his Ethiopian citizenship to attain Lesotho nationality.

9. In his Admissibility Submissions, sent to the Secretariat on 10 January 2014, the Complainant informs the Commission of new  developments in the facts of the case. He avers that due to his status as a stateless person, he had applied for temporary asylum in South Africa.


74. It is therefore the Commission’s view that the Complainant failed to exhaust local remedies.

1. In view of the above, the Commission decides:

i. To declare the Communication inadmissible for failure to comply with Article 56 (5) of the Charter
ii. To notify its decision to the parties in accordance with Rule 107 (3) of its Rules of Procedure.

Done in Kigali, Rwanda at the 16th Extraordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights held from 20 29 July 2014

Published: 13 February 2015

Download from ACHPR: https://www.achpr.org/sessions/descions?id=223

From IHRDA database: https://ihrda.uwazi.io/en/entity/w6iecu2m47d2nb6ud8x8byb9

PDF at https://ihrda.uwazi.io/api/files/1511527915500pdj1lfp8cis9aux0l8711nhfr.pdf

Themes: African standards, Naturalisation and Marriage, ID Documents and Passports, Loss and Deprivation of Nationality, Nationality and Refugees, Statelessness
Regions: Lesotho
Year: 2014