Vienna, 25 June 2018
The International Ombudsman Institute (IOI) has become aware of very concerning develop-
ments affecting the Office of the Ombudsman of the Kingdom of Lesotho. In the name of our in-
stitution and its members all around the world, we would like to express our grave concern re-
garding the recent public search of Ombudsman Leshele Thoahlane by State police in the room
where he was conducting hearings.
As the only global organization for the cooperation of 191 independent Ombudsman institutions
worldwide, the IOI is committed to promoting and strengthening the concept of ombudsmanship.
In order to further the cooperation and networking, the IOI focuses on enabling the membership
of Ombudsman institutions around the world and supports Ombudsman institutions under threat.
Independence is a fundamental aspect of Ombudsman institutions and should be guaranteed by
provisions in the national legislation, preferably in the Constitution, as well as in practical and
functional terms. The independence of an Ombudsman is therefore also an important require-
ment for membership in the IOI. According to Article 2 and 6 of the IOI Bylaws, an Ombudsman
may „not receive any direction from any public authority which would compromise its independ-
It is therefore with great concern that the IOI has learned that the Ombudsman of Lesotho,
Advocate Leshele Thoahlane, was publicly searched by the police in the room where he was
conducting hearings, in the presence of citizens and journalists. These actions are completely
unacceptable as they demonstrate a total lack of respect for the Office of the Ombudsman and
the Ombudsman himself. This has the potential to undermine the authority of the Office in the
eyes of the citizens of Lesotho who might become reluctant to use their right to complain about
the administration. This would be to the detriment of the principles of good administration and
the rule of law.
The IOI therefore expresses its grave concern with regard to the recent developments in Leso-
tho and reiterates its commitment to strengthening and upholding the independence of Om-
budsman institutions around the world.
Peter Tyndall Caroline Sokoni Günther Kräuter
IOI President IOI President African Region IOI Secretary General.