Republic of Namibia
Republic of Namibia
Joined United Nations: 23 April 1990
Human Rights as assured by their constitution
Updated 22 December 2012
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality
due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death
rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by
age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2012 est.)
Prime Minister since 4 December 2012
President elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a
second term); election last held 27-28 November 2009
Next scheduled election: November 2014
HEAD OF GOVERNMENT
Prime Minister is selected by the President along with the
remainder of the cabinet members from among members of the
National Assembly; election last held 26-27 November 2009
Next scheduled election: November 2014
|DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Black 87.5%, white 6%, mixed 6.5%
note: about 50% of the population belong to the Ovambo tribe and 9% to the Kavangos tribe; other ethnic groups includes Herero
7%, Damara 7%, Nama 5%, Caprivian 4%, Bushmen 3%, Baster 2%, Tswana 0.5%
Christian 80% to 90% (Lutheran 50% at least), indigenous beliefs 10% to 20%
Republic with 13 regions; Legal system is based on Roman-Dutch law and 1990 constitution
Executive: President elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 27-28 November
2009 (next to be held in 2014) Prime Minister and Cabinet appointed by the president from among the members of the National
Legislative: Bicameral legislature consists of the National Council (26 seats; two members are chosen from each regional council
to serve six-year terms) and the National Assembly (72 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: National Council - elections for regional councils to determine members of the National Council held on 29-30 November
2004 (next to be held on 26-27 November 2010); National Assembly - last held on 26-27 November 2009 (next to be held in
Judicial: Supreme Court (judges appointed by the president on the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission)
English 7% (official), Afrikaans common language of most of the population and about 60% of the white population, German 32%,
indigenous languages 1% (includes Oshivambo, Herero, Nama)
There is a high density of rock paintings in Namibia. The most famous archaeological site is the Apollo 11 Cave, containing rock
paintings dating back at least 25,000 years. Bushmen (also called San) are generally assumed to have been the earliest inhabitants of
the region comprising today's Namibia, Botswana and South Africa. The bushmen were hunters and gatherers with a nomadic
lifestyle. The most important part of their diet consisted of fruits, nuts and roots, but they also hunted different kinds of antelopes.
Over time, many different ethnic groups of immigrants settled in Namibia. The Owambo, and the smaller and closely related group
Kavango, lived in northern Namibia and southern Angola. Being settled people they had an economy based on farming, cattle and
fishing, but they also produced metal goods. Both groups belonged to the Bantu nation. They rarely ventured south to the central
parts of the country, since the conditions there did not suit their farming way of life, but traded extensively their knives and
agricultural implements. Until about 2,000 years ago the original hunters and gatherers of the San people were the only inhabitants in
Namibia. At this time the Nama (also known as Namaqua, Khoi-Khoi or Hottentot) settled around the Orange River in the south
on the border between Namibia and South Africa where they kept herds of sheep and goats. Both the San and the Nama were
Khoisan peoples, and spoke languages from the Khoisan language group. In the 9th century Damara (also known as Bergdama or
Berg Damara), another Khoisan group, entered Namibia. It is unclear where they came from, but they settled in the grasslands in
central Namibia, known as Damaraland. During the 17th century the Herero, a pastoral, nomadic people keeping cattle, moved into
Namibia. They came from the east African lakes and entered Namibia from the northwest. In the 19th century white farmers, mostly
Boers moved farther northwards pushing the indigenous Khoisan peoples, who put up a fierce resistance, across the Orange River.
Known as Oorlans, they adopted Boer customs and some spoke a language similar to Afrikaans. Armed with guns, the Oorlans
caused instability as more and more came to settle in Namaqualand, and eventually conflict arose between them and the Nama. The
last group to arrive in Namibia before the Europeans were the Basters – descendants of Boer men and African women (mostly
Nama). Being Calvinist and Afrikaans-speaking, they considered themselves to be culturally more "white" than "black". As with the
Oorlans, they were forced northwards by the expansion of white settlers when, in 1868, a group of about 90 families crossed the
Orange River into Namibia. The first European to set foot on Namibian soil was the Portuguese Diogo Cão in 1485, who stopped
briefly on the Skeleton Coast, and raised a limestone cross there, on his exploratory mission along the west coast of Africa. The
next European to visit Namibia was also a Portuguese, Bartholomeu Diaz, who stopped at what today is Walvis Bay and Lüderitz
(which he named Angra Pequena) on his way to round the Cape of Good Hope. The inhospitable Namib Desert constituted a
formidable barrier and neither of the Portuguese explorers went far inland. In 1793 the Dutch authority in the Cape decided to take
control of Walvis bay, since it was the only good deep-water harbour along the Skeleton Coast. When the United Kingdom took
control of the Cape Colony in 1797, they also took over Walvis Bay. But white settlement in the area was limited, and neither the
Dutch nor the British penetrated far into the country. In 1805 the London Missionary Society began working in Namibia, moving
north from the Cape Colony. In 1811 they founded the town Bethanie in southern Namibia, where they built a church, which today
is Namibia's oldest building. In the 1840's the German Rhenish Mission Society started working in Namibia and co-operating with
the London Missionary Society. It was not until the 19th century, when European powers sought to carve up the African continent
between them in the so called "Scramble for Africa", that Europeans – Germany and Great Britain in the forefront – became
interested in Namibia. The first territorial claim on a part of Namibia came in 1878, when Britain annexed Walvis Bay on behalf of
the Cape Colony, confirming the settlement of 1797. Being the only German colony considered suitable for white settlement at the
time, Namibia attracted a large influx of German settlers. In 1903 there were 3,700 Germans living in the area, and by 1910 their
number had increased to 13,000. Another reason for German settlement was the discovery of diamonds in 1908. Diamond
production continues to be a very important part of Namibia's economy. The ongoing local rebellions escalated in 1904 into the
Herero and Namaqua Wars of 1904-1908, when the Herero attacked remote farms on the countryside, killing approximately 150
Germans. In 1915, during World War I, South Africa, being a member of the British Commonwealth and a former British colony,
occupied the German colony of South-West Africa. On December 17, 1920, South Africa undertook administration of South-West
Africa under the terms of Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations and a Class C Mandate agreement by the League
Council. During the 1960s, as the European powers granted independence to their colonies and trust territories in Africa, pressure
mounted on South Africa to do so in Namibia, which was then South-West Africa. On the dismissal (1966) by the International
Court of Justice of a complaint brought by Ethiopia and Liberia against South Africa's continued presence in the territory, the U.N.
General Assembly revoked South Africa's mandate. Also in 1966, the South-West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO) began
guerrilla attacks on South Africa, infiltrating the territory from bases in Zambia. After Angola became independent in 1975,
SWAPO established bases in the southern part of the country. Hostilities intensified over the years, especially in Ovamboland. In
October 1989, under orders of the UN Security Council, Pretoria was forced to demobilize some 1,600 members of Koevoet
(Afrikaans for crowbar). The 11-month transition period ended relatively smoothly. By February 9, 1990 the Constituent Assembly
had drafted and adopted a constitution. Independence Day on March 21, 1990 was attended by numerous international
representatives, including the main players, the UN Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar and President of South Africa F W
de Klerk, who jointly conferred formal independence on Namibia. Sam Nujoma was sworn in as the first President of Namibia
watched by Nelson Mandela (just released from prison) and representatives from 147 countries, including 20 heads of state. On
March 1, 1994, the coastal enclave of Walvis Bay and 12 offshore islands were transferred to Namibia by South Africa. In 1998,
with one year until the scheduled presidential election when Sam Nujoma would not be allowed to participate in since he had
already served the two terms that the constitution allows, SWAPO amended the constitution, allowing three terms instead of two.
They were able to do this since SWAPO had a two-thirds majority in both the National Assembly and the National Council, which
is the minimum needed to amend the constitution. Sam Nujoma was reelected as president in 1999, winning the election, that had a
62.1% turnout with 76.82%. Second was Ben Ulenga from the Congress of Democrats (COD), that won 10.49% of the votes.
Nujoma was succeeded as President of Namibia by Hifikepunye Pohamba in 2003. One of SWAPO's policies, that had been
formulated long before the party came into power, was land reform. Namibia's colonial and apartheid past had resulted in a situation
where about 20 percent of the population owned about 75 percent of all the land. In 1999 Namibia signed a mutual defence pact
with its northern neighbour Angola. This affected the Angolan Civil War that had been ongoing since Angola's independence in
1975. Both being leftist movements, SWAPO wanted to support the ruling party MPLA in Angola to fight the rebel movement
UNITA, whose stronghold was in southern Angola. The defence pact allowed Angolan troops to use Namibian territory when
attacking UNITA. The Angolan civil war resulted in a large number of Angolan refugees coming to Namibia. At its peak in 2001
there were over 30,000 Angolan refugees in Namibia. The calmer situation in Angola has made it possible for many of them to
return to their home with the help of UNHCR, and in 2004 only 12,600 remained in Namibia. Most of them reside in the refugee
camp Osire north of Windhoek. Namibia also intervened in the Second Congo War, sending troops in support of the DRC's
president Laurent-Désiré Kabila.
Source: Wikipedia: History of Namibia
The economy is heavily dependent on the extraction and processing of minerals for export. Mining accounts for 8% of GDP, but
provides more than 50% of foreign exchange earnings. Rich alluvial diamond deposits make Namibia a primary source for
gem-quality diamonds. Namibia is the world's fourth-largest producer of uranium. It also produces large quantities of zinc and is a
small producer of gold and other minerals. The mining sector employs only about 3% of the population. Namibia normally imports
about 50% of its cereal requirements; in drought years food shortages are a major problem in rural areas. A high per capita GDP,
relative to the region, hides one of the world's most unequal income distributions, as shown by Namibia's 70.7 GINI coefficient. The
Namibian economy is closely linked to South Africa with the Namibian dollar pegged one-to-one to the South African rand. Until
2010, Namibia drew 40% of its budget revenues from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU). Increased payments from
SACU put Namibia's budget into surplus in 2007 for the first time since independence. SACU allotments to Namibia increased in
2009, but dropped in 2010 and 2011 because of the global recession, reducing Namibia's overall SACU income. Increased fish
production and mining of zinc, copper, and uranium spurred growth in 2003-08, but growth in recent years was undercut by poor
fish catches, a dramatic decline in demand for diamonds, higher costs of producing metals, and the global recession. A rebound in
diamond and uranium prices in 2010 and the reopening of copper mines in 2011 provided a significant boost to Namibia's mining
Source: CIA World Factbook (select Namibia)
While the ethnic-based three-tier South African-imposed governing authorities have been dissolved, the current government pledged
for the sake of national reconciliation to retain civil servants employed during the colonial period. The government is still organizing
itself both on a national and regional level.
The Constituent Assembly converted itself into the National Assembly on February 16, 1990, retaining all the members elected on a
straight party ticket.
Namibia has about 40 political groups, ranging from modern political parties to traditional groups based on tribal authority. Some
represent single tribes or ethnic groups while others encompass several. Most participate in political alliances, some of which are
multiracial, with frequently shifting membership.
SWAPO is the ruling party, and all but one of the new government's first cabinet posts went to SWAPO members. A Marxist
oriented movement, SWAPO has become more pragmatic and now espouses the need for a mixed economy and Democracy.
SWAPO has been a legal political party since its formation and was cautiously active in Namibia, although before implementation of
the UN Plan, it was forbidden to hold meetings of more than 20 people, and its leadership was subject to frequent detention.
SWAPO draws its strength principally, but not exclusively, from within the Ovambo tribe. In December 1976, the UN General
Assembly recognized SWAPO as "the sole and authentic representative of the Namibian people," a characterization other internal
parties did not accept.
A presidential and parliamentary election was held on 27–28 November 2009 in Namibia. It was the fourth general election since
independence and the fifth democratic election. Voting ended on 28 November and official election results, released on 4
December, showed that Hifikepunye Pohamba and his SWAPO Party were re-elected, each with over 75% of the vote. Prior to
the election, the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) was widely expected to score a landslide victory, with the
Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) considered SWAPO's biggest challenger. Fourteen political parties competed for seats in
the National Assembly of Namibia, and twelve candidates ran for the Presidency. A general election will be held in Namibia in 2014
to elect a new National Assembly of Namibia as well as a new President. Current President Hifikepunye Pohamba is unable to
stand for re-election due to term limits.
Source: Wikipedia: Politics of Namibia
Concerns from international experts and local populations over the Okavango Delta ecology in Botswana and human displacement
scuttled Namibian plans to construct a hydroelectric dam on Popa Falls along the Angola-Namibia border; managed dispute with
South Africa over the location of the boundary in the Orange River; Namibia has supported, and in 2004 Zimbabwe dropped
objections to, plans between Botswana and Zambia to build a bridge over the Zambezi River, thereby de facto recognizing a short,
but not clearly delimited, Botswana-Zambia boundary in the river
Refugees (country of origin): 4,322 (Angola) (2011)
|HUMAN RIGHTS STATEMENTS, ANALYSIS AND CRITIQUES
|2011 Human Rights Report: Namibia
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
May 25, 2012
Namibia is a multiparty democracy. The presidential and parliamentary elections held in November 2009 resulted in the re-election of
President Hifikepunye Pohamba and the retention by the ruling South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) of its large
parliamentary majority. SWAPO is a multiethnic party, but it is dominated by the large Ovambo ethnic group. Despite some reported
irregularities and a legal challenge by nine opposition parties that was ongoing at year’s end, international observers characterized the
election as generally free and fair. Security forces reported to civilian authorities.
Three predominant human rights abuses in the country included police use of excessive force, poor detention center conditions, and
violence and discrimination against women and children, including rape, child abuse, and child labor.
Other human rights problems included prolonged pretrial detention and long delays in trials, harassment and political intimidation of
opposition members, and official corruption. Other societal abuses included discrimination against ethnic minorities and indigenous
people; child trafficking, mostly for use as labor; and discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The government took steps to prosecute or punish officials who committed abuses, whether in the security services or elsewhere in the
government, although impunity occurred.
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16 October 2012
Committee on the Rights of the Child
Concluding observations on the consolidated second and third periodic reports of Namibia, adopted by the Committee at its
sixty-first session (17 September–5 October 2012)
2. The Committee welcomes the submission of the consolidated second and third periodic reports of the State party
(CRC/C/NAM/2-3) and the written replies to its list of issues (CRC/C/NAM/Q/2-3/Add.1), which allowed for a better understanding of
the situation of children’s rights in the State party. The Committee expresses appreciation for the constructive dialogue held with the
high-level and multisectoral delegation of the State party.
II. Follow-up measures undertaken and progress achieved by the State party
3. The Committee also welcomes the adoption of the following legislative measures:
(a) Children’s Status Act (Act No. 6 of 2006), which came into effect in November 2008;
(b) Labour Act (Act No. 11 of 2007);
(c) Criminal Procedure Amendment Act (Act No. 24 of December 2003);
(d) Maintenance Act (Act No. 9 of July 2003);
(e) Combating of Domestic Violence (Act No. 4 of June 2003);
(f) Education Act (Act No. 16 of December 2001);
(g) Combating of Rape Act (Act No. 8 of April 2000).
III. Factors and difficulties impeding the implementation of the Convention
7. The Committee takes note of the fact that the State party is one of the countries most affected by climate change and the
increasing impact of natural hazards, such as floods, storms and drought, leading to changes in the disease patterns, reduced agricultural
outputs and food insecurity.
IV. Main areas of concern and recommendations
A. General measures of implementation (arts. 4, 42 and 44, para. 6, of the Convention)
The Committee’s previous recommendations
8. The Committee, while welcoming the State party’s objective assessment of the child rights situation and its efforts to implement
the concluding observations on its initial report (CRC/C/15/Add.14), adopted in 1994, regrets that some of the Committee’s
recommendations contained therein have not been implemented.
9. The Committee urges the State party to take all necessary measures to address those recommendations from the previous
concluding observations that have not been implemented or sufficiently implemented, particularly those relating to legislative reform,
discrimination against girls and children with disabilities, the high incidence of child labour and administration of juvenile justice.
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Freedom In The World 2012 Report
Political Rights Score: 2
Civil Liberties Score: 2
The ruling party, SWAPO, continued to dominate Namibian politics in 2011 despite internal party division, in particular over the choice
of a 2014 presidential candidate. Opposition party challenges to the 2009 elections continued in the Supreme Court. A police investigation
into the scandal that erupted in July 2010 over the looting of a government pension fund was finally opened in October 2011 and
continued at year’s end.
In concurrent parliamentary elections, SWAPO won 54 seats in the 72-member legislature, while RDP took 8 seats. The elections were
praised as free and fair by domestic and international observers, although the latter raised some concerns about pro-SWAPO bias on the
government-run Namibian Broadcast Corporation (NBC), delays in the counting process, and organizational mishaps during the polling
process. Following the contests, nine opposition parties filed a legal challenge calling for the nullification of the parliamentary elections
because of “gross irregularities.” Key allegations included claims that some areas registered turnouts of over 100 percent and concerns
that polling centers failed to post results as they were tallied, as is required by law. The case reached the Supreme Court in October
2011, and a judgment was pending at year’s end. Opposition parties have expressed unhappiness with the Electoral Commission on
several other occasions, most recently when they accused a commissioner, Rodney Guiseb, of having faked his academic qualifications.
Throughout the year, individuals began positioning themselves for the upcoming contest over who would succeed Pohamba as party
president and candidate for the 2014 elections.
The small white minority owns just under half of Namibia’s arable land, and redistribution of property has been slow despite efforts to
accelerate the process. In December 2010, President Pohamba warned that this could become a threat to political stability.
Namibia’s economy has been among the strongest in the region, and the country has consistently been rated positively in terms of
competitiveness and ease of doing business. While the economy contracted 0.7 percent in 2009, it grew 6.6 percent in 2010 and about
3.5 to 4.0 percent in 2011.
Namibia is an electoral democracy. The bicameral legislature consists of the 26-seat National Council, whose members are appointed by
regional councils for six-year terms, and the 72-seat National Assembly, whose members are popularly elected for five-year terms using
party-list proportional representation. The president, who is directly elected for five-year terms, appoints the prime minister and cabinet.
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Report 2012: No longer business as usual for tyranny and injustice ...
24 May 2012
The dispute over the 2009 National Assembly elections remained unresolved in the Supreme Court. The long-running treason trial of
Caprivi detainees continued. Human rights defenders, in particular those considered critical of the government and ruling party, were
attacked by the government and by individuals linked to the government and the ruling South West Africa People’s Organization
The Supreme Court reserved judgement after nine political parties appealed against the ruling which dismissed their challenge to declare
null and void the results of the 2009 National Assembly elections. The parties had made their challenge following inter-party violence and
reports of irregularities by the Electoral Commission of Namibia. President Pohamba of SWAPO was declared the winner in 2009 and
the party won 54 of the 72 National Assembly seats.
Caprivi detainees’ trial
The trial of detainees arrested in connection with the 1999 attacks by a secessionist group, the Caprivi Liberation Army, continued with
no sign of an end. Most of the 112 detainees had been in custody for at least 11 years. Their continued detention violated their right to a
fair trial without undue delay. The death of Bevin Joshua Tubwikale in April brought the number of detainees who have died in custody
since the trial began in 2003 to at least 19.
Freedom of expression, association and assembly
The police used excessive force to arrest peaceful protesters demonstrating against government policies. On 25 January, officers of the
national police and the Windhoek police fired rubber bullets and live ammunition at some 500 taxi drivers who were demonstrating
against traffic fines. At least five demonstrators were injured, including Matheus Leonard.
In May, police officers assaulted Freddy Haixwa, President of the Wisdom Youth Organization (WIYO), who was leading about 400
WIYO demonstrators to the offices of the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture.
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Ending Forced Sterilization of Women and Girls with Disabilities
by Shantha Rau Barriga
Published in: The Huffington Post
July 10, 2012
It's hard to think of many decisions more personal and life-altering than whether and when to have children. Of course, it isn't always a
"decision." Even now, with modern family planning methods, becoming a parent is often unplanned, and sometimes unwanted. But for
some women it is not being able to become a parent that is unplanned and unwanted. That's why it is so important for the Gates
Foundation-sponsored family planning summit in London on July 11 to send a clear message on preventing forced or coerced
Imagine if your right to have a family was taken away from you, without your knowledge or consent, or with "consent" obtained
through deceit or coercion.
Imagine you were sterilized because it was easier than teaching you about effective but less permanent methods of contraception -
including intrauterine devices or hormonal implants. Or to avoid the inconvenience of your menstruation. Shouldn't we also be talking
about these issues when we discuss family planning?
In many parts of the world, women rely on sterilization voluntarily as one of a range of methods for family planning. However, for other
women, including women and girls with disabilities, sterilization is not a choice.
Forced or coerced sterilization is often justified by claiming that it is in the "best interests" of women and girls with disabilities. But how
are those interests defined, and who is defining them? Why isn't there greater attention in protecting women and girls with disabilities
against sexual abuse and exploitation? Why are there so few services to support and empower women with disabilities in decisions about
The right to bodily integrity and the right of a woman to make her own reproductive choices are enshrined in many international human
rights treaties. In particular, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities reinforces the right to found and maintain a family
and to retain fertility on an equal basis with others.
Just as important, women and girls with disabilities should be invited to participate in evaluating and developing legislation, programs and
policies to ensure that their rights, including the right to have a family, are respected and fulfilled.
Women and girls with disabilities are not the only ones who are coerced or forcibly sterilized. Recent accounts from Namibia, Kenya,
Chile and Uzbekistan have revealed that women with HIV have been sterilized without their consent.
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STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY HIFIKEPUNYE POHAMBA, PRESIDENT
OF THE REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA ON THE OCCASION OF THE OPENING OF THE LAST CABINET SESSION FOR THE
12 DECEMBER 2012 WINDHOEK
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On the 9th of February, we met in this Chamber to attend the First Cabinet Session for the year 2012. In subsequent months, we met
every fortnight to fulfill our Constitutional role as the Executive branch of the State and to carry out the mandate of governance
conferred to us by the Namibian people as the ruling Party. In this context, we recommitted ourselves to continue fulfilling this mandate
and addressing the bread and butter issues, and indeed the issues of social and economic development that affect and matter most to our
I am referring to the delivery of public services and social amenities such as high quality health care, education, potable water, housing,
sanitation, and electricity to our people, especially those in rural areas.
Another area of socio-economic development that we undertook to address was the implementation of policies aimed at boosting
economic growth and the industrialization of our national economy in order to address and successfully combat the challenges of
unemployment and poverty, especially among the youth, women and the vulnerable groups in our society.
The time has passed and the year has come to an end. We are meeting here today for the last Cabinet Session of 2012. It is only natural
for us to look back at our work during the passing year and assess the level of successes that we have achieved and the challenges that
we confronted during that period.
I must say that 2012 was a momentous year in the life of our nation. It was a time during which our nation faced multiple challenges
including the downturn of the global economy, industrial actions in a number of sectors of the economy, and the unacceptable level of
unemployment, especially among the youth and women. Despite these challenges, we forged ahead with determination to implement
polices across the entire spectrum of socio-economic development in our country.
The SWAPO Party Government is determined to ensure that no Namibian citizen is left behind. All Namibians, whether individuals or
communities, should enjoy the fruits of our independence. This was the objective of our heroes and heroines who died for the cause of
Against this background, I believe that all corners of Namibia should benefit from development. This can only be achieved if we speedily
implement the policy of decentralization within the context of a unitary State as provided for under Article 1 sub-article 1 of the
Namibian Constitution. I therefore direct all Offices, Ministries and Agencies to ensure that the policy of decentralization is fully and
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Press Releases: INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS DAY: DECEMBER 10 2012
Published: Dec 11, 2012 - 08:07 AM
Windhoek-Namibia, December 9 2012]: My fellow Namibians, tomorrow, December 10 2012, NamRights joins Namibia, the UN, and
the International Community (IC) at large, to celebrate the 64th anniversary of the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human
As you might recall, on December 10 1948, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted UDHR as “a common standard of achievement
for all peoples and all nations […]” and called upon all UN Member States “to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded
principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories.”
It is common cause that, UDHR---which was adopted in the aftermath of the barbaric disregard and contempt for human rights which
had occurred World War II and prior thereto---was hailed as the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of
opinion and expression and belief as well as freedom from fear and want. These freedoms have been proclaimed as the highest aspiration
of the common people and UDHR declares and embodies the ideal that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
Furthermore, through the UN Charter, all UN Members States have reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and
worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women. They have determined to promote social progress and better
standards of life in greater freedom. To promote social progress and better standards of life in greater freedom as well as the dignity and
worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women was also the principal objective of the foundation of the Republic
of Namibia based upon the principles of democracy, the rule of law and justice for all and in order to secure justice, equality, liberty and
solidarity for all Namibian residents.
However, as we celebrate the International Human Rights Day 2012, NamRights remains ever-concerned about the fact that more than
22 years after the establishment of the Republic of Namibia, the right of every Namibian to democracy, the rule of law and justice
remained elusive and largely unattainable. This state of affairs becomes evident and even more pronounced by the fact that the
overwhelming majority of Namibian citizens remained subjected to some of the most abominable socio-economic and socio-political
conditions. For example:
Socio-economic justice remained chimera for the majority of the Namibian people, whose right to an adequate standard of living and
continuous improvement of living conditions, whose right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental
health and whose right to education remained meaningfully un-recognized, un-respected, un-protected and un-fulfilled.
Over 90 percent of Namibians residents continue to be faced with even more severe and seemingly unending life-threatening socio-
economic hardships. These menaces include abject poverty, social exclusion, gross socio-economic inequalities and inequities, high rates
of unemployment, gender-based and other forms of violence, chronically and alarmingly high maternal, infant and under-five mortality
ratios, widespread poverty among children, women, persons with disabilities and members indigenous minority groups. Hunger, chronic
child malnutrition, and alcohol and drug abuse (ADA) have also unabatedly remained severe and life threatening as ever before.
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Ombudsman opens Erongo regional office
By: ADAM HARTMAN
THE Office of the Ombudsman opened its Erongo regional office in Swakopmund on Friday.
The new office is situated in the same building as the Swakopmund Magistrate’s Court.
The official opening of the office was designed to coincide with Human Rights Day celebrated yesterday.
“With this new office, our service is made accessible to more Namibian citizens to promote and defend human rights and good
governance,” said Ombudsman John Walters.
Dr Peingeondjabi Shipoh, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Justice, said the opening of the regional office was part of the
government’s decentralisation policy.
“This does not mean we interfere with the ombudsman’s work. The ombudsman is an independent body to ensure concerns of the
public regarding government institutions. The only link they have with the ministry is for financial assistance and moral support,” said
The ombudsman investigates complaints about administration of government, including municipalities, town and village councils and
parastatals, as well as human rights complaints against any person or institution in Namibia.
“We are often accused of taking long before resolving complaints, but now we are committed to resolve issues in 90 days, come hell or
high water,” Walters vowed.
There are already ombudsman’s offices in Keetmanshoop and Oshakati, and soon new offices will also open in the Kavango and
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President since 21 March 2005