According to a comment by the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA), no one could accuse Namibia's leading human rights institution, the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC), of being sensationalist.
OSISA states that when the LAC warns that the Namibian government is poised to implement a law that will undermine academic freedom, constitute a clear and present danger to Namibian democracy and open society in general, it is time for everyone to sit up and start worrying.
The LAC concludes that the Act 'appears to violate both the letter and spirit of the Constitution, and the very idea of democracy and the free marketplace of ideas, characterised by the freedom of speech, thought and debate which helps sustain any democracy.'
To read the article titled, “Clear and present danger,” click here.Source:OSISA
Southern African countries have agreed to launch a centre to tie together climate change studies across the region.
South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Zambia and Namibia have signed a declaration to launch the Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management in Windhoek, Namibia.
Set up with €50 million in German aid, the centre will streamline regional scientific research on climate change trends and on managing natural resources to deal with them.
To read the article titled, “SA joins neighbours for Windhoek climate change hub,” click here.Source:Mail & Guardian
The United Nations (UN) in Namibia held a workshop with several regions in Windhoek, which was aimed at staff and volunteers of multi-purpose community centres.
The workshop was aimed at equipping participants with hands-on experience in finalising the mission statements and management structures for their centres.
It was also aimed at expanding the knowledge, practice and to provide access to information in multiple formats to rural communities.
To read the article titled, “Centres to promote development,” click here.Source:All Africa
CSOs will jointly host a land workshop to review the current status of Namibia's land reform process, which they have criticised as slow and riddled with inconsistencies and allegations of corruption and favouritism.
Uhuru Dempers of Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Republic of Namibia's Desk for Social Development (DfSD) says the conference will come up with an action plan which Government and specifically the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement will be expected to act upon.
The organisations question the criteria and management of the two programmes, criticising the process as not pro-poor anymore, and not having the desired impact of poverty alleviation.
To read the article titled, “Civil society to hold land indaba,” click here.Source:All Africa
The Namibian Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Joel Kaapanda, has called on African countries to continue developing print and electronic media in a manner that suits their conditions.
Kaapanda, who believes that the exchange of ideas between African countries will result in a developed continent, states that, "If we implement the good things, we would have learnt from others then we are guaranteed of success."
"We appreciate the advancement made by Zimbabwe in the technology and as a country we have to implement some of their programmes to develop our country."
To read the article titled, “Namibian minister Kaapanda urges use of adaptable ICTs,” click here.Source:All Africa
- Organisation of African Youth (OAYouth)
The Organisation of African Youth (OAYouth) is the youth platform for information exchange, forum for debate on African issues and a network of future political, corporate, academic, literary, religious and traditional leaders in all African contexts.
The African Youth Day was declared and adopted by the African Union (AU) in 2006 to be commemorated on 1 November each year. It has since evolved as the most powerful platform of young people of Africa.
OAYouth, in collaboration with Phelps Stokes and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), is hosting the ‘African Youth Day Conference 2011 (AYDAC'11)’ on 1 November 2011 in Johannesburg.
The youth of Africa will convene at AYDAC’11 to celebrate the African Youth Day. The conference will pave way for youth to examine workable methods to improve youth unity as well as strengthen youth economic empowerment through leadership development, entrepreneurship support and agricultural transformation.
- Echo the voice of ordinary young people of Africa;
- Share information and best practices in promoting opportunities for youth encouraging youth to start new entrepreneurship initiatives;
- Establish suitable structures for meeting the unique needs for youth business start-ups in developing economies in Africa;
- Build lasting relationships between youth and business institutions;
- Infuse a gender perspective and rights-based approach to policies and programs for youth;
- Cultivate in the youth the spirit of accountability, transparency and integrity (ATI).
Cost: R2 430 per delegate.
For sponsorships, exhibitions and applications, write to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enquiries: Tel: +27 73 445 4355.
For more about The Organisation of African Youth, refer to www.oayouth.org.Event start date:01/11/2011Event venue:Ingwenya Country Escape, Lanseria, JohannesburgEvent type:Conference
Namibian Deputy Minister of Justice, Tommy Nambahu, says the delay in submitting the latest periodic reports on the realisation and protection of human rights to the United Nations Rights Council is not due to a lack of competent staff.
Responding to a question put to the ministry by Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), Nambahu said the delay is as a result of insufficient human and material resources and an inappropriate internal organisational framework for multi-sectoral coordination on human rights issues.
Namibia has a reporting obligation under seven major international human rights instruments, on which the country has submitted reports on six treaties.
To read the article titled, “State on top of human rights reporting,” click here.Source:All Africa
Namibia's National Human Rights Organisation (NAMRIGHTS) vehemently condemns the apparent blatant murder of a motorist, who was reportedly shot dead by members of the Namibian Police (NamPol) in the City of Windhoek in the small hours of Sunday morning. Human rights sources yesterday and media reports this morning indicate that NamPol members have shot and killed Mathew Shipanga (36), a Windhoek resident, who allegedly ignored a Police order to stop.
According to the country’s main independent English daily, The Namibian, Col. Silvanus Nghishidimbwa, who is NamPol’s Crime Investigation Coordinator in the Khomas Region, explained that the fatal shooting took place when Shipanga, who was traveling in a vehicle, failed to heed Police officers’ orders to stop his vehicle.
Section 49 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1977 (Act 51 of 1977) as amended---which is notoriously known among human rights circles as “the right to kill section”---states that, in the event that a suspect resists arrest or flees, the arresting officer may, “in order to effect the arrest use such force as may in the circumstances be reasonably necessary to overcome the resistance or prevent the person concerned from fleeing”.
The Act also states that if the person is being arrested for a Schedule 1 offense, or if the arresting officer has reasonable ground to suspect that such an offense has been committed, and the arresting officer is unable to effect the arrest or prevent the suspect from fleeing by other means either than by killing him, “the killing shall be deemed to be justifiable homicide”.
“However, in terms of Article 6 of the Namibian Constitution---read together with the provisions of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)---no law may prescribe death as a competent sentence, and, further, that no executions shall take place in Namibia. Suffice is to say that the Constitution is the supreme law of the country and law implementation officials are ipso facto strictly prohibited from carrying out any executions of suspects, for whatever reasons, save in self defence. We are increasingly becoming alarmed by reports of trigger-happy Police officers as well as reports of Police brutality”, said NAMRIGHTS’ head, Phil ya Nangoloh, this morning.
Col. Nghishidimbwa reportedly said that the fatal shooting incident is being investigated by NamPol’s Complaints and Discipline Unit (CDU). However, NAMRIGHTS is, instead, calling upon the Ministry of Safety and Security to appoint an independent commission, consisting of, among others, human rights defenders, to investigate the circumstances leading to the killing of Shipanga.
We are also urging Parliament to urgently abolish the offensive elements of Section 49 of Act 51 of 1977 in order to avoid further unlawful killings of suspects by trigger-happy NamPol members.
For more about NAMRIGHTS, refer to: www.nshr.org.na.
To view other NGO press releases, visit: www.ngopulse.org/group/home-page/pressreleases.Date published:07/02/2011Organisation:Namibia's National Human Rights Organisation
- Women's Action for Development (WAD) has launched the Men's Action against Violence (MAAV), a countrywide programme aimed at addressing male violence against women and children in Windhoek, Namibia.
WAD executive director, Veronica de Klerk, says that the increasing number of violent acts against women and girls, “Need to be addressed from another angle namely by educating and sensitising men and boys about this social evil".
De Klerk states that WAD's involvement on the ground with communities during the past has revealed that many men believe violence against women is mainly an expression of anger and frustration as a consequence of their bloated egos, their frustrations due to unemployment or the fact that they have witnessed brutal physical violation and disrespect towards their mothers by their fathers as young boys.
To read the article titled, “WAD plans to curb plague of violence,” click here.Source:All Africa
- I share the fatherly pain in the horrible and horrible, brutal raping and guerilla-type execution of a young girl, a Grade 11 student at David Bezuidenhout School, Magdalena Stoffels. I have the same sorrowful emotion with the members of the family whose child/sister was robbed from their company. I put myself in their shoes; imagine a mother/brother/sister bid farewell to a loved one to go to school and only to be informed that, “Sorry, she is no more”. And not to find out that she got raped and had her throat cut. I understand the messages expressed by the aggrieved people who gathered at the Magistrate Court in Katutura (on 29 July 2010), including classmates, friends, students, neighbours and concerned citizens, when they emotionally shouted: “We are not safe. Give him to us! Hang him! Burry him alive! We have given enough petitions. No more petitions! Action, action! Where were you?” Minister of Gender, Equality and Child Welfare, Doreen Sioka, accompanied by her deputy, Angelika Muharukua, should understand better why the aggrieved group refused to be silenced or listen to be addressed by her. The reason being, “Where were you?” Some people may say that we should not play a blame game at this point in time because we need to be united. But, hey, how many people, especially women and children have to suffer before something is done? Take note that even the young women who were killed and their bodies were mutilated and the parts were found dumped along the road, their cases are still pending. It was very scary that the aggrieved citizens have no shoulders to cry on as the politicians in power, including President Hifikepunye Pohamba, or his officials at the State House, choose to enjoy the comfort zone in their air-conditioned rooms. Mr. President, leave the condemnation to the ordinary nation. Action, action and action! I mean, why were you ‘honorables’ not there in big numbers like the time of election campaigns when you want to be voted into power? Must we still call you our representatives or servants? I doubt it! The people wanted to see the Minister of Justice. Where was Minister Pendukeni Iivula-Iithana? Or has she not heard the sad news, maybe? Where was Prime Minister, Nahas Angula? Where was the Minister of Youth, National Services, Sports and Culture, Kazenambo Kazenambo? Where was the Speaker of the National Assembly, D. Theo-Ben Gurirab, and the MPs? And the Inspector-General of the Police, Lt. Gen. Sebatian Ndeitunga, was no where to be seen. What about the ‘Father of the Namibian Nation’ in this country? Please, we want to know before we believe in rumours that ‘you’ have gone on S&T and allowance-sponsored trips to show off their newly-acquired, bigger and flashy E-Class Mercedes-Benzes (costing N$30 million) which have just arrived from Germany! The Executive Director of the National Society for Human Rights, Phil ya Nangoloh, was there. Those who claim to love the nation and/or are the only ones who are promoting peace and stability in this country were absent. What a farce? What we have in this country is a society that is lost, a nation that has lost its unity of purpose. There is no solidarity at all. The community policing is non-existent. A neighbour or a passer-by does not give a damn to a call for help from another human being. One can hardly tell how many people are in the neighboring house, never mind the names. What about disciplining and caring for the children? A country where a life of a human being is no more respected and protected but worthless compared to a life of a goat, sheep or a cow. A goat convict can get 30 years imprisonment sentence while a killer can get away with murder. The case proceedings will continue long enough to qualify as torture to the already traumatised family. These acts of cruelty among our society should have served as a wake up call to those who are in power, politicians. Preventive measures should have been put in place to curb such criminal activities. Be very afraid that a thug can just find a safe spot where to ambush and target his victims, especially the school-going children. The environment makes it possible. The money is there in State coffers to buy school buses for schools in most urban areas. Billions of Namibian dollars are being squandered and misused in the interest of a few already wealthy individuals. We have already seen these similar crimes committed against the student who attend their classes at high institutions like Polytechnic, University of Namibia, International University of Management, etc. And what happened to a promise made by Iivula-Ithana, during the Tobias Hainyeko Constituency by-elections, that there will be free buses to transport students to and from schools if Councillor, Zulu Shitongeni, wins? The situation in Katutura and other impoverished areas of this country is just terrible. I wonder why some areas are not provided with mobile police stations and a 24-hour police patrol. No wonder, people in Windhoek are now relying on the City Police more than the Namibia of People (Nampol). Nampol is now more of an office where one goes to lay criminal charges, have the copies certified and makes police declarations. The country also lacks accurate statistics of the population, which is the reason why it is not clear whether the authority knows how many Namibians are there and how many are unemployed. And the leaders are in a state of denial of the United Nations report which discovered that 51.2 percent of the citizens are unemployed. Do we know how many qualified Namibians are unemployed? It is therefore difficult to budget for the maintenance and promotion of law and order, not to mention job creation, education and health services. In a true democracy, when violence has gone to such an extent of an intolerable level, politicians who are entrusted for ensuring the people’s safety and security are solely to blame. They can even resign voluntarily if something goes wrong under their supervision. But, alas, in Namibia they defend each other if not themselves. Poverty is rife. Take a trip and visit some areas in Windhoek such as Hakahana and Babylon. You could clearly see poverty and hopelessness in the eyes of the people. And the politicians in power knows this very well; that is why they have moved to the other side of Windhoek for their own safety and that of their children. They are more concerned about naming the street names after themselves or having their mark (identity) on State assets. As if that was not enough, they have recruited or employed the security personnel to provide them with a 24-hour protection. Their houses, offices and businesses are cordoned off by electric fences. It boils down to political, civil, socio-economic and cultural problems in our society. In Windhoek, the incidents such as violence against women and children are common. Many go unnoticed or unreported. Our citizens, just like its leaders, have become more reactionary than pro-active. Had the citizens and or the Namibian Government taken serious the 2009 Human Rights Report by the National Society for Human Rights, which was released in April, they would have understood better as to what the root cause of the problems are/is. Under the sub-headline ‘II. Analysis: General Human Security Situation 2009’, Paragraph 11, found that, “As the period under consideration [between 31 October 2008 and 10 December] drew to the end, a whole paraphernalia of crimes (which manifested itself through inter alia armed robbery, murder per se, abortion, baby dumping, infanticide, suicide, rape, gender-based violence, societal violence and burgeoning human trafficking) also gravely threatened the right to personal security of Namibian inhabitants.” By now, the situation must have gotten worse than before - out of hand! When the public looses confidence in the rule of law, lawlessness (mob justice) takes over. The murder of that 17-year old learner is just but an indicator of a deteriorating human rights situation in the country. - Steven Mvula is public relations officer at the National Society for Human Rights based in Namibia.