Laws against Gender Based Violence not enough
On Monday, the 11th of March, the EU participated in the official opening of "The Law Week", which also included a presentation on the outcomes of the EU supported project "Survivors Speak Up", which addresses the prevention of Gender based Violence and Learner Pregnancy and protection of those affected. In his remarks, Mr James Ithana, Director of Regain Trust, said despite the fact that Namibia has progressive laws and policies on GBV and Learner Pregnancies (LP), high levels of violence and LP continue to persist in Namibia. He said the EU recognizes this problem and responded with projects to promote gender equality and combat GBV. The "Survivors Speak Up" is one such project, which the EU co-funds and which is implemented by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and Regain Trust in order to contribute towards national efforts to prevent, mitigate and respond to the high rates of GBV and LP in Namibia by working nationally across three regions. The project is valued at Euro 500 000, of which the EU is contributing 80%. He added that the public and especially those in rural communities may not fully understand the laws in place or know their rights or have access to the justice system and that it needs to be translated in their indigenous languages. He informed the meeting that the Survivors Speak Up Project supported 30 survivors so far and three Regional Offices has been set up in the country to facilitate access to services.
Namibia needs to do more to secure the physical and psychological integrity of Women
In her statement, EU Ambassador to Namibia, Jana Hybaskova congratulated Namibia on progress when it comes to gender equality and representation in international for a, regionally in SADC and nationally in terms of political representation in Government. Similarly, the Ambassador congratulated Namibia on hosting the "Annual capital-level meeting of the Women, Peace and Security Focal Points Network" scheduled to take place in Windhoek, Namibia from 10-11 April 2019. Namibia will be the 3rd country in the world to host this event. The Ambassador commended the Deputy Prime Minister of Namibia, Hon Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah for her work in realizing this. She mentioned however that a lot more needs to be done to ensure the physical and psychological integrity of women. This needs to be addressed through the implementation of existing laws and to bring to book those who are not implementing the law. She continued that this needs to be done through training police officers and for them to collaborate closely with prosecutors, witnesses and victims in order for laws to become functional and operational. She emphasized the need for reporting of crimes and to empower girls to say "NO". Other interventions include protecting the victim and witnesses, providing life skills, creating awareness and training police officers and other stakeholders. Project brief and speaking points in the document attached.
'We need to ensure respect for human rights is paramount to former cultural norms for gender stereotyping' – Justice Minister
In his statement, the Minister of Justice and Member of Parliament, Sakeus Shangala informed the gathering of the two proposed amendments to the Combatting of Domestic Violence Act, 2003, that relate to protection orders and intimidation of a vulnerable, which will be brought into force this year. "The law alone will not eradicate gender-based violence. Namibia has some strong laws that address GBV, however, they are just words on paper unless people believe in the laws and put them into practice" said the Minister of Justice. He furthermore stated that combating gender-based violence has to do with how men and women are socialized into their gender roles. " We have the responsibility to educate each other and to ensure that respect for human rights is paramount to former cultural norms for gender stereotyping. I urge you to discard some of these regressive gender roles. They cannot be operable in this day and age" stated Shangala. For his full statement, follow this link Read more