Namibia: CCPR Centre and IPPR strengthen Civil Society's role on UN human rights mechanisms
Published on 05 Jan 2024, 02:56 PM
CSOs from Namibia ready to engage with the Human Rights Committee in March 2024
Group picture in the participants including
Windhoek, Namibia - In a collaborative effort between the Centre for Civil and Political Rights and the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), a two-day workshop unfolded in Windhoek, Namibia on 13rd and 14th December 2023. This workshop brought together 15 participants from various NGOs including at least 50% women human rights defenders. It aimed at deepening the understanding of civil society organizations on the Treaty-based Human Rights mechanisms, with a special focus on the upcoming Human Rights Committee review process for Namibia in March 2024.
""I am truly gratified by the engagement demonstrated by participants during this workshop.. Together, we are laying the foundation for impactful civil society engagement. The commitment of all involved reaffirms the importance of fostering a dynamic environment for advancing human rights in Namibia""
Empowering civil society: a shared vision
M. Basilius Dyakugha, the Ombudsman of the Republic of Namibia
The workshop witnessed the active participation of M. Basilius Dyakugha, the Ombudsman of the Republic of Namibia, who graced the opening ceremony, bringing a wealth of insights to the discussions on human rights and civil society engagement. His presence underscored the significance of collaborative efforts in shaping the human rights landscape.
Objectives: from understanding to advocacy
André Kangni Afanou, CCPR Center during the training
The workshop's objectives were multi-faceted. Firstly, it sought to deepen the understanding among civil society organizations about the UN Human Rights Committee review process. Secondly, it aimed to maximize the impact of this process by equipping national civil society in Namibia to complement it with recommendations from other UN human rights mechanisms, such as the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). Thirdly, the gathering continued the preparation process for a joint civil society report in response to the List of Issues to be submitted to the Human Rights Committee. Lastly, it set the stage for advocacy activities during the Human Rights Committee review of Namibia in Geneva, Switzerland, scheduled for March 2024.
Main concerns raised by the human rights defenders
Constitutional and legal framework within which the Covenant is implemented (art.2): participants noticed that the Namibian state should do more to ensure that human rights were effectively protected, including strengthening and adequately empowering / capacitating constitutional bodies, such as the Ombudsman’s office;
Non-discrimination and Gender equality: Participants engaged in lengthy discussions around issues of gender discrimination, particularly the treatment of LGBTQI+ communities in Namibia, as well as lingering issues around the treatment and rights of women and marginal communities, such as the San;
Right to privacy), Freedom of expression and right of peaceful assembly: It was notable from the discussions that civic spaces were narrowing in Namibia, with participants mentioning a series of incidents / episodes during which the implicated rights were either threatened or violated by Namibian state actors over recent years.
As the workshop is been concluded, the momentum is set for an engagement leading up to the Human Rights Committee's examination of Namibia. Civil society organizations are actively preparing a shadow report, a testament to their commitment to advancing human rights in the country. This collaborative effort not only strengthens the voice of civil society but also reinforces the principles enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.