Ombudsman to conduct public hearings on Albinism

The Ombudsman will be conducting formal hearings on discrimination against persons with albinism, customary practices and myths associated with persons with albinism, violence against persons with albinism and other challenges faced by them. The Ombudsman also invites proposals on how the issues could be addressed, either in new legislation or amending existing legislation or through any other appropriate means.
The public is herewith requested to participate in this important venture by making written presentations on the matter and submit it to the Ombudsman, through any of the following means:
• email to: office@ombudsman.org.na
• post to Private Bag 13211, Windhoek
• deliver in person to Office of the Ombudsman, cnr of Feld and Lossen Streets, Ausspannplatz, Windhoek
Or to attend the public hearings at the following places and make oral submissions:
29 July – Oshakati State Hospital from 09h00-13h00
30 July 2019- Eenhana State Hospital from 09h00-13h00
31 July 2019- Okongo District Hospital from 09h00-13h00
1 August 2019- Rundu state hospital from 09h00-13h00
5 August 2019- Windhoek- Disability Resource Centre, Okuryangava, Katutura from 09h00-13h00

Roundtable discussion sparks talks for action and change

The Ombudsman in conjunction with the Commonwealth Secretariat recently held roundtable discussions on equality and inclusion understood in the context of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRH) in Namibia. The discussions also included the context of sexual orientation and gender identity in Namibia. The week-long discussions saw stakeholders from the Education, civil society; NGOs, government and other sectors share their experiences and challenges pertaining to the two issues at hand.
First lady, Monica Geingos was the keynote speaker and urged parents and guardians to speak to their children in a relatable and comfortable manner when it comes to issues regarding sex. She added that parents need to have these difficult conversations with their children,’’ let’s partner with other people where we have to, there are many unconventional partners.’’ Geingos also touched on the financial bargaining power in relationships and how this can have an impact on the SRH of someone who is financially dependent on their partner.
With regards to sexual orientation and gender identity the Ombudsman, John Walters called for the issue to be approached with open minds in order to improve the protection of LGBTIQ persons. The Ombudsman added that the Namibian Constitutional law does not permit the criminal law to be held captive by popular misconceptions about who LBTIQ persons are.
Various speakers shone light on SRH and LGBTIQ matters through presentations including statistics which depicted the situation in the country. Participants in the discussions called for stakeholders to get organized and approach policymakers with one unified voice when advocating for change. A comprehensive report on the discussions and the way forward will be released soon.

Children’s Advocate appointed

The Ombudsman would hereby like to announce the appointment of Ms Ingrid Husselmann as the Deputy Chief, effective 1 November 2018. As the Deputy Chief, Husselmann will lead and oversee the operational management of the Division: Human Rights and Legal services. She will also serve as the Children’s Advocate in the Office of the Ombudsman as contemplated in the Child Care and Protection Act. 2015 (Act no 3 of 2015) and perform all functions assigned to the Children’s Advocate in the said Act.

Ms Ingrid Husselmann

Ms Ingrid Husselmann

In her capacity as head of the Human Rights and Legal services division, Hussellman will oversee investigations involving children and provide legal advice to the Ombudsman and investigative staff and manage human rights projects.

The team led by Husselmann in the Human Rights and Legal services Division in the Office of the Ombudsman consists of two legal officers and one social worker. Together they will work closely with stakeholders in various sectors to address issues affecting the Namibian Children. Husselmann is an admitted Legal practitioner of the Namibian High court with over 15 years experience garnered in her previous role of Deputy Prosecutor General in the office of the Attorney General. The position of Children’s Advocate has been vacant since June 2016.