The public hearings on Racism/ Racial and general Discrimination were rounded off in Windhoek last week. Several concerned groups mad submissions on what they deem as discrimination and how they believe the issues should be tackled. The presentations brought to light many issues that the Namibian people have struggled with over the years and still continue to plague our society. Law Professor, Nico Horn, Legal Assistance Director Ms Toni Hancox and National Coordinator of the Namibian Diverse Women Association , Ms Linda Baumann of served as panel members throughout the hearings and will assist the Ombudsman with the final report.
The hearings will continue across the Zambezi , Kunene, Hardap and Oshikoto Regions in order to gauge the view of the marginalized communities. The general public are welcome to make their submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com all submissions will be treated as confidential. You can further courier your submission to our head office. The Ombudsman aims to get the public’s perception on issues of Racism/Racial and general Discrimination in order to help guide and re-visits existing laws and formulate regulations against these types of discrimination.
1.1 The Office of the Ombudsman launched the Baseline Study Report on Human Rights In Namibia on the 2nd October 2013 that assisted with the identification of priority human rights concerns for Namibia. The survey served as a basis on which Office of the Ombudsman commissioned the preparation of a draft consultative framework for the prioritized human rights areas to serve as a basis for facilitating a participatory and consultative process involving relevant stakeholders in eventually drafting Namibia’s 1st National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP).
1.2 One of the focus areas identified was “The Right not to be Discriminated Against”, for which the Office of the Ombudsman assumed responsibility. The responsibility includes interventions that would achieve the following objectives:
• To conduct research on the prevalence of discrimination in Namibia;
• To intensify public education and awareness raising;
• to promote legal and regulatory reform that will give effect to non-discrimination provisions in various international and regional instruments.
1.3 It is against this background that the Ombudsman decided to call for public hearings through which the necessary research could be conducted in order to get a sense of the prevalence of racism and racial/general discrimination in Namibia, as a pre-cursor to compile recommendations for legal and regulatory reform that will give effect to non-discrimination provisions in various international and regional instruments.
2. Key Activities
Key activities will include the following:
2.1 Formal hearings in Windhoek during which various invited organisations will make presentations to a panel assembled by the Ombudsman
2.2 Community meetings in various regions
2.3 A comprehensive media campaign to run alongside the hearings
In addition, the Ombudsman wants to give members of the public the opportunity to also provide him with written presentations on the subject, which is the purpose of this call on the website and Facebook pages . Presentations can be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org and should include the following:
• the person’s understanding of Racism and Racial/General Discrimination;
• experience/s of racism/discrimination;
• proposals on how the issues could be addressed, either in new legislation or amending existing legislation.
The Office of the Ombudsman being the custodian of the implementation of the National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP),which was officially launched in November 2014 , needs to design further activities aimed at supporting lead and supporting ministries to translate the 1st NHRAP into actions to be championed in year two. Review meetings were held in January 2016.
For the continued successful implementation of this plan, concerted effort is expected and needed from lead and supporting ministries responsible for the right themes prioritized in the human rights action plan.
It is against this background, that the Ombudsman hosted a briefing breakfast with Ministers to bring them up to date on the status of the implementation of the plan. At the meeting, stakeholders informed the Ombudsman about their concerns and envisaged activities of their respective offices.