GOBABIS, 14 JULY – Omaheke Governor, Festus Ueitele has said Namibia still faces challenges with respect to the implementation of laws aimed at protecting women and girls.
Ueitele said this has made it difficult for women and girls to enjoy the full benefits of laws made for their protection.
The governor, who was speaking during a consultative dialogue on San young women’s rights organised by the Women’s Leadership Centre (WLC) here on Thursday, said San are amongst the worst affected by this challenge.
The consultation placed emphasis on leading dialogue on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
In a speech delivered on his behalf at the event, Ueitele said women and girls in rural settings have been finding it hard to access protection orders against their violent partners as provided for in the Combating of Domestic Violence Act.
He said this is because such protection orders are only issued by magistrates, who are only based in towns.
According to the governor most people in Namibia, especially the San, are not aware of their rights and how they can make use of anti-gender based violence laws enacted by Parliament for their benefit.
In the same vein, perpetrators of such deeds – mostly men – still have a long way to go in accepting that women are equal in status to them by law.
The situation is much worse for San women and girls, who face discrimination from other ethnic groups and also from their own kind, Ueitele said.
“Many fellow citizens do not see the San people as equal to other people, which has a serious impact on the lives of San women and girls. We need to educate our people more on human rights,” said Ueitele.
The governor therefore called for ‘deep reflection’ from Namibians to determine what government can do to ensure that San women and girls catch up with their Namibian peers in all spheres of life.
CEDAW was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 18 December 1979, and entered into force as an international treaty on 03 September 1981.
The spirit of the convention is rooted in the goals of the United Nations – to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights and in equal rights of men and women.
WLC works with San women and girls in seven villages across Namibia in a programme titled ‘Speaking for Ourselves: Voices of San Young Women.’