America urges Namibia to prioritise corruption fight – The Namibian

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America urges Namibia to prioritise corruption fight - The Namibian
America urges Namibia to prioritise corruption fight - The Namibian

Africa-PressNamibia. THE United States of America has advised Namibia to prioritise fighting corruption by enacting an access to information law and fully implementing whistleblower protections.

The recommendations were made during the 38th session of the working group on the third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) for Namibia. Namibia’s first and second UPR reviews took place in January 2011 and January 2016, respectively.Although Namibia is ranked the fourth least corrupt country in Africa by the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), it is yet to establish a whistleblower protection office despite a law having been passed almost four years ago. The working group added that Namibia must empower and adequately fund the Anti-Corruption Commission to fulfil its mandate. It further recommended for the establishment of a sexual offender registry programme and review the effectiveness of sentencing laws and educational curriculum concerning gender-based violence.The working group also recommended the protection of same-sex couples in reforms and proposed amendments to the Combating of Domestic Violence Act.“We recommend continued efforts to curb gender-based violence, and especially domestic violence. We believe it is important that Namibia increase public transparency and fully enforce laws that provide accountability for acts of corruption,” read the recommendation.The working group commended Namibia’s record, of protecting human rights and recognize the country’s Tier 1 status for minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking.ON A SEPARATE PATH The Minister of Justice Yvonne Dausab headed the Namibian delegation to the virtual high-level segment, the 46th session of the Human Rights Council.In her statement she did not mention how Namibians intend to fight corruption but blamed the Covid-19 pandemic for many countries’ failure to commit to human rights obligations.“It is not easy to ensure that states continuously recommit to their human rights obligations when many are focused on keeping their inhabitants alive and safe from the scourge of the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said.Dausab instead called for equitable regional representation in the structures of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. She added Namibia’s concern about the slow progress in global efforts to promote and protect the human rights of persons with disabilities and that of persons with albinism. “We cannot ensure the promotion and protection of the rights of persons with disabilities if we continue to exclude them from political decision-making positions at the national level,” said Dausab.Although local civic movements and organisations have called for the establishment of a sexual offender register, Dausab did not mention it. “We acknowledge that societal reform is necessary to denounce and eliminate harmful patriarchal and cultural practices which diminish the rights of women and girls. Namibia welcomes cooperative engagements on effective interventions and good practices from member states and international organisations to address the alarming scourge of violence against women and girls,” she said. Namibia is currently working on amending the combating of domestic violence and combating rape laws.According to the minister, Namibia strongly condemned systematic inequality, racist and extremist practices that divide people on the basis of colour and ethnic origin. The statement made no reference to the protection of same-sex couples. The Universal Periodic Review is a process that involves a periodic review of the human rights records of all 193 UN member states. During the third review cycle, countries are expected to spell out steps they have taken to implement recommendations from their previous reviews, as well as to highlight recent human rights developments in the country.

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