The Law Society of Namibia has chosen to release a statement upon recommendation by its Child, Gender, Family Law and Human Rights Committee.
The Law Society of Namibia is appalled by the continuing and ever-increasing wave of gender-based violence and attacks in Namibia. Our women, our children and our men have been victimised and traumatised and dehumanised in what will remain a stain on our history as a nation.
The Law Society of Namibia hereby condemns in the strongest sense all acts of violence against all people, whether based on gender, sexual orientation, religious, political affiliation or for any other reason. We encourage the victims of gender-based violence and sexual violence to be brave and come forward in order that the law may run its course. By doing so, people who perpetrate any such crimes can be brought before the courts of law and be tried so that they can be given a severe and fitting sentence.
We further condemn any statements made that victims who withdraw their cases of gender-based violence, as a result of fear or intimidation, should be arrested. Victims must be supported and protected, rather than suppressed with threats of being arrested.
We further note that the increasing frustration felt by many of our citizens on account of the perceived inaction of government institutions and the failure of the criminal justice system has in many occasions erupted in calls for an introduction of the death penalty or chemical castration as alternative sentences for these heinous crimes. It is the Law Society of Namibia’s position that these punishments, even if imposed upon a person found guilty in a court of law, would amount to a breach of the Namibian Constitution and cannot be endorsed in a country that upholds fundamental human rights or International Law. Namibia, all its inhabitants and the Government institutions remain subject to the rule of law and our ultimate sovereign Constitution. This includes upholding the fundamental human rights that so many of us take for granted on a daily basis, such as the presumption of innocence or the right to life.
In an effort to address the frustrations felt by so many in this country, the Law Society of Namibia undertakes to approach the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Gender Equality, as well as other stakeholders, to combine efforts and join hands to look at finding alternative solutions, including the creation of a sexual offenders registry, the enforcement of stricter sentencing for those found guilty of committing gender-based violence, femicide or sexual violence, and other necessary measures, in order to combat this systemic and social problem threatening the fibre of our great Namibia.