Namibia

10th UPR session
Date of review: Monday, 31 January, 2011
Date of report adoption: 8 June, 2011
Document number: A/HRC/17/14

Summary

 

Recommendations made: Repeal laws criminalising consensual sexual relations between adults of the same sex.

Status of recommendations: Rejected.

 

I. Key issues/recommendations identified by NGOs

 

  • Implement the 2004 Human Rights Committee recommendation and consider introducing the prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity in anti-discrimination legislation;
  • Ensure that no laws are upheld that criminalise sexual activity between consenting adults of the same sex.

 

 

II. Excerpts from input reports

 

Compilation of UN information

 

II. PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS ON THE GROUND
B. Implementation of international human rights obligations
4. Right to privacy, marriage and family life

24. In 2004, the HR Committee noted the absence of anti-discrimination measures for sexual minorities, such as homosexuals and recommended that Namibia consider, while enacting anti-discrimination legislation, introducing the prohibition of discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation. For its part, the ILO Committee of Experts in 2010 regretted that the new Labour Act of 2007 did not prohibit discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation.

 

Summary of stakeholder information

 

II. PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS ON THE GROUND
B. Implementation of international human rights obligations
4. Right to privacy, marriage and family life

23. Pan Africa International Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Association, ARC International and International Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Association (JS1) have jointly urged Namibia to repeal all punitive and discriminatory laws that criminalize sexual activity between consenting adults of the same sex, in conformity with its international human rights obligations. They stated that at the time of independence, Namibia inherited Roman-Dutch Law which criminalized anal sex between two men infringing on the rights of persons with different sexual orientation.

 

III. References and recommendations made during UPR Working Group

Opening statement by the delegation of Namibia

 

Mr President, regarding the issue of gay and lesbianism, the National Constitution outlaws discrimination of all forms. In the more than 20 years of our constitutional democracy and independence, no single case has appeared before our courts, the base of which is discrimination on the ground of sexual preferences orientation. Lesbians and gays are not prosecuted for practicing same sex activities in private but this practice is not condoned and is considered immoral and prohibited in public just as any other sexual behaviour which is considered immoral in our society. Same sex marriages are not recognised in Namibia. The Government has no intention to amend the current status of our laws.

Interactive dialogue

Portugal – We would like to express our concern about the reports of widespread discrimination, violence and punitive behaviour against homosexuals in Namibia. We would like to ask what is being done in order to diminish this situation and whether campaigns against the spread of HIV/AIDS do also target the sexual transmission among homosexuals and we recommend that the law which criminalises consensual, non-commercial adult homosexual conduct be revoked as it violates the rights to privacy, and the protection against discrimination.

Spain – Spain gives a warm welcome to the delegation of Namibia and thanks them for their participation in this exercise, as well as the presentation made by H.E. [… and recommends Namibia] adopt legislative measures to decriminalise consensual sexual relations between adults of the same sex including a provision that prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

France – France recommends that Namibia abolish all legislation concerning sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex.

Response of the delegation of Namibia – Portugal, thank you also for congratulating us. You posed questions on homosexuals and same sex issues, and Namibia is a young democracy, a young country that has priorities of education, of health, combating of HIV/AIDS. Namibia is a big country with a small population of about 2.1million, and a homosexual in itself, in our African tradition, means contraceptive measures against childbirth. With a small population in our country we cannot afford to promote homosexualism, but those who are behaving themselves in this fashion are not prosecuted and this is what I have said in my statement. They are not prosecuted provided they conduct themselves in private just like all other citizens do. I think human rights should also protect the rights of others who may be offended to see immoral practice being practised in public. All of us as human beings have, one way or the other, chosen to be who we are, but we don’t impose how we want to be on others provided our right to behave in the way we want is not imposed on others. Homosexualism, lesbianism, can be practised as long as it is not imposed on others in public, just as we cap smoking in public. In Namibia there is a law prohibiting people to smoke in public because we consider it as not right to do so in public.

IV. Conclusions and/or recommendations

 

The following recommendations did not enjoy the support of Namibia:

  • 93.1 Revoke the law which criminalizes consensual, non-commercial adult homosexual conduct, as it violates the rights to privacy, and the protection against discrimination (Portugal);
  • 93.2 Abrogate all laws prohibiting consensual sexual relations between adults of the same sex (France);
  • 93.3 Legislative measure be adopted to deciminalize contentious sexual relation of the same sex including the prohibition discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or on gender identity (Spain) [sic].

N.B. Namibia received 120 recommendations in total, 90 of which were accepted, 27 remain pending, and just 3 (but those 3 on repealing criminal laws) were rejected.

IV. Adoption of report

No references to sexual orientation and gender identity made during the adoption of the report.

V. Further information

UPR Documentation
National report 1 :  AC | E | FR | S
Corrigendum  1 : E only
Compilation of UN information 2 :  AC | E | FR | S
Corrigendum  1 : A | C | E | F | R | S
Summary of stakeholders’ information 3 :  AC | E | FR | S
Questions submitted in advance : E only
Addendum 1 : E only
Addendum 2 : E only
Addendum 3 : E onlY

Outcome of the revieW
Report of the Working group   : A | CE | F | R | S
Addendum 1 : E

 

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