By Staff Reporter WINDHOEK French ambassador Philippe BossiÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¨re last week held a reception to honour those involved in the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign. He said he thought it was important to mark the end of what he described as an “important event” by gathering friends committed to the endless combat of promoting and protecting human rights in Namibia, and all around the world. BossiÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¨re said France has a strong attachment to the cause of human rights, and has funded a number of projects in Namibia to promote this cause. He described 2006 as a particularly fruitful year for human rights issues. The Ombudsman, Advocate John Walters, launched an important National Consultative committee on human rights. There were also many successful events aimed at raising awareness of violence against women and children. The UN General Assembly in New York unanimously adopted a crucial Convention on Unforced Disappearances. BossiÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¨re said his only regret was the non-adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, which he hopes Namibia will consider positively next year. “But the way is still long. Human Rights cannot be treated as a secondary issue. It remains a priority,” said BossiÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¨re. The French ambassador described the Ombudsman as the cornerstone to keeping the cause of human rights alive in Namibia. “All the best as well to the NGOs who employ so many efforts to raise these issues energetically,” he added. Ombudsman Walters, who played a leading role in the 16 Days of Activism, said some mistakes were made during the campaign, but they would provide lessons for the future. He felt that the next time they hold such a campaign they should not start planning in October but should aim at raising the issue of violence against women and children throughout the year. Walters thanked both the French and The Netherlands embassies for the support they have given his office by allowing regional offices for the Ombudsman to be opened in Oshakati and Keetmanshoop.
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