Speaker says GBV tarnishes parliamentary gender equity

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George Sanzila

Windhoek-Speaker of the National Assembly, Professor Peter Katjavivi, says although Namibia prides itself as one of the countries that have done extremely well in political gender representation, it paradoxically faces a worrying trend of crimes related to gender-based violence (GBV).

Namibia is ranked 2nd in Africa and 4th in the world in terms of female representation in parliament. However, GBV – particularly so-called crimes of passion and rape – continue to put a stain on that achievement.

Katjavivi aired these concerns when Brazil’s external relations Minister, Aloysio Nunes Ferreira, paid him a visit on Monday.

Fereira, who is leading a delegation of diplomats and other high-ranking government officials, was on a two-day visit to Namibia to re-affirm and cement government-to-government relations between the two countries.

Katjavivi noted that concerted efforts and cooperation with Brazil are vital to fight gender-based violence and other challenges faced by Namibia.

“Namibia has done well in terms of gender representation but we still have a high level of cases of GBV. We have laws but they are not succeeding. We need to use every tool at our disposal to counteract these challenges including unemployment and lack of housing, especially among our youth, and I know Brazil has a lot of expertise in the latter areas,” said Katjavivi.

Katjavivi, who heaped praise on Brazil’s expertise in various fields and its training of the Namibian navy, further called for more parliamentary cooperation between the two countries.

“We attach great importance to the relations between Brazil and Namibia. We would like to deepen the relationship not only through parliament but people to people. We would like to learn how the Brazilian parliament is assisting its government in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals and how it is reaching out to the electorate, Brazil being a vast country,” noted Katjavivi.

Ferreira on his part said parliamentary cooperation was indispensable and expressed his desire for exchange visits between the two parliaments.

Fereira  further noted the Brazilian parliament has gained much experience and has as a result enacted legislation that has helped fight societal challenges such as gender-based violence and xenophobia, among many others evils.

* George Sanzila is a chief information officer at the National Assembly in the Division, Research, Information, Publications and Editorial Services.

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