Namibia adopts plan to end discrimination against women

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Albertina Nakale

Windhoek-Namibia is in the process to implement the plan of action of the Convention on the Elimination of all Gorms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) 2017-2020.

“This plan of action will not just conform to the requirements of the United Nations committee [that monitors the CEDAW] but will fast track the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women in Namibia and ensure that women are in a position to make meaning and sustainable contributions to the development of our country,” said Gender Equality and Child Welfare Minister Doreen Sioka when tabling the submission before parliament.
She reported that Cabinet had already approved the plan of action in August.

The priority actions of the plan include interventions and actions to be taken to address the UN committee recommendations. These include the definition of discrimination and legislative framework, harmonisation of statutory laws with the convention, access to justice by women in divorce and gender-based violence cases.

Others include legislative provision of temporary special measures to increase women’s participation in public life, education and employment; assessing the prevalence of gender-based stereotypes and harmful cultural and traditional practices; violence against women, and enactment of legislation to prevent trafficking in persons.

The action plan will also address access to justice by women; legislative provision of temporary special measures to increase women’s participation in public life, education and employment; and access to national identity documents, in particular the timely birth registration of children.

Sioka said some of the activities outlined are ongoing and the new ones will be covered undertaken the 2018/2019 financial year. She said as part of its obligations, Namibia – as a signatory to CEDAW – is expected to submit for consideration by the UN committee a report within one year after ratification and thereafter every four years.

Further, Sioka noted the Namibian government submitted its first country report to the UN committee on the CEDAW in July 1997. After that, she said government submitted its joint second and third reports in 2004 and its fourth and fifth combined report in 2012.

The UN committee on CEDAW reviewed the fourth and fifth combined report, which covers the period 2004-2012 at a meeting on July 16, 2015 in Geneva. “The UN committee released its concluding observations on the Namibia National Report on 28 July 2015 and requested Namibia to submit its sixth report in July 2019,” she said.

As part of the concluding observations, she SAID the UN committee recommended that Namibia adopt a national action plan on the implementation of the committees, including observations with targets and indicators.

Therefore, the Gender Equality Ministry coordinated the development of the plan of action, in collaboration with key stakeholders and partners.

She said a technical committee was set up consisting of key institutions, such as the ministries of gender, safety and security, international relations and cooperation, home affairs and immigration, justice, education, health, labour, rural and urban development, sports, the National Council, Office of the Prosecutor General, the Law Reform Development Commission, UN agencies and wider civil society.

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