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Rape in Namibia

Many of the recommendations made in the report have been influential, as evidenced by the following:

  • GR&AP was invited to present key recommendations from the report at the National Conference on Gender-Based Violence convened by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare in June 2007, and many of these recommendations were incorporated into the overall conference recommendations. The GR&AP research was cited by key speakers at this conference, including the President (in a speech presented on his behalf), the Prime Minister, the Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare and the UNICEF Special Representative.

  • The GR&AP Coordinator has been appointed to the High-Level Strategic Committee on Domestic Violence and Violence in General formed by Cabinet in the wake of the National Conference. This forum should serve as a springboard for continued advocacy pertaining to the report recommendations.

  • As recommended in the report, the Office of the Prosecutor–General is pursuing the implementation of prosecutor-guided investigations, and has on several occasions convened meetings which involve personnel from different ministries which work with victims of violence together with GR&AP representatives. The Prosecutor-General has expressed warm appreciation for the GR&AP study on rape, which she felt was proving to be very helpful in assisting government to improve its services. Her office hopes to be instrumental in involving prosecutors in the Woman and Child Protection Units so that they can help to ensure that police investigations secure relevant evidence promptly, to work more closely with the forensic lab, to encourage improved evidence collection by medical personnel and to increase the provision of state-funded shelters for complainants who are not safe at home.

  • As a result of the report, GR&AP was invited to make comments on the booklet which guides medical personnel on how to use the new rape kits which are being distributed in the region. Namibia’s National Forensic Science Institute subsequently informed us that most of the GR&AP comments on improving the written materials which accompany the new rape kit were accepted at a regional level, and the materials will be adapted accordingly in the next production cycle in 3 years time. GR&AP also facilitated an effort to secure funding from UNICEF for by the National Forensic Science Institute, for the roll-out of the new-style rape kits with appropriate training of medical personnel.

  • The key recommendations on record-keeping have been included in the new Naminfo system for recording statistics on cases of gender-based violence, after they were presented by GR&AP at a meeting convened to discuss the new Naminfo system.

  • Some of the recommendations made in the report were incorporated into the National Plan of Action on Orphans and Vulnerable Children which was launched in 2007.

  • New approaches for the administrative structure of the Woman and Child Protection Unit are under discussion, with key decision-makers in government inviting the opinion of GR&AP on this topic.

  • GR&AP drafted an article highlighting recommendations pertaining to judicial officers which was published in a judicial newsletter which is circulated to all judges.

  • GR&AP highlighted proposals for amendments to the Combating of Rape Act in a letter to the Law Reform and Development Commission, appealing to them to put these items on their agenda. As of 2010, the Commission is in the process of finalising a report recommending amendments to the law, based primarily on the GR&AP research.

  • GR&AP was invited to advise the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare on strategies for incorporating recommendations on gender-based violence into Namibia’s new National Development Plan 3, which is a key blueprint for national expenditures over the next 5 years. The Gender Research & Advocacy Project also made direct submissions to the National Planning Commission on this topic.

  • GR&AP made recommendations to several UN agencies based on the report, in respect of a plan for future UN agency expenditures on gender-based violence.

  • GR&AP attended a workshop in Johannesburg on 18-19 October 2008, convened by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network. The workshop was part of an initiative to develop model legislation on rape and domestic violence to be used in advocacy efforts in developing countries. It is exciting to see Namibia’s laws being used as examples of “best practices”. The model legislation developed at the workshop has since been published and cites Namibia extensively as an example.
  • The report containing the model legislation is available at: