NEWS


4 December 2020 – The Law and Oil Exploration in Namibia
It has recently been reported in the media that Reconnaissance Energy Africa, a Canadian mining and exploration company, plans to prospect for oil and gas in the northeastern regions of Namibia bordering Botswana. In view of this announcement, this article aims to give a brief overview of the applicable legislative framework that regulates mining activities in or near environmentally sensitive and protected areas.  Read more and view the photos of the recent demonstration.

4 December 2020 – Winner of the Judge JP Karuaihe Award
Congratulations to the LAC team on winning this prestigious “Award for Human Rights Excellence” at the annual general meeting of the Law Society for a 5th time!  Our Director, Toni Hancox, accepted the reward on behalf of the LAC from Ngamane Karuaihe-Upi and Amanda Hauanga.  Also in the Economist.

November 2020 – LEARN ABOUT THE LAWS OF NAMIBIA
Legal Information Online

The rule of law requires that laws must be accessible to everyone. The Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) has for many years now been publishing information to help members of the public know the law of Namibia as it stands today.
The LAC publishes three free legal databases to inform the legal profession and the public about the laws in force.
In 2020, the LAC and the Ministry of Justice entered into an agreement making all of these databases into a joint project to ensure their long-term sustainability.

  1. NAMLEX: Index of Namibian law
    This is a list of the laws in force in Namibia, organised by topic, with brief descriptions of each law. In the case of laws inherited from South Africa, NAMLEX explains how they came to apply to Namibia and which South African amendments are in force in Namibia. The index also provides references to rules and regulations, appointments, court cases and commentary under each statute, and includes links to online versions of virtually all of the Gazettes cited. Think of it as the “Wikipedia” of Namibian law. NAMLEX
    was initiated by the late Adv Anton Lubowski in 1988, and continued by the LAC after his death.
    NAMLEX is now current to 31 October 2020.
  2. NAMLEX APPENDIX: Index of international law
    NAMLEX is supplemented by a separate document called the NAMLEX APPENDIX, which contains detailed entries for all multilateral international treaties that are binding on Namibia. Each entry includes a summary of the treaty, a link to the most authoritative text of the treaty available online, the date when the treaty became binding on Namibia, information about amendments and protocols, and other explanatory information. The NAMLEX APPENDIX is prepared and updated with assistance from the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation and Parliament. It is now current to 31 October 2020.
  3. ANNOTATED LAWS: Statutes and regulations
    The database of annotated laws was initiated by the Parliamentary Support Project in 2015 and has been maintained by LAC to date. This database includes all statutes and post-Independence regulations in force in Namibia, as amended. This enable users to view or download the current version of a statute in Word or PDF, and to access the regulations issued in terms of each statute. The database is now current to 31 October 2020. Pre-independence regulations will be added in 2021.

9 November 2020 – PRESS RELEASE
We are extremely concerned about another incident of hate speech which took place on 7 November 2020 at which it was reported that General Shalli (RTD) threatened to execute members of the opposition parties. He stated that they “should not be shot, but slaughtered.” After the recent statement by our President threatening white voters, which was widely condemned, it seems that members of the ruling party still deem it appropriate to use threats of violence against those who oppose them.
The comments appear to be made at a SWAPO rally addressing the upcoming elections. The General is reminded that Article 21 of the Namibian Constitution provides for the fundamental rights of all Namibians, and states that (1) All persons shall have the right to “(e) freedom of association, which shall include freedom to form and join … political parties.”  More in pdf here

2 November 2020 International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists
“Today we say to journalists all over the world who are facing persecution for doing their jobs, that they are not alone. We stand with them!”  Please read the full press statement by Zoé Titus and more on this day on the UN website.

21 October 2020 – PRESS STATEMENT
The Legal Assistance Centre appreciates the commentary made in relation to its press statement of 19 October 2020, condemning the President’s statement that white voters seem to be declaring “war” on SWAPO. The commentary has been both good and bad and is welcomed. It has given us the opportunity to provide some insight into the work of the LAC.
The LAC is the only public interest law firm in Namibia. We defend and promote human rights responses to all current issues which affect citizens in exercising their human rights, irrespective of who has violated those rights.
We appreciate there are many ills within our society. These must be addressed by Namibia as a whole. As such we felt compelled to speak out in response to the unfortunate statement made by President Hage Geingob whom we expect should speak on behalf of all Namibians, in whatever role he plays. With wrongs against specific individuals, we normally act only when we are approached by a client.
We hope that you will find the information and advocacy we provide on other human rights topics just as engaging.

19 October 2020 – PRESS STATEMENT
The LAC objects to any characterisation of Namibian voters by race or ethnicity. Not all white voters have the same opinions, any more than all black voters or voters from any particular ethnic group. After the pain of Namibia’s past, surely every person in Namibia has the right to be viewed as an individual rather than being judged on the basis of race.  Read full statement.

 11 October 2020 – Let the people raise their voices without fear
The Legal Assistance Centre as a public interest law firm respects the need for the police to maintain law and order. What the Legal Assistance Centre does NOT CONDONE is the heavy handed response to the protestors against SGBV that has rocked our capital in the last days. The police should only use reasonable and justified measures to avert damage to life or property. The use of tear gas against the protestors is neither reasonable not justified.
In a democratic country we are permitted to raise our voices. Sexual and Gender Based Violence has become a scourge in our country. The Government’s lack of action has prompted the current protest.
The President and government are called upon to respond to the pain of its people and take the needed action to prevent SGBV urgently.
In the meantime, let the people raise their voices without fear. -Toni Hancox
The Minister of Justice Yvonne Dausab said on social media that the amendment of the Combating of Rape Act is currently being prepared for parliament.
Read additional news: Namibian or Pdf on this event and more on the arrest here.

Probono 49 – Victims Rights: Information
The victim of a housebreaking goes to court on five different occasions to testify. No one notifies her of the verdict or the sentence when the case is over. She telephones the magistrate’s court to find out what happened in the case only to be told that the information is confidential. She learns of the case outcome only after reminding an administrative official on the phone that Article 12 of the Namibian Constitution requires that judgments in criminal cases must be given in public, which means that the case outcome cannot be secret.  Read more…

Probono 48 – The Wildlife and Protected Areas Management Bill
The Wildlife and Protected Areas Management Bill has been under discussion for over 20 years. This proposed new law would introduce new approaches to nature conservation consistent with Article 95(l) of the Namibian Constitution, which promotes the maintenance of ecosystems, essential ecological processes and biological diversity and the utilization of living natural resources on a sustainable basis for the benefit of all Namibians.

International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) 2020 – 28 September 2020
In times of crisis, access to information saves lives, builds trust and brings hope!
The 2020 theme has an uplifting and emphatic ring to it as we mark International Day for Universal Access to Information 2020 against the backdrop of a world mired in crises.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has come to expose and boldly underscore for us again both the fragilities and strengths of humanity. Amid it all we are seeing political, economic and social crises unfolding along with the health crisis. Read more
Issued on behalf of the ACTION Coalition by: Frederico Links, Chairperson

Esi Schimming-Chase has been appointed as acting Judge
We are proud to announce that LAC trustee, Esi Schimming-Chase has been appointed as acting Judge in the High Court of Namibia as from 1 October 2020.
Born in Germany and arriving in Namibia during 1982 she went to St. Paul’s College.  She studied Law in Coventry, United Kingdom and was admitted as a Barrister to the Middle Temple Inns of Court in England in October 1994.  She returned to Namibia in January 1995 and became the first “black female practicing senior counsel” in the country in July 2017.
We congratulate Esi on her appointment as Acting Judge and are confident that she will acquit herself well in this very demanding position.

Basic Income Grant Coalition Campaign Declaration
This Declaration summarises the shared consensus, critical demands and commitment to Basic Income Grant implementation.