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Ombudsman tackles human rights violations

Advocate John Walters, Ombudsman of Namibia.

Advocate John Walters, Ombudsman of Namibia.

The Ombudsman, Advocate John Walters is concerned over the fact that about 50% of Namibians do not know about the Office of the Ombudsman. This is a situation that must be dealt with, he said.
The Ombudsman’s office held a media briefing this week at Hotel Thule focused on the development of the country’s first National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP).
Walters said that the launch of the first NHRAP is scheduled for 10 December 2014. This week’s brief was intended to muster participation and support of their efforts to champion a consultative and participatory process to arrive at the first consolidated national human rights action plan for the country.
The Office of the Ombudsman together with the Human Rights and Documentation Centre (HRDC) and the University of Central Consultancy Bureau (UCCB) published a baseline study report on human rights in 2013, which was a survey of what the Namibian population actually knew about human rights and how their human rights are being violated.
With the results of the baseline study, the Office of the Ombudsman produced the NHRAP development draft, which is a guideline for the actual Action Plan and will become the policy document for government to follow.

Although many issues were identified during the baseline study, seven issues were identified to be the most pressing and those would be the themes of the NHRAP. Advocate Walters stated that the NHRAP draft serves as the basis for commencing with stakeholder consultations that will provide input on shortcomings and gaps identified in each of the prioritized human rights areas. “We are at this stage intending to take the draft NHRAP to seven regional consultative conferences whose input will culminate in a final draft NHRAP to be presented to a national consultative conference before cabinet endorsement and approval” he said.
Meanwhile, he said he forwarded questions to the police about the case of Kaarina Mateus who’s son was killed at the Wanaheda holding cell by another inmate Loise Kaambu. “The police responded to the questions and inquires and a report would be released on the findings soon” he indicated.
The main issues that were identified during the baseline study are health, education, housing, land, water & sanitation, access to justice and discrimination with many of them being linked to unemployment and poverty.

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