Anti-torture project launched in Windhoek

WINDHOEK: The Namibian Police Force (NamPol) and the Office of the Ombudsman will later this year embark on a joint project to address the issue of police torture.

Namibian Police Force (NamPol) Inspector-General, Lieutenant-General Sebastian Ndeitunga said during the launch of the project in Windhoek on Tuesday it will provide the necessary knowledge to assist the police in the fulfilment of its duties.

The inspector-general said it is disheartening to hear of incidents where police officers are accused of torture or cruel, degrading and inhumane treatment of citizens.

“It is worth mentioning that these allegations by no way means that members of the Namibian Police Force are in general transgressors of our Constitution and international conventions and treaties on torture,” Ndeitunga said.

He added that the project will create good opportunities for members of the Police Force to be further exposed to various legislations, conventions and other materials on the subject.

Ndeitunga also informed senior management officials and members of the media that his office already established a system for Ombudsman Advocate John Walters to regularly visit places of detention to verify the status of detainees in holding cells for himself.

The police chief then called on members of the force to fully utilise the opportunity and to extensively engage in the project that will start in August this year.

The German Government is sponsoring the event with N.dollars 500 000.

German Ambassador to Namibia Onno Hückmann said his country’s foreign policy is to maintain peace, and the country commits itself to human rights in its laws.

“The German people acknowledge inviolable and inalienable human rights as the basis of every community, peace and justice of the world,” he said.

Hückmann added that the joint project between Germany, NamPol and the Office of the Ombudsman is meant to raise awareness among the police in areas of torture and cruel and inhumane treatment.

The diplomat noted that he hopes a project like this will keep Namibia torture-free.

Namibia in general has very few cases of torture reported and in those cases the culprits were dealt with accordingly, he said.

The national project will involve several police officers from various ranks, and will last for three months.