Namibia’s first NHRAP to be launched in Dec: Walters

WINDHOEK: Ombudsman Advocate John Walters says Namibia will launch its first National Human Rights’ Action Plan (NHRAP) on 10 December this year.

He made the announcement during a media briefing on the consultative process for the development of the NHRAP in the capital on Wednesday.

“The launch of Namibia’s first NHRAP will chart a transparent course for us as a country to deepen our efforts to cultivate a human rights’ culture, which will provide a solid foundation for the balanced delivery of our ongoing developmental agenda,” Walters stated.

The Ombudsman today also availed a baseline study on human rights in Namibia, which was launched in October 2013, as well as the 2013 Revised Draft Consultative Framework for the NHRAP to members of the media.

This baseline study prioritised seven themed areas for a human rights’ action plan, primarily in the spheres of economic, social and cultural rights.

These areas include rights related to health, education, water and sanitation, housing, land and access to justice as well as freedom from any discrimination.

“This prioritisation is in no way a suggestion that we as a country do not need to further consolidate our gains in the civil political rights’ sphere,” Walters stressed.

The 2013 Revised Draft Consultative Framework for the NHRAP combined analyses of shortcomings and gaps identified in the baseline study, and the universal periodic review under the United Nations’ (UN) Human Rights Council’s review process for countries.

Walters said the draft consultative framework serves as the basis for the commencement of stakeholder consultations, which will provide input on shortcomings and gaps identified in each of the prioritised human rights’ areas.

“We are aware of the national processes such as strategic plans and the national development plans, and in this regard, we are actively engaging lead ministries responsible for the prioritised rights’ areas to provide insights which will avoid the duplication of strategic interventions,” he added.

The outcomes of various lead ministries’ planning workshops will then be consolidated into a draft NHRAP.

His office is also intending to take the draft NHRAP to seven regional consultative conferences in July and August, whose input will culminate in a final draft NHRAP to be presented to a national consultative conference before Cabinet’s endorsement and approval is sought.

Walters stressed that the consultative process will be accompanied by a media campaign, which will seek further input and debate on the NHRAP for Namibia.