Appeal to end discrimination against San women

WINDHOEK, Young women from the minority San want an end to discrimination and victimisation that targets them. They spoke at a two-day training and consultation workshop held at Epako Women's Centre in Gobabis by Women's Leadership Centre (WLC) on the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

During the workshop, young San women participants learned about their rights and shared their experiences of how their rights are violated through discrimination, humiliation, marginalisation and exclusion by staff of government agencies including education, health and the police.

They called for an end to the discrimination of San parents serving as board members of various schools. The participants raised the issue of police brutality and relationship of police officers with San girls.

Furthermore, they called for an end to the victimisation against San young women leaders who have started to speak out for their rights. The attendees demanded for mother tongue education in early childhood development programmes and primary education.

Train and utilise San learners with Grade 10 as support teachers in schools. Stop the discrimination against San parents serving on school boards, said one of the participants.

Another issue raised was police brutality that targeted San girls.

A call for adequate housing, access to water and sanitation, and a strategy for participation by San communities, including San young women, in all development efforts, including proper data collection for monitoring the impact of programmes was made too. Lack of health facilities has also been a concern with attendees asking for more clinics and mobile clinics to visit remote areas.

Include social workers to provide counselling and provide translators to assist San people access state services, noted another participant.

Councillor Ignatius Khariseb, Chairperson of the Omaheke Regional Council acknowledged that more needed to be done to overcome the many challenges the San young women and their communities are facing in Omaheke Region.

I recognise the courage of San young women leaders who are speaking out for their rights in their communities, said Khariseb. The councillor invited the WLC to present the CEDAW research project of 'Speaking for Ourselves � Voices of San Young Women programme', with all the regional councillors so that they can support the initiative in their respective constituencies.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia