3 September 2009

Namibia: Gay, Lesbian Rights March At Keetmans

KEETMANSHOOP'S first ever march to raise awareness of gay and lesbian rights will take place on Saturday.

About 40 people are expected to take part in the event supported by Czech Republic NGO People in Need (PiN). In a press statement issued yesterday, PiN Sexual Minorities Co-ordinator Jacobus Witbooi said the march would also mark the inauguration of a new project for sexual minorities known as Ada Ma /Hao, meaning 'Let's Stand Together'.

Witbooi said the project advocates equal rights and opportunities for gender minorities in southern Namibia. According to Witbooi, the project would focus on enhancing empowerment of marginalised sexual minorities in areas of human rights and HIV-AIDS.

"Human rights, including justice, equality, humanity, respect and freedom of expression, and the rule of law are the foundations upon which democratic states are built," Witbooi said.

"Indeed, International Human Rights Law is grounded on the premise that all individuals are entitled to the same rights and freedoms, as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," he added.

Members of the Karas Regional Council described the gay and lesbian initiative as "funny" after a presentation at a council meeting at the end of July.

"Do we really need to promote homosexuality in Karas?" Keetmanshoop Urban Constituency councillor Hilma Nikanor asked at the time.

Supported by Karas Constituency councillor Paulus Efraim, she charged that it was "immoral to promote homosexuality", while Oranjemund Constituency councillor Toivo Nambala said PiN had "brandished a funny project".Witbooi urged local people to join the march.

"Join us as we embrace the concept of unity and equality and commit ourselves to achieving a world in which all people can live in safety and freedom, no matter who they are or whom they love," Witbooi said.

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