28 November 2012

Namibia: Zemba, Himba Demonstrate Over Exclusion

HIMBA and Zemba people from the Omuhonga and Epupa areas on Saturday marched from their villages to Okanguati, 120 kilometres from Opuwo, to protest against human rights violations against them.

A human rights activist from Earth Peoples, Rebecca Sommer, wrote that the groups’ claimed violations are contained in two declarations submitted by Earth Peoples to the United Nations Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in February.

The declarations were also handed over to Prime Minister Nahas Angula.

In these declarations, they denounced the planned hydro-electric dam in the Baynes Mountains, which they said would threaten their way of life and the natural environment that sustains it, and lead to a potential loss of land.

NamPower has indicated that it is considering putting up a hydro-electric dam in the area to bolster the country’s power generation capacity.

But the marginal semi-nomadic communities claimed that they have not been consulted on these plans.

“We don’t understand why we have to repeat ourselves over and over again, and the government of Namibia is not listening to us, and is continuing to push for the construction of the dam in the Baynes Mountains without our consent. We collectively refused the money offered to our communities and families that would have to relocate,” Chief Hikuminae Kapika from the Epupa and Omuhonga area said.

The chief said mining companies were drilling holes in their land and cutting roads through their grazing lands.

“We don’t know what they are digging out; we have no idea what they do to our water and land, and we don’t want them here. Nobody asked us for our permission,” said Kapika.

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