Minister of gender equality and child welfare Doreen Sioka has called on the country's law enforcement authorities to ensure that the suspects who allegedly raped a minor in the Havana informal settlement in Windhoek on Monday last week are arrested and made to face the law.
Two suspects broke into a family's shack house on Monday and allegedly raped a 12-year-old girl in the presence of her mother and eight-year-old sister. The men fled with a phone and N$300 in cash which they stole from the house.
Sioka in a statement on Thursday said women and children's rights were in no way less than those of any other citizens and they should not only feel safe within their homes but also in public spaces.
She further said it was disheartening to note that the lives of women and children were still in danger at the hands of those supposed to protect them.
"It is time to speak out against abuse and take a zero-tolerance stance. Together, we shall do a lot to inform, educate and prevent child abuse in Namibia," she said.
Sioka expressed sympathy with the family of the young girl and said she hoped they would fully recover from such barbaric and horrendous acts of violence.
Sioka also noted that the country has endorsed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC). She said Namibia was committed to fulfilling all its obligations to the well-being of children as stipulated in the two international treaties.
The government has also enacted the Child Care and Protection Act of 2015, which provides that every person with parental responsibilities and rights towards a child and any other person legally responsible for a child have the duty to ensure that the best interests of the child are their paramount concern at all times.
In addition, the law obliges people with responsibilities to a child to protect the child from neglect, discrimination, violence, abuse and harm, and to ensure that in the temporary absence of a parent or caregiver the child would be cared for by a competent person.