Namibia: Law Society Pushes for the Establishment of a Sex Offenders Registry

The Law Society of Namibia has called on the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Gender Equality and relevant stakeholders to combine efforts in the creation of a sexual offenders registry.

The Director of the Law Society of Namibia, Retha Steinmann in a statement this week echoed this while condemning the ever-increasing wave of gender-based violence in the country.

The Society has since urged government and stakeholders to look at finding alternative solutions, including the creation of a sexual offenders registry, the enforcement of stricter sentencing for those found guilty of committing gender-based violence, femicide or sexual violence, and other necessary measures.

"Our women, our children and our men have been victimised and traumatised and dehumanised in what will remain a stain on our history as a nation," Steinmann said.

Steinmann encouraged victims of gender-based violence and sexual violence to be brave and come forward in order that the law may run its course, adding that by doing so, people who perpetrate any such crimes can be brought before the courts of law and be tried so that they can be given a severe and fitting sentence.

"We further condemn any statements made that victims who withdraw their cases of gender-violence, as a result of fear or intimidation, should be arrested. Victims must be supported and protected, rather than suppressed with threats of being arrested," she said.

Noting the increasing frustration felt by many citizens on account of the perceived inaction of government institutions and the criminal justice system, Steinmann said the call for an introduction of the death penalty or chemical castration as alternative sentences for these heinous crimes, will breach civil rights.

"It is the Law Society of Namibia's position that these punishments, even if imposed upon a person found guilty in a court of law, would amount to a breach of the Namibian Constitution and cannot be endorsed in a country that upholds fundamental human rights or International Law," Steinmann concluded.

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