AFRICA’S TOPMOST HUMAN RIGHTS BODY REQUESTS NAMIBIA TO REFRAIN FROM CAPRIVI STRIP VIOLATIONS

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NAMIBIAN RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES INC
(FORMERLY NATIONAL SOCIETY FOR HUMAN RIGHTS)
Head Office  Liberty Center  116 John Meinert Street
Windhoek West  P.O. Box 23592  Windhoek  Namibia
Tel: +264 61 236 183 or +264 61 253 447  Fax: +264 61 234 286
E-mail: nshr@nshr.org.na  Website: www.nshr.org.na
September 9 2016

BREAKING NEWS

AFRICA’S TOPMOST HUMAN RIGHTS BODY REQUESTS
NAMIBIA TO REFRAIN FROM CAPRIVI STRIP VIOLATIONS

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (“the Commission”), based in The Gambian capital of Banjul, on September 2 2016 has requested Namibian President, Dr. Hage G Geingob, to “intervene” and “ensure” that the Government of Namibia (“GoN”) “provides clarification” and “refrains from” as well as to “fully” investigate systematic violations of a whole range of basic human rights and fundamental freedoms in and about the Zambezi Region as the Caprivi Strip is now known.

The human rights being violated include “acts of harassment, intimidation, enforced disappearance, torture and ill-treatment, arbitrary detention, arbitrary restriction on the right to freedom of association and assembly”, the Commission says. The rights concerned are enumerated in the 1981 African Charter on Human Rights and Peoples Rights (“ACHPR”).

Acting in accordance with Rule 98(4) of the Rules of Procedures of the Commission, its current Chairperson of the Commission, Advocate Pansy Tlakula, wrote to President Geingob requesting him to report back on Namibia’s implementation of the interim measures “within fifteen (15) days of receipt of this letter”.

The decision of by the Commission to act on the Caprivi Strip violations is the direct result of Communication no. 595/15 which had been submitted to the Commission by Caprivi Concerned Group (“CCG”), the leading civil rights and pro-independence group in occupied Caprivi Strip. Concerned Caprivians formed CCG (http://www.capriviconcernedgroup.com/about-us/) in 2012 in order to create to peacefully create awareness among the local population on the right of the Caprivi Strip people to self-determination as contemplated under public international law as well as to secure the release of all political prisoners from the disputed former British territory.

Namibia claims that it has inherited the Caprivi Strip from apartheid South Africa upon independence on March 21 1990. On June 24 1999, GoN a formally annexed Caprivi Strip in terms of its Application of Laws to the Eastern Caprivi Zipfel Act 1999 (Act 10 of 1999) thereby extending the applicability of Namibian laws to the said territory.
GoN also claims that Caprivi Strip was part of the German colony of German South West Africa (“GSWA”) which ceased to exist on July 9 1915 after British-controlled Union South African forces defeated German Defense troops and liberated GSWA during World War I. GSWA is the predecessor state of Namibia.

In critical ruling in 1908, however, the GSWA Imperial Court in Windhoek ruled that German law was not applicable in the Caprivi Strip as the said territory was not part of GSWA!

NamRights, which has been campaigning against gross human rights violations in Caprivi Strip since Namibian independence, urges GoN to fully comply with the request of the Commission.
Independent African States and members of the African Union established the Commission in 1987 to supervise compliance by African states with the provisions of ACHPR.
END

Founded in December 1989, NAMRIGHTS is Namibia’s leading non-governmental human rights monitoring and advocacy organization. NGO in special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations

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