NamRights today expressed concern for the continuing plague of racism, xenophobia and related intolerance in Namibia.
In a special report issued by the organisations executive director, Phil ya Nangoloh today, it says the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council yesterday to inform them (NamRights) that Namibia continues to breach its obligations under the ICERD despite UN recommendations in 2008.
The recommendation was that Namibia take serious actions to address the volatile race relations in the country.
Ya Nangoloh said that racism continues to be a social epidemic in the country and he underscored that it is not just white on black racism.
He was disappointed at government’s lack of concern on the matter and feels it is spiralling out of control with certain officials themselves being implicated in racist remarks.
“The Prime Minister gave an emotionally charged and racist speech about the so called incident of racially induced assault and then went on to call on Namibian citizens to pack up and go. Can you imagine the US president making such a statement?” he said.
Ya Nangoloh also pointed out that the bail for the two accused person in a racism row in Gobabis recently, collectively was N$15 000, yet three police officers who were accused of murder were released on bail for only N$3 000. He says that this in itself is racism.
He is also frustrated by the fact that local law does not define racism properly which makes it almost impossible to prosecute someone on the grounds of racism.
“The government is apparently unable or unwilling to equitably distribute Namibia’s vast natural and other resources among its 2.3 million population,” said Ya Nangoloh, adding that “This creates a perception of socio-economic marginalization among other tribes who feel they are at a disadvantage with regard to ethnic Ovambo tribes.”
He says he is hopeful the UN will pick up on this matter but in the meantime, cautions government officials to stop using hate expression in media or parliament as this only perpetuates the issue.