Namibia will establish special courts to fight violence against women after #ShutItDown protests

Namibia's decision to establish special courts to deal with violence against women came after four days of anti-femicide protests across the country.

A protester holds a placard during the #ShutItDown protests in Windhoek, Namibia, on 9 October, 2020.

A protester holds a placard during the #ShutItDown protests in Windhoek, Namibia, on 9 October, 2020. Source: Getty

Namibia plans to establish special courts dealing with physical and sexual violence against women, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila announced Tuesday after a cabinet meeting.

The mineral-rich southern African country, plagued with high unemployment and poverty, has been grappling with sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) violence for years.

A protester holds a placard during the second day of the #ShutItDown protests in Windhoek, Namibia, on 9 October 9, 2020.
Source: AFP

"We share in the repugnance of the Namibian public at the situation of SGBV and are in full agreement with the public that this situation cannot be allowed to continue," the prime minister said in a statement announcing the establishment of the courts.

"Existing court infrastructures will be used in this regard," she said, pledging "expediency".

The decision was in response to a petition that was handed over to parliament last week as part of a four-day protest against SGBV in Namibia.

Twenty-five of the nearly 400 anti-femicide protesters, predominantly young women, were arrested on the third day of the protest for contravening COVID-19 regulations, notably that limiting gatherings to 50 people.

The charges were dropped within days.

Ms Kuugongelwa-Amadhila also said the government would build Namibia's capacity for forensic investigation by recruiting and training personnel in identifying rape suspects through DNA.


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Published 20 October 2020 at 10:17am, updated 20 October 2020 at 10:26am
Source: AFP - SBS