Gender Policies

Various international and national documents address topics related to women. States have obligations under international law to implement and monitor legislation addressing the protection of all members of society. Over the past two decades, many States, including Namibia, have adopted or revised legislation on gender-related issues, including gender-based violence. This page outlines numerous international and national documents.

International context

  • The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) prohibits sex discrimination, including GBV.
  • The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child requires States Parties to protect children from all forms of violence, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse.
  • The UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women affirms that violence against women constitutes a violation of the rights and fundamental freedoms of women.
  • The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action calls on governments to enact or reinforce legislation to punish and redress violence against women and girls in homes, the workplace, the community and society.
  • The UN Resolution on the Elimination of Domestic Violence against Women calls on states to strengthen and implement legislation that prohibits domestic violence and to take measures to ensure the protection of women subjected to violence, access to just and effective remedies, inter alia, through compensation and indemnification and healing of victims, and the rehabilitation of perpetrators.
  • The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa devotes Article 4 entirely to the topic of violence against women, calling for a range of state measures to address violence which takes place “in private or public”, including the punishment of perpetrators, the identification of causes of violence against women and the provision of services for survivors.
  • The SADC Protocol on Gender and Development requires Members States to enact and enforce legislation prohibiting all forms of GBV, to ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice and to implement educational policies and programmes addressing GBV.

Source: National Plan of Action on Gender-Based Violence 2012-2016, Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare.

Links to International Conventions, Declarations and Protocols relating to GBV:

National context

  • The Namibian Constitution. Article 8(1) states that “The dignity of all persons shall be inviolable,” and Article 8(2)(b) states that “No person shall be subject to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Article 10 stipulates that “All persons shall be equal before the law,” and that “No persons may be discriminated against on the grounds of sex, race, colour, ethnic origin, religion, creed or social or economic status.”
  • Namibia have passed several laws over the years to stem GBV. These include the Married Persons Equality Act (1996), the Affirmative Action Act (1998), the Combating of Domestic Violence Act (2003), and the Combating of Rape Act (2000).
  • In addition to the domestic measures, Namibia is signatory to several international legal instruments such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, the Beijing Declaration Platform for Action, and the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.

Links to Government laws and policies relating to GBV:


Building the feminist movement in Namibia

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