Namibia, child justice and the UNHCR: Warm love gone cold?

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The United Nations provided an important point of reference for the Namibian liberation movement long before Independence. The Charter of the United Nations proclaimed already in 1945 "the respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples". The UN Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, contained in the General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960 referred to this principle as much as the Resolution on Namibia CM/Res.1055 (XLIV), passed by the Council of Ministers of the Organization of African Unity decades later.2 Shortly after Independence Namibia became an enthusiastic member of the United Nations, and embraced quickly a plethora of international treaties and conventions,3 amongst others the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). Namibia signed and ratified the UNCRC on 26 and 30 September 1990 respectively. Following the World Summit for Children, New York 29-30 September 1990, the Namibian government established an Inter Ministerial Policy Committee, tasked to draft a National Programme of Action for Children of Namibia (NPA) and to “consider steps to implement the Convention on the Rights of the Child.”4 One should think that by now Namibia would have achieved a full implementation of most of the standards emanating from the convention. The current state of affairs is however mixed. Today, twenty three years later, notwithstanding some improvements of the situation of the child, two primordial milestones have not been reached, i.e. the establishment of (a) a child (juvenile) justice system, and (b) a child care and protection system.5



Child justice - Namibia, UNCRC - Namibia, United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child - Namibia, National Programme of Action for Children on Namibia, NPA - Namibia