A total of 711 rape cases were reported this year, and out of these, 353 involved child victims.
These figures were released by Namibian Police inspector general Sebastian Ndeitunga during the commemoration of Human Rights Day on Tuesday, where he said of the 358 adult rape victims, 345 were females and 13 males.
He said the highest number of cases were recorded in the Khomas and Oshikoto regions, with 102 cases reported in each region, followed by the Ohangwena region with 89 cases reported.
The commemoration held at the Old Location Cemetery in Windhoek also marked the 60th anniversary of the forceful removal of residents from the Old Location (near Pionierspark) to Katutura, and to recognise the role of women through Namibia Women’s Day.
International Human Rights Day commemorates the day on which the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.
Human rights are inherent to all human beings. They are part of fundamental freedoms enshrined in Namibia’s Constitution.
The commemoration also marked the end of 16 days of activism against gender-based violence (GBV), which called for action against rape and gender-based violence and to raise awareness and establish interventions to fight against the normalisation of sexual violence and all other forms of violence against women.
Ndeitunga said the police have embarked on several efforts to remedy the deteriorating GBV situation in the country, such as identifying best practices to enhance cooperation in fighting GBV, and conducting educational and awareness programmes aimed at the prevention of violence against women and children.
He added that the prevention of violence against women is a critical task for all stakeholders in Namibia in order to improve the livelihood and well-being of women and girls in the country.
Ndeitunga said GBV bears a wider societal cost, as it threatens the quality between men and women, and leads to the physical and mental degradation of the social fabric of society.
“Some of the impacts GBV has on society and the economy include injury, disability and even the death of the victim, and some victims are also at the risk of getting infected with sexually-transmitted diseases,” he stressed.
Speaking at the same event, vice president Nangolo Mbumba said women in Namibia have increased their access to productive resources, such as land.
“Over the past five years, 46,1% of women were resettled on commercial farms, compared to 51,4% males, under the national resettlement programme,” he stated.
United Nations resident coordinator Rachel Odede highlighted the importance of youth in public decision-making, and in promoting dialogue and cooperation on the relationship between human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
“We need the most courageous among us, the youth, who dare to speak up on behalf of those who have no voice. For there can be no democracy without a vibrant and pluralistic civil society,” she said.
Odede thus called on the youth to be used as constructive agents of change, and to amplify their voices for their rights. She said knowing your rights means nothing without exercising them.