Torture in  [Namibia]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Namibia]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Namibia]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Namibia]  [other countries]

Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century                                                                

Republic of Namibia

The economy is heavily dependent on the extraction and processing of minerals for export. Mining accounts for 8% of GDP, but provides more than 50% of foreign exchange earnings.

The mining sector employs only about 3% of the population while about half of the population depends on subsistence agriculture for its livelihood. Namibia normally imports about 50% of its cereal requirements; in drought years food shortages are a major problem in rural areas. A high per capita GDP, relative to the region, hides one of the world's most unequal income distributions.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Description: Namibia

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Namibia.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.

*** ARCHIVES ***

The state of the world's human rights

Amnesty International AI, Annual Report 2013

[accessed 5 Feb 2014]

PRISON CONDITIONS - Most prisons and detention centres remained overcrowded, with some holding more than twice the intended number. Windhoek Central Prison, which was designed to hold 912 inmates, contained approximately 2,000 inmates and pre-trial detainees. Similar conditions prevailed in Ondangwa, Swakopmund, Oshakati and Otjiwarango towns.

Policing and Human Rights -- Assessing southern African countries’ compliance with the SARPCCO Code of Conduct for Police Officials

Edited by Amanda Dissel & Cheryl Frank, African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum APCOF, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-920489-81-6

[accessed 25 March 2014]


No police official shall, under any circumstances, inflict, instigate, or tolerate any act of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of any person.

Namibia acceded to the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment of Punishment (UNCAT) on 28 November 1994. Torture and other ill-treatment is prohibited in terms of article 8(2)(b), and is non-derogable under article 24(3) of the Constitution. Following submission of the first state report to the UN Committee against Torture (CAT) in 1995, the Committee noted concern that although torture and physical assaults by the Namibian police had reduced since independence, treatment which falls under this category continues to exist. It also noted a failure by the state to promptly and impartially investigate and prosecute those responsible for acts of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and for failing to institute disciplinary proceedings against responsible public officials.

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture

U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  -- Doc. A/52/44, paras. 227-252 (1997)

[accessed 4 March 2013]

4. Subjects of concern

235. The Committee is concerned that Namibia has not integrated, as required by articles 2 (1) and 4 (1) of the Convention, the specific definition of the crime of torture into its penal legislation in terms legally consistent with the definition contained in article 1 of the Convention. In the absence of a strict legal definition of torture and other offences and of a precise description of appropriate and corresponding punishment for torture and other offences, it is impossible for the Namibian courts to adhere to the principle of legality (nullum crimen, nulla poena sine lege previa) and to article 4 of the Convention.

236. The Committee is also concerned about the alleged cases of torture referred to specifically during the discussion of the State party's report.

237. The Committee deeply regrets that in many cases, because of the lack of judicial personnel, pre-trial detention extends for up to one year.

238. The Committee is concerned that although torture and physical assaults by the Namibian police have been reduced considerably since independence, treatment which falls under the category of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment still occurs in certain areas of the country.

239. The Committee is also concerned at the State party's failure in many cases to promptly and impartially investigate and prosecute those responsible for past and present acts of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Namibia also fails to institute consistently disciplinary proceedings against public officials responsible for acts of torture or ill-treatment.

240. The Committee expresses concern that there are no legal instruments to deal specifically with compensating victims of torture or other ill-treatment. The existing procedures for obtaining redress, compensation and rehabilitation seem to be inadequate and in many cases ineffective. Moreover, they limit the right to redress and compensation to the victim of torture, failing to give, in accordance with article 14 (1) of the Convention, the same standing to the deceased victim's dependants.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 6, 2007

[accessed 6 February 2013]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The constitution and law prohibit such practices; however, police frequently used excessive force, including torture, when apprehending, interrogating, and detaining criminal suspects. Despite a police directive that prohibited the use of sjamboks (heavy leather whips), security forces continued to use them. The government took action against some perpetrators.

Suspects in the Caprivi treason trial complained of intimidation and humiliation while in detention.

On May 2, police sergeant Sakeus Amuele and three civilians Mutilifia Keeleleni, Andreas Nghiwhekwa, and Nakanyala Akuunda were arrested and charged with assault and kidnapping after they allegedly chained and beat Hofenie Angomo Ikolola with sjamboks at a village near Ondangwa to force him to confess to housebreaking and theft. The case was ongoing at year's end.

During the year two ethnic Mafwe claimed that their testimony in the Caprivi treason trial was made under duress (see below and section 1.e.).

On February 24, the court postponed the case against police officers Geoffrey Scott, Willem Dax, and Dawid Fy, who in July 2005 allegedly tortured Ralph Cloete, a suspected thief.

There were no developments in the January 2005 cases of Elihana Nghimwenas and Pakratius Kawana, who respectively filed civil complaints against the police for torture.

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 2   Civil Liberties: 2   Status: Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 6 February 2013]

Allegations of police brutality persist. Human rights groups have called for independent investigations into the 1999 arrest and detention of suspected Caprivi separatists and the deaths of 13 suspects in custody. Victims of alleged police torture and abuse in the aftermath of the Caprivi uprising have brought damages claims against the government; all claims have been settled out of court. Conditions in prisons and military detention facilities are quite harsh. In 2007, a High Court judge declared conditions in police holding cells to be “plainly unconstitutional. ”Focusing on the deplorable health and sanitary conditions in police cells, another judge in 2007 maintained that authorities could be held liable for violating detainees’ constitutional rights if conditions are not improved.

Namibia: police torture alleged

AAP-Reuter, Geneva,10347473

[accessed 5 Feb 2014]

South African police had used "most cruel and degrading torture" on people arrested in Namibia, a UN report said yesterday.

It complained that prisoners in the "condemned section" of Pretoria Central Prison lived in inhuman conditions.

The report said it believed that the death of a number of non-white people in suspicious circumstances in South African police stations had been the result of police torture

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Namibia",, [accessed <date>]



Torture in  [Namibia]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Namibia]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Namibia]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Namibia]  [other countries]