• Namibia

    Namibia

    The indigenous peoples of Namibia include the San, the Nama, the Ovahimba, the Ovazemba, the Ovatjimba, the Ovatwa, and their sub-groups.
    While the Constitution of Namibia prohibits discrimination on the grounds of ethnic or tribal affiliation, it does not specifically recognise the rights of indigenous peoples or minorities, and there is no national legislation dealing directly with indigenous peoples.
  • Peoples

    8 per cent of Namibia's population is indigenous peoples.
    27,000 to 34,000 persons belong to the San peoples, while 25,000 persons belong to the Ovahimba peoples, and 100,000 persons belong to the Nama peoples
  • Rights

    Namibia adopts the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007.

Namibia

The indigenous peoples of Namibia include San, Nama, Ovahimba, Ovazemba, Ovatjimba, Ovatwa and their subgroups. Although the Constitution of Namibia prohibits discrimination on grounds of ethnic or tribal affiliation, it does not specifically recognize the rights of indigenous peoples or minorities, and there is no national legislation that deals directly with indigenous peoples.

Namibia voted in favour of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) on September 13, 2007, but has not ratified ILO Convention 169, an international legal instrument that specifically addresses the rights of indigenous peoples. indigenous and tribal peoples.

Namibia is a signatory to several other binding international agreements that affirm the norms represented in UNDRIP, such as the African Charter on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the International Convention on the Elimination of of all forms of racial discrimination (ICERD) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

The indigenous peoples of Namibia

The indigenous peoples of Namibia include San, Nama, Ovahimba, Ovazemba, Ovatjimba and Ovatwa. Together they represent around 8% of the total population of the country, being 2,484,780.

The San are Bushmen and their number ranges between 27,000 and 34,000 or between 1.3% and 1.6% of the national population. They include the Khwe, the Hai || om, the Ju | 'hoansi, the! Kung, subgroups ǂKao || Aesi, Naro and! Xóõ. Each of the San subgroups speaks their own language and has different customs, traditions and histories.

The San were mainly hunter-gatherers in the past but, today, many have diversified livelihoods. More than 80% of the San have been dispossessed of their ancestral lands and resources, and now they are some of the poorest and most marginalized people in the country.

The Ovahimba number about 25,000. They are pastoral peoples and reside mainly in the semi-arid region of northwest Kunene. The communities of Ovazemba, Ovatjimba, Ovazemba and Ovatwa live very close to the Himba in the mountains of northwest Namibia. The Nama, a Khoe-speaking group, number about 100,000 and live mainly in central and southern Namibia.

Challenges for indigenous peoples in Namibia

The year 2016 was marked by a significant slowdown in the economy of Namibia, which resulted in considerable budget cuts for many line ministries, including those that support indigenous peoples.

It is expected that the effect of these cuts will affect geographically remote communities to a greater extent, due to reductions in operational scope.

Advances in participation and political representation of the indigenous peoples of Namibia

In March 2015, the San Development Division under the Office of the Prime Minister was renamed the Division of Marginalized Communities and moved to the Office of the Vice President. The office is mandated to focus on San, Himba, Tjimba, Zemba and Twa, with the main objective of integrating marginalized communities into the mainstream of the economy and improving their livelihoods.

The representatives of the Division of Marginalized Communities in the Office of the Vice President and the Vice Minister of Marginalized Communities, Kxao Royal Ui | or | oo, who is the only San in the national government, encountered many of the marginalized communities in Namibia during 2016.

The Division participated in the 15th annual meeting of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (FPCIU) in New York from 9 to 20 May 2016. The Division of Marginalized Communities accepted a work program with the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations.

Social Affairs to promote the rights of indigenous peoples in Namibia and, specifically, to assist in the adoption of the White Paper on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Namibia, drafted by the Office of the Ombudsman of Namibia in 2014.

Namibia: First visit by a UN expert on the rights of indigenous peoples

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, will visit Namibia from 20 to 28 September 2012, to examine the situation of indigenous peoples in that country. This will be the first mission to Namibia by an independent expert designated by the UN Human Rights Council to report on the rights of the indigenous peoples.

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Namibia: UN expert calls for greater inclusion of indigenous peoples at all levels

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, said today that indigenous communities in Namibia are demanding greater inclusion in decision-making at levels, increased educational opportunities and full recognition of traditional authorities representing minority communities. "Like many other countries around the world that have experienced European colonization and waves of migration, indigenous groups that are in the minority in Namibia have suffered injustices in the past that leave them disadvantaged, to varying degrees, in the present", Mr. Anaya said at the end of his nine-day official visit to the country.

Namibia: Sad news on the Nyae Nyae front

Mr Kxao Moses ‡Oma was Councillor for Tsumkwe East and a prominent Ju/’hoansi leader. While manager of the Nyae Nyae Farmer’s Cooperative, Baraka, Namibia, Kxao Moses ‡Oma participated in the IWGIA conference on Indigenous Peoples in Africa (1993). He later became the manager of Nyae Nyae Conservancy and was also for some years, Chairperson of the WIMSA Board.

About IWGIA

IWGIA - International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs - is a global human rights organisation dedicated to promoting, protecting and defending indigenous peoples’ rights. Read more.

Indigenous World

IWGIA's global report, the Indigenous World, provides an update of the current situation for indigenous peoples worldwide. The Indigenous World 2019.

Contact IWGIA

Prinsessegade 29 B, 3rd floor
DK 1422 Copenhagen
Denmark
Phone: (+45) 53 73 28 30
E-mail: iwgia@iwgia.org
CVR: 81294410

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