The idea of establishing a Sexual Offenders Register in Namibia is gaining momentum, and Minister of Justice Ms Yvonne Dausab has called for a public and stakeholders consultation meeting to discuss the viability of the said register.

On Monday, 7 March 2022, members of the public and various officials invited by the Ministry of Justice will gather in Windhoek to discuss and share information about the possible introduction of a sexual offenders register.

“I have received several requests demanding the establishment of a sex offender register. Similarly, this matter was raised in Parliament in the year 2020 as a matter of importance,” Dausab said in the preface of the discussion paper on the establishment of the register.

“There is no doubt that there has been an increase in sexual offenses in Namibia over the years. Some of the statistics paint a concerning picture. For instance, from January to August 2021 there have been 690 cases of rape reported.

“In addition, from 2019 to 2021 about 1566 children have been sexually violated and around 883 have been physically abused. Although Namibia has enacted several laws that deal with these offenses there is a need to consider different and new approaches to address the scourge of incidence of sexual offenses.”

The idea of a Sexual Offenders Register was brought to the public attention by Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) MP Ms Winnie Moongo more than a year ago when she tabled a motion in parliament seeking for the enactment of the register.

The Law Society of Namibia had earlier the same year released a public statement calling for the establishment of a Sexual Offenders Register.

Ms Johanna Shilumbu, an official at the Ministry of Justice, said that although the meeting venue is the Windhoek Country Club Resort & Casino, some 20 kilometres away from the most populous suburbs of Windhoek, members of the public are expected to attend.

“This is the only meeting we will have so far in Windhoek. But should more people require that the venue be brought closer to the public we will also bring that to the attention of the minister,” Shilumbu said.

She also stated that the ministry has so far not made any arrangement for similar meetings to take place in other towns across the country.

The Sexual Offenders Register is a list of persons who have been convicted of certain sexual offenses. It is considered to be a tool in helping the public by informing them of the potential risk from registered sex offenders.

It is said that the purpose of a register is to provide accurate and timely information to law enforcement and at times even members of the public on sex offenders’ whereabouts in the community.

This is meant to curb the prevalence of sexual offenses in a particular area or community by making sure that offenders do not come into contact with children, persons with mental disabilities or vulnerable persons in circumstances where those persons may be at risk.

South Africa, Nigeria, United Kingdom and United States of America are some of the countries who have Sexual Offenders Registers.

In the photo: A Sexual Offenders Register in most countries is a long list kept by the Police of names and details of people with sexual convictions who are considered dangerous or likely to reoffend.