OTJIWARONGO – Speaker of the National Assembly Professor Peter Katjavivi is hopeful the capacity-building workshop on sexual reproductive health and rights for members of parliament, currently in Otjiwarongo, will culminate into good legislation to tackle the many challenges Namibia is grappling with.
Katjavivi said this when he officially opened a two-day workshop on Thursday.
The gathering follows the launch of the second phase of the SADC Parliamentary Forum’s SRHR, HIV and AIDS governance project earlier this year, intended to empower lawmakers with the necessary knowledge and skills to actively engage in fact-based debates and formulate legislation.
The project aims to sensitise individuals on choices regarding their sexuality and reproductive health rights despite their age, gender or HIV status.
At the legislative level, the aim is to empower MPs to debate motions and scrutinise bills that seek to address issues of sexual reproductive health rights.
According to Katjavivi, apart from legislation, members of parliament as representatives of the electorate could also serve as advocates for sexual reproductive rights. “It is expected to empower MPs to introduce motions and analyse bills tabled in the National Assembly that seek to address Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights. It seeks to sensitise individuals on choices regarding their sexuality and reproductive health and rights. As lawmakers, we are in a position to influence and advocate for laws best suited to the needs and aspirations of our people,” stated the Speaker.
The implementation of the project, which will run from 2019 to 2022, will depend on key parliamentary standing committees, said Katjavivi.
Committees to champion these issues include the parliamentary standing committee on gender, social development and family affairs and the parliamentary standing committee on human resources and community development.
He said targeted legislation is expected to tackle a myriad of sexual reproductive issues such as sexual gender-based violence, early and unintended pregnancies, discrimination and the rights of key populations, among others.
He revealed some of the legislative successes made since the project’s inception in 2014, adding that several motions were introduced, including SADC PF model laws that have been adopted in the region.
He singled out the model law on eradicating child marriage and protecting children already in marriage, as well as the minimum standards for the protection of key populations in the SADC region.