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The UPR Project at BCU: Namibia

Our Stakeholder report to Namibia's Universal Periodic Review makes specific recommendations to the government on eradicating stigmatisation of women and girls with HIV and preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

Nambia flag large - UPR project


Consultancy background

In October 2020, the UPR Project at BCU will be submitted a Stakeholder Report to Namibia’s third cycle UPR due to take place in Spring 2021. This submission focuses on two key issues for women and girls living with HIV in Namibia: (1) the effect of HIV-related stigmatisation on women and girls, and (2) prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. We make recommendations to the Government of the Republic of Namibia on these two key issues, implementation of which would also see Namibia moving towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 5 which aims for gender equality.

Download the stakeholder report here

On the 18th February 2021, the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights published its Stakeholder Summary Report for Namibia, which included multiple references to the UPR Project’s submission.

“BCU stated that the stigma faced by those living with HIV was widespread and had a damaging effect on the positive impact of the Government’s education and awareness raising initiatives on the nature of HIV, the transmission of the disease, and the healthcare and treatment plans for those infected. While noting that there were a number of legal provisions and policies in place to combat stigma and discrimination, including Article 10 of the Constitution and the National Policy on HIV/AIDS, BCU stated that the protections laid out in the Constitution and the National Policy on HIV/AIDS had not gone far enough to protect women and girls from stigma and discrimination. Stigma and discrimination had led to women and girls being afraid of seeking out testing for HIV and ultimately receiving antiretroviral treatment. BCU stated that Namibia should focus its efforts on tackling stigma and discrimination against women and girls infected with HIV through the prioritization of support and education.” (Para 40).

“BCU stated that Namibia had made significant progress in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. However, noting relevant data, BCU stated that it was imperative that women sought early antenatal care in order to ensure that HIV-infected women begin antiretroviral treatment.” (Para 42)

UPR pre-session March 2021 

On Friday 26th March 2021, the UPR Project at BCU attended the UPR Pre-session as a panellist for Namibia. The Pre-sessions allow civil society organisations to present a statement on key issues to the UN Member State government delegations from across the world, as well as answering questions from the delegations, in order to encourage these UN Member States to make recommendations on certain human rights issues.

The UPR Project at BCU focused upon the rights of women and girls with HIV in the Pre-session statement, which you can read below. Alongside this, the UPR Project engaged in advocacy directly with UN Member States, urging them to make recommendations relating to women and girls with HIV in Namibia’s third cycle UPR in May 2021.

Download the statement here

Following the citations in the Stakeholder Summary Report, and affirming during the Pre-session that Member States should make recommendations specifically relating to women and girls with HIV, Namibia received 3 recommendations relating to this issue, after receiving 0 in the previous UPR cycle. The recommendations also focused on the specific issues raised in the UPR Project’s report, such as stigmatisation of women and girls with HIV and the need for education provisions, and preventing mother-to-child transmission. This indicates the impact of the UPR Project’s engagement with Namibia’s UPR.

  • Strengthen education and training on HIV programmes in order to reduce discrimination against affected people Recommending State: Angola (138.74)
  • Increase its efforts to tackle stigmatization of and discrimination against persons, especially women and girls infected with HIV/AIDS, by prioritizing support and education Recommending State: South Africa (138.92)
  • Intensify its efforts to combat HIV/AIDS and prevent mother-to-child transmission Recommending State: Thailand (138.200)
  • Step up efforts to end stigmatization and discrimination against women and children infected with HIV/AIDS Recommending State: Kenya (138.205)

About the UPR Project at BCU

The Centre for Human Rights has been engaging with the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) since 2016. Under the auspice of the Human Rights Council, the UPR is an intergovernmental process providing a review of the human rights record of all Member States. Through the UPR Project at BCU, the CHR engages with the mechanism through taking part in the UPR Pre-sessions, providing capacity building for UPR stakeholders and National Human Rights Institutions, and the filing of stakeholder reports in selected sessions.

The Pre-sessions are organised by the NGO, UPRinfo, which brings together UN Permanent Missions, national human rights institutions, and civil society organisations to discuss the key human rights issues in the member states to be considered in the UPR. It seeks to identify stakeholder needs within individual member states, in order to help ensure that stakeholder issues and the claimed human rights violations are adequately reported to the Pre-session to help inform the UPR in the Human Rights Council. The UPR Project has engaged in numerous countries’ Pre-sessions, including Sudan and Namibia, having discussions with government delegations and civil society organisations across the world, and impacting upon recommendations made at the UPR.

In September 2019, the UPR Project at BCU submitted its first stakeholder report to the USA’s UPR. Since then, we have submitted reports to the UPRs of multiple countries, including Myanmar, Namibia, Eswatini, Sudan, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, South Sudan, and the Syrian Arab Republic. Our reports are frequently cited by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.