UNDP applauds Namibian High Court’s striking down of anti-LGBTQI+ colonial-era laws

June 21, 2024
Photo: UNDP Uruguay

New York - The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) applauds the decision of the High Court of Namibia to declare the common law offences of sodomy and unnatural sexual offences unconstitutional and invalid. This  landmark judgment sends a powerful message that all Namibian citizens, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, have fundamental rights and equality under the law. 

The legal case was brought by Friedel Dausab, a gay Namibian man, to challenge the constitutionality of colonial-era sodomy laws.

The judgment is aligned with the recommendations of the Namibian Law Reform and Development Commission that such laws should be repealed. 

Significantly, the judgment states that, “the court is not persuaded that in a democratic society such as that of Namibia, with a Constitution which promises the recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family and the pursuit of individual happiness, it is reasonably justifiable to make an activity criminal just because a segment, maybe a majority, of the citizenry consider it to be unacceptable”.

Decriminalizing same-sex relations builds a more inclusive and tolerant society, contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the pledge to leave no one behind, which is central to Namibia’s development agenda. 

UNDP is committed to supporting the human rights of all people, including the LGBTQI+ community, in Namibia and globally, in line with the UN Charter, UN human rights treaties and globally agreed commitments such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

We urge the government of the Republic of Namibia to continue to ensure that all individuals can live free from discrimination and violence.