EU-funded project launched to boost legal rights and capacity

An EU-funded project “Empowering the San: Legal Capacity Building for Human Rights” was officially launched following a successful two-day workshop. This initiative aims to strengthen the legal rights and capacities of San communities across Namibia, marking a significant step towards social justice and inclusivity.

The workshop, held in Windhoek on 19 and 20 June, gathered chiefs, San representatives, traditional and community leaders, government officials, civil society organisations and rights activists.

This diverse assembly shared insights and outlined the project’s objectives, fostering a collaborative environment to address the challenges faced by the San people.

Over the next three years, the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) will implement the project, backed by a N$ 6,5 million grant from the EU.

The goal of the project is to equip San communities with the legal knowledge and tools necessary to assert their rights and engage more effectively with legal and governmental institutions.

Toni Hancox, director of the LAC, highlighted the project’s importance in overcoming long-standing barriers to justice for the San people.

“This project will focus on providing the tools to claim and access the rights to which the San are entitled. It promotes sustainability. It is not for us to ‘give’ rights, but rather that we should provide the tools for the San to ‘claim’ their rights,” she stated.

EU programme manager, Silke Hofs, reaffirmed the EU’s dedication to promoting human rights and equality in Namibia.

“The EU is committed to promoting and protecting the rights of marginalised people, inclusive development, cultural preservation and combating discrimination,” Hofs stated.

Royal Kao /Ui/o/oo, deputy minister of marginalised communities, emphasised the crucial role of civil society organisations and indigenous groups in advancing Namibia’s vision of inclusivity. He praised the independence and critical perspective that civil society can bring to sustainable change.

The workshop concluded with a commitment to establish a collaborative framework among stakeholders, sharpen priority intervention areas and guide the project’s implementation.
Short to medium-term recommendations were discussed, recognising that some actions will require long-term efforts.

The project marks a pivotal move towards empowering San communities, ensuring their voices are heard and their rights protected, in Namibia’s journey towards equality and social justice.

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