Namibia to enact law to protect welfare of children

Namibia plans to enact a law to ensure justice for children suspected or accused of committing an offense, a senior government official said Monday.

The law, which seeks to establish a distinct criminal justice system for minors, has undergone extensive consultation and will be passed on for assent from parliament, said Minister of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare Doreen Sioka.

“Through the legal framework, children would be provided with legal aid, and court processes will be conducted in a child-friendly manner,” she said.

Once effective, the government will implement stringent measures and guidelines on the detention of children.

Namibia currently lacks a legal framework to provide justice for children and juveniles. Therefore, the law is also expected to address the long-time challenge of limited access to child-friendly justice by the young populace.

According to Sioka, the law also specifies the role of stakeholders and provisions for restorative justice and rules for specialized courts.

Sioka further noted that ensuring child justice means not only enacting appropriate laws but also allocating resources for implementation.

The enactment is also envisaged to strengthen existing child protection legislation.

The country Monday observed the annual Day of the Namibian Child online under the theme of “access to child-friendly justice in Namibia.”