GOBABIS: Residents of Gobabis on Monday took to the streets to protest the recent killing of Maria Erastus here over a week ago.
Erastus’s body was discovered in a pool of blood by a neighbour, after she was allegedly hacked to death by her live-in boyfriend on 05 August.
Waving placards scribbled with sombre messages, the group, which largely consists of women, marched from the Epako residential area to the Magistrate’s Court building in the centre of town where they handed over a petition.
The petition was received by the Control Public Prosecutor, Johan Pienaar on behalf of Chief Magistrate, Alexander Venancius, who was unavailable.
In a strong-worded petition, the group’s spokesperson Bianca van Wyk called for stricter punishment to be meted out by courts to curtail the rising rate of crime against women.
According to the petition, violence against women remains the most widespread human rights violation in the country, as it threatens the rights, health, and life of every woman irrespective of background and origin.
Van Wyk said, due to such deeds, the perpetrators of such heinous crimes can never be accepted as part of the community and need to be removed from it.
“Judicial response to violence against women and children must improve and not to give minimal penalties.
Time for talking is over. This has gone too far and it’s time for drastic measures and action. We want justice to prevail,” she said on behalf of the protestors.
Amongst the prominent demands by the protesters were the persistent pleas for the reinstatement of capital punishment as a way of bringing a halt to the escalating cases of passion killings.
Van Wyk said despite Government’s efforts in fighting the scourge of violence against women, such acts continue unabated.
“Exactly six months ago, our president launched the revised National Gender Policy, which have roots in our Government’s need to correct the difficult socio-economic realities faced by Namibian women and indeed our collective desire to build a more just society where all our citizens can enjoy their constitutional rights,” van Wyk remarked.
A number of laws have been passed by Cabinet to protect the lives of women, many of whom bear the brunt of domestic violence, sexual abuse or even murder at the hands of their male partners.
Such laws include the Combating of Domestic Violence Act, Combating of Rape Act and the Married Persons Equality Act amongst others.
The Namibian Government is also a signatory to international instruments that support human rights and freedoms such as the 1945 Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against women.
Namibia is also party to the Beijing Declaration Platform for Action and the SADC Protocol on Gender.