Lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LBTI) people face many challenges in Namibia with regard to legal, social, and economic situations. In Namibia, there is no codified provision that criminalises same-sex conduct, but it remains a criminal offence under the Roman-Dutch common law in force. Same-sex acts have been defined as “unlawful and intentional sexual relations per anum between two human males”. Same-sex unions and marriages are not legally recognised.
Transgender people have legal recognition of their right to self-identify through the Births, Marriages and Deaths Registration Act 81 of 1963, which states that: “The Secretary may on the recommendation of the Secretary of Health, alter in the birth register of any person who has undergone a change of sex, the description of the sex of such person and may for this purpose call for such medical reports and institute such investigations as he may deem necessary. In addition, a transgender person who has not had a ‘change of sex’ could possibly use the Identification Act 2 of 1996.” Namibian intersex people do not have a concrete legal recognition framework to claim their rights.
The CEDAW Committee did not provide any SOGIESC-focused recommendations to Namibia in 2015. The List of Issues also did not have any LBTI-inclusive questions.
Other general recommendations by the Committee that can apply to LBTI people include ensuring specific legislative and policy measures with regard to informed and consensual sterilisation; implementing strategies to combat and prevent HIV/AIDS amongst women and girls; and providing affordable SRHR services along with abortion and post-abortion services and protection of victims of trafficking.
The State party did not submit any SOGIESC specific information in the report in September 2020. In March 2021, in the LOI, there was one LBTI-inclusive issue with regard to specific measures on access to education, health care, including sexual and reproductive health care, basic services, housing, food and employment provided by the state party for LBT people. The LOI also categorised LBT people under the umbrella of disadvantaged groups of women and included them with asylum-seeking, refugee and indigenous women, and women with disabilities. There was no mention of intersex people in the LOI.
The CEDAW Committee’s recommendations in July 2022 had a rights-affirming recommendation for LBTI people “ there was encouragement to ensure safe and appropriate access to sexual and reproductive health services free from discrimination, and disseminate information and clinical resource material to medical practitioners and to women, including women with disabilities, indigenous women and lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex women. While the LOI did not include intersex people, the recommendations were inclusive.