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Namibia Human Rights

Human Rights Concerns

Amnesty's 2011 Report on Namibia marks the 11th year of the Caprivi treason trial as well as government targeting civil society. Another Caprivi treason trial detainee died in custody, bringing the total number of detainees who have died in custody to 21. Human rights defenders, journalists and civil society organizations critical of government and the ruling South West African People's Organization (SWAPO) party were targeted by government officials and SWAPO supporters.

The U.S. State Department issued a report in March 2010 citing numerous human rights abuses. In particular the State Department found that there were poor prison conditions and in some instances the police had used excessive force. According to Amnesty's 2009 report on Namibia the prison conditions fell below international standards. Prisons were overcrowded, juveniles were held together with adult offenders, and inmates lacked access to hygiene products and nutritious food. The prevalence of HIV/AIDS in prisons was estimated to be at least as high as the national rate of 29 per cent. This was attributed to inadequate access to health care, including HIV/AIDS testing and counseling and anti-retroviral treatment. The Namibian Parliament has dismissed several proposals to allow condoms in prisons.

Namibia held democratic elections November 27th & 28th, 2009 in which President Hifikepunye Phamba was re-elected and the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) held onto the majority in parliament. These elections were said to be free and fair; however, Amnesty's 2010 Annual Report found that there were clashes between the political parties. Government officials from the ruling SWAPO repeatedly accused the opposition Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), a political party founded in late 2007, of promoting tribalism. The RDP was the most significant political challenge to SWAPO since Namibia's independence in 1990.

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