‘LGBTQI+ Members Victimised When Seeking Services’

OUTRIGHT Namibia director Agapitus Haufiku says despite significant improvement many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI+) community members still face stigma and discrimination.

He says many LGBTQI+ people face secondary victimisation when seeking services, and many report incidents of service denial due to their sexual and gender identities.

“There have been human rights violations among LGBTQI+ community members in Namibia, including assault on some, and incidents of not being assisted when reporting at the police station.

“There are cases of bullying of pupils, verbal abuse by healthcare workers when accessing treatment at healthcare facilities, and a loss of employment due to one’s gender identity and sexual orienation,” Haufiku says.

He was speaking during the launch of a project called ‘Inclusive and Equitable Access to Non-Discriminatory Services for LGBTQI+ People’ in Windhoek yesterday.

Haufiku said the project will implement the interventions that address the structural barriers that inhibit access of LGBTQI+ people to quality and non-discriminatory services in Namibia.

Outright received around N$1 million from the Federal Republic of Germany to complement some of the project’s activities.

“As the largest and leading LGBTQI+ organisation, we are aware of the tremendous pressure from the community and the public at large as calls are ever growing to do more and reach out.

“Funding continues to hamper these efforts, but we are indebted and grateful for this generous support from the German embassy as it will help improve the well-being of our most affected community members,” he said.

Haufiku said the project aims to raise awareness of the LGBTQI+ community’s human and legal rights to access services, education and employment opportunities without discrimination.

“This project seeks to engage lawmakers and policymakers, government officials, religious leaders and more on seeking solutions on increasing the accessibility of services offered,” he said.

Haufiku said some countries have committed to prioritising minority groups.

“Both the government and United Nations agencies have admitted that the LGBTQI+ community is still faced with stigma and discrimination disproportionately,” he said.

Speaking at the same event, ombudsman Basilius Dyakugha said no one should be excluded in combating issues affecting the LGBTQI+ community.

“Parliamentarians and law enforcement should also be part of this initiative and listen to what the voters want.

“Voters do not only want employment, but also to be protected against discrimination,” he said.

Dyakugha said young people should start living a truthful life.

“I see nowadays people want to be like Americans, forgetting we are in Africa. There is no need to fake your life,” he said.

German embassy representative Stefan Hoessy, during the event, said they provide assistance to various projects around the globe protecting human rights.

“In Namibia, we had four or five projects protecting and strengthening the rights of LGBTIQ+, women and children,” he said.

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