The indigenous peoples of Namibia include San, Nama, Ovahimba, Ovazemba, Ovatjimba, Ovatwa and their subgroups. Although the Constitution of Namibia prohibits discrimination on grounds of ethnic or tribal affiliation, it does not specifically recognize the rights of indigenous peoples or minorities, and there is no national legislation that deals directly with indigenous peoples.
Namibia voted in favour of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) on September 13, 2007, but has not ratified ILO Convention 169, an international legal instrument that specifically addresses the rights of indigenous peoples. indigenous and tribal peoples.
Namibia is a signatory to several other binding international agreements that affirm the norms represented in UNDRIP, such as the African Charter on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the International Convention on the Elimination of of all forms of racial discrimination (ICERD) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
The indigenous peoples of Namibia
The indigenous peoples of Namibia include San, Nama, Ovahimba, Ovazemba, Ovatjimba and Ovatwa. Together they represent around 8% of the total population of the country, being 2,484,780.
The San are Bushmen and their number ranges between 27,000 and 34,000 or between 1.3% and 1.6% of the national population. They include the Khwe, the Hai || om, the Ju | 'hoansi, the! Kung, subgroups ǂKao || Aesi, Naro and! Xóõ. Each of the San subgroups speaks their own language and has different customs, traditions and histories.
The San were mainly hunter-gatherers in the past but, today, many have diversified livelihoods. More than 80% of the San have been dispossessed of their ancestral lands and resources, and now they are some of the poorest and most marginalized people in the country.
The Ovahimba number about 25,000. They are pastoral peoples and reside mainly in the semi-arid region of northwest Kunene. The communities of Ovazemba, Ovatjimba, Ovazemba and Ovatwa live very close to the Himba in the mountains of northwest Namibia. The Nama, a Khoe-speaking group, number about 100,000 and live mainly in central and southern Namibia.
Challenges for indigenous peoples in Namibia
The year 2016 was marked by a significant slowdown in the economy of Namibia, which resulted in considerable budget cuts for many line ministries, including those that support indigenous peoples.
It is expected that the effect of these cuts will affect geographically remote communities to a greater extent, due to reductions in operational scope.
Advances in participation and political representation of the indigenous peoples of Namibia
In March 2015, the San Development Division under the Office of the Prime Minister was renamed the Division of Marginalized Communities and moved to the Office of the Vice President. The office is mandated to focus on San, Himba, Tjimba, Zemba and Twa, with the main objective of integrating marginalized communities into the mainstream of the economy and improving their livelihoods.
The representatives of the Division of Marginalized Communities in the Office of the Vice President and the Vice Minister of Marginalized Communities, Kxao Royal Ui | or | oo, who is the only San in the national government, encountered many of the marginalized communities in Namibia during 2016.
The Division participated in the 15th annual meeting of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (FPCIU) in New York from 9 to 20 May 2016. The Division of Marginalized Communities accepted a work program with the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations.
Social Affairs to promote the rights of indigenous peoples in Namibia and, specifically, to assist in the adoption of the White Paper on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Namibia, drafted by the Office of the Ombudsman of Namibia in 2014.