Namibian MPs. (fltr)Hons. Elma Dienda, Margaret Mensah- Williams and Heather Sibungo who form part of the Forum for women Parliamentarians
|Story by George Sanzila
Official proceedings of the 139th IPU Assembly and related meetings began yesterday in Geneva, Switzerland. Among the many topics to be considered at the gathering of the world’s parliaments is a debate themed “Parliamentary leadership in promoting peace and development in the age of innovation and technological change” in which the Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi is expected to participate.
Yesterday, a session of the Forum of Women Parliamentarians that was opened by President of the IPU, Mexican MP, Hon. Gabriela Cuevas Barron, was held to look at the status of participation of women delegates at the 139th Assembly and other pertinent issues such as parliament’s role in the fight against sexism and harassment, trafficking, migration and migration governance and gender equality in science and technology.
Namibia prides itself among countries that are ranked high in terms of women representation in Parliament. Of the 104 members of parliament in the National Assembly, 48 are women representing a 46%. On human trafficking, Namibia is identified as one of the countries serving as both a destination and a transit. Hon. Elma Dienda, one of the MPs at the assembly, who participated in the discussion “Protection from trafficking and all forms of violence” revealed to fellow world MPs that Namibia has stepped out efforts to combat this scourge with the introduction of the “Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act” in March 2018. The Act criminalises human trafficking and provides protection measures for victims of trafficking.
Other Namibian MPs at the event include Chairperson of the National Council, Hon. Margaret Mensah Williams, Hons. Heather Sibungo, Fillipus Katamelo and Johannes Nangolo from both Houses of Parliament.
The IPU Assembly is a global organization of Parliaments around the world that brings together lawmakers to identify international challenges and make recommendations for action. There are currently 173 members and 11 associate members of the IPU and Namibia comprises this composition. The IPU General Assembly ends on the 18th of October 2018.