Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:
The constitution provides for freedom of expression, including for the press, and the government generally respected these rights. An independent press, an effective judiciary, and a functioning democratic political system combined to promote freedom of expression, including for the press.
Press and Media Freedom: Independent media were active and expressed a wide variety of views without restriction.
Violence and Harassment: Unlike in 2016, there were no reports of harassment of journalists.
Censorship or Content Restrictions: There were reports journalists working for state-owned media practiced self-censorship in favor of the government and Swapo.
The government did not restrict or disrupt access to the internet or censor online content, and there were no credible reports the government monitored private online communication without appropriate legal authority. According to the International Telecommunication Union, 31 percent of individuals used the internet in 2016.
ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND CULTURAL EVENTS
There were no government restrictions on academic freedom or cultural events.
The constitution and law provide for the freedoms of peaceful assembly and association, and the government generally respected these rights.
See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report at www.state.gov/religiousfreedomreport/.
The law provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation, and the government generally respected these rights. The government cooperated with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other humanitarian organizations in providing protection and assistance to internally displaced persons, refugees, returning refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons, or other persons of concern.
PROTECTION OF REFUGEES
Refoulement: Unlike in 2016, there were no reports of forced repatriation.
Access to Asylum: The law provides for the granting of asylum or refugee status, and the government has an established system for providing protection to refugees.
Refugees were required to live at the government’s Osire refugee settlement. The government cooperated with the NGO Komeho Namibia to provide food, shelter, water, and sanitation at the settlement. The government issued identification cards and exit permits allowing refugees to leave the settlement to travel to a specified place for a limited period. The government maintained strict control over civilian access to the Osire refugee settlement but provided regular unrestricted access to the ICRC, UNHCR, and UNHCR’s NGO partners.
Employment: The government maintained restrictive measures on refugees’ ability to work, stating it was seeking to protect the jobs of citizens. Refugees wishing to work outside Osire Camp were required to seek government permission and work permits.
Durable Solutions: In 2015 UNHCR brokered a deal (which was never completed) for 600 Angolan refugees to be resettled in Namibia, but there were no known plans to give any other refugees Namibian residency. The majority of refugees in the Osire Camp are waiting for resettlement in foreign countries.