THE ShutItAllDown movement strongly condemns the creation of Anti-Gay Marriage online WhatsApp groups, stating that these groups have incited violence and hate speech against the LGBTQI+ community. They are calling on the Ombudsman and Media Ombudsman to take decisive action against those involved.
The Anti-Gay Marriage movements emerged in the country following a Supreme Court ruling that recognized same-sex marriages involving Namibians conducted abroad.
Namibia currently has the ‘Prohibition of Unfair Discrimination, Harassment, and Hate Speech Bill’ revised in 2021, but it has not been further adopted through the Office of the Ombudsman.
“The creation of a WhatsApp group by politicians and church leaders, with the purpose of promoting homo-bi-transphobia, is not merely a matter of expressing differing opinions. This is a form of intimidation and discrimination targeted at the LGBTQI+ community, and we will not be silenced!” Ndiilo Nthengwe said in an online petition.
Nthengwe further called on members of Parliament and the Office of the Ombudsman to reconvene on the Hate Speech Bill in order for it to be operationalized.
“Discrimination is not a difference of opinion. It is intimidation and oppression. Inciting violence through any platform, be it online or offline, is a violation of the dignity of Namibians,” Nthengwe said.
In the petition, signed by over 1,500 people, the ShutItAllDown movement demanded that Parliament reconvenes to address and adopt the revised hate speech bill.
The petition also called for decisive action by the Office of the Ombudsman and the Media Ombudsman against the rampant hate speech currently circulating in the WhatsApp group initiated by politicians.
The Movement also called for the recognition of ‘State-Sanctioned Homophobia’ as a legitimate vehicle for perpetuating Hate Speech, Discrimination, and Harassment. They further requested a parliamentary standing committee to address the threats made in the WhatsApp group towards the LGBTQI+ community and for the individuals involved in the group, including parliamentarians, politicians, and church leaders, to be held accountable according to the standing rules and procedures.
“Failure to address the above demands and any additional demands will result in nationwide demonstrations by the #ShutItAllDownNamibia movement. Any demonstrations held against the LGBTQI+ community will be met with a counter-demonstration by the #ShutItAllDownNamibia movement!” Nthengwe said.