PP RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHWD #0291 2611038
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 171038Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY WINDHOEK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0072
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY PRIORITY C O N F I D E N T I A L WINDHOEK 000291
FOR IO/RHS REBECCA JOVIN AND DRL/MLGA LYNN SICADE
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/17/2018
SUBJECT: NAMIBIA'S RESPONSE TO UNGA HR RESOLUTIONS
REF: STATE 093981
Classified By: DCM Matt Harrington for reasons 1.4 (B) and (D).
1. (C) Emboff met with the Namibian Ministry of Foreign
Affairs' Director of Multilateral Affairs Julius Zaya Shiweva
and delivered reftel demarche on September 15. Shiweva
stated that Namibia would, in all likelihood, vote on the
United Nations General Assembly's Third Committee Human
Rights Resolutions as it had in the past. (Note: Namibia
last year voted in favor of the no-action motions for the
country specific resolutions on Burma, DPRK, and Iran, and
abstained on the resolutions themselves. End Note.) Shiweva
explained that Namibia favors "persuasion" and "dialogue"
rather than country-specific resolutions.
2. (C) Shiweva was not aware of possible thematic
resolutions on freedom of expression, defamation of religion,
or prisoners of conscience. On freedom of expression,
Shiweva noted that the Namibian constitution guarantees this
right and that Namibians exercise free speech without any
constraints. Shiweva did note that many Namibians "have
concerns over free use of hate speech." (Note: As stated in
our 2007 Human Rights Report, the Namibian government does
generally respect the constitutionally protected rights of
freedom of speech and the press. End Note). Shiweva stated
that Namibia would likely not support a defamation of
religion resolution that focused primarily on Islam.
(Comment: However, given the fact that Shiweva was unaware
of the possibility of an anti-defamation resolution, his
statement should not be construed as an official government
3. (C) In a separate meeting on September 12, DCM delivered
the same talking points in a call on MFA Permanent Secretary
Veiccoh Nghiwete, who was joined by his Head of Bilateral
Affairs, Wilbard Hellao. Nghiwete said Namibia had not yet
decided on the approach it would take on many of the topics
we had raised, and he encouraged us to follow up with the
MFA's multilateral affairs department.
4. (C) Comment: We made a very strong pitch in both meetings
against no-action motions, but our interlocutors did not
appear to be swayed. As Shiweva indicated, the GRN is
generally uncomfortable with country-specific resolutions and
abstained last year on the Burma, DPRK, and Iran resolutions.
Although we will continue to press Namibia to cast a vote in
favor of our target country-specific resolutions this year,
abstentions may once again be the best outcome we can expect.
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