The Minister of Justice, Yvonne Dausab, says the ministry has made progress with regards to draft legislation on a National Sex Offenders' Register.

Dausab is hopeful that the existence of such a register could deter would-be sexual offenders.

Two years ago, President Hage Geingob promised during his State of the Nation Address that the government would enact a National Sex Offenders Register and a Child Justice Bill within twelve months.

But that period has passed, and the nbc News team approached the ministry responsible for drafting the legislation, seeking answers on the progress made on the president's promise.

"When the President made that pronouncement about the need for us to think about additional measures that we need to introduce, we had done some research, and our initial findings were that there would be tension between having a sex register and certain constitutional rights, like the right to privacy, dignity, and maybe even social status."

In a document published in 2022, the Legal Assistance Centre questioned the possible introduction of such a register.

It says one point of debate is whether persons who have committed "hands-off" offences such as possession of child pornography should be included at all or treated differently from perpetrators of offences that involve direct physical contact, such as rape.

Another question is whether juvenile offenders should be covered.

Justice Minister Yvonne Dausab is aware of the LAC's views. She agrees with only some of their arguments.

The draft legislation is ready, but there is one hurdle.

"We have done research, we have consulted, and we have a draft piece; the biggest challenge is, who should manage the register?"

The view of the minister concerning the management of the register is that the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety, and Security is best equipped and capacitated to be the keeper of such a register.

What will then be the particulars contained in a National Sex Offenders Register?

"Should we have that register, the person's name, in some countries a picture, but I would not suggest that, if they are employed, where are they employed, their residential address, maybe a need to know what the nature of the offence was and what it was, where did the crime take place?"

Dausab promises total confidentiality for those who may be placed on the national sex offenders' register, adding that access would be given to certain stakeholders, such as potential employers.



Emil Xamro Seibeb