16 February 2023, Windhoek, Namibia
On 3 March 2023, the Supreme Court of Namibia will hear the cases between Digashu v the Government of the Republic of Namibia and Seiler-Lilles v the Government of the Republic of Namibia. In both cases, the spouses of the Namibian citizens were denied immigration status because their same-sex union concluded outside the country was not recognised under Namibian law. On 20 January 2022, the High Court on Namibia dismissed the application because they were bound by a previous decision of the Supreme Court in 2001.
Digashu, a South African Citizen, and Seiler-Lilles, a German citizen, are both married to Namibian citizens and would like to make Namibia a permanent place of residency for them and their families. Their wish is that their marriages between their Namibian spouses and themselves be acknowledged in Namibia in the same way marriages between heterosexual couples of different countries are recognised and to be granted the same domicile rights as them.
On 20 January 2022, the High Court dismissed applications for immigration status but granted the third applicant, the adopted child of Daniel Digashu and his spouse immigration status. Although the application was dismissed at the High Court, the Court made significant findings relating to the recognition of the rights of LGBTIQ+ globally, that LGBTIQ+ persons have the right not to be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation and that they are part and parcel of the fabric of Namibian society.
Schickerling Attorneys, Adv Heathcote SC and Adv Jacobs, represent the applicants.
Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) supported the applicants’ cases. For more information, contact Anna Mmolai-Chalmers at email@example.com.
The High Court judgement is available here.