Namibian court rejects couple’s appeal to bring their babies home

Published: 9/May/2021
Source: Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg)

Chris de Beer-Procter

It’s a sunny morning in Johannesburg and a cautiously optimistic yet tense Phillip Lühl is eating breakfast at a table in a relative’s home. “The waiting is the worst,” he says, barely lifting his eyes from his phone. His sleepy newborns coo from a nearby room.


Phillip and Guillermo’s legal troubles started in 2019, when their first child, Yona, was born, also through surrogacy in South Africa. The Namibian ministry of home affairs refused to grant Yona his citizenship through descent, even though Phillip is a fifth-generation Namibian and Yona’s birth certificate, which was issued by South Africa’s high court, states clearly that Phillip and Guillermo are the sole parents.

“That’s when the whole DNA story came up — they say that they require proof of a genetic link between myself and the children,” Phillip tells me between bites of his breakfast.

Namibian authorities have claimed that such a biological link is a prerequisite for citizenship by descent, even though there is no such written law in Namibia’s constitution or Children’s Act. Complicating matters further is the fact that Namibia has no laws surrounding surrogacy.

Read further:

Themes: Acquisition by children, Discrimination, Gender, Birth Registration
Regions: Namibia, South Africa
Year: 2021