South Africa / Namibia: Joy over birth of twin daughters marred by travel permit debacle

Published: 24/Apr/2021
Source: Saturday Star (Johannesburg)

By Norman Cloete

A Namibian father, whose newborn twin girls are stuck in South Africa, has accused his government of blatantly refusing to acknowledge a legal document issued by South Africa.

Dr Phillip Lühl and his Mexican husband, Guillermo Delgado, had the joy of the birth of their twin daughters marred by what they say is the Namibian government’s refusal to issue travel permits to the newborns.

Now Lühl, who arrived in SA on March 1, and the twins, who are six weeks old, are stuck in Joburg. Delgado and their two year-old son are in Namibia.

Namibian authorities want Lühl to show genetic proof he is the father before providing them with travel documents, but he argues there is neither a basis in Namibian law nor in the constitution that parentage is defined by genetic link.

“We rejected the notion that a genetic link or DNA test will prove my parentage. We rejected that because of the fact that one of us has to have a genetic link. It doesn’t mean that one of us is a parent, we are both parents legally,” he said.

While the South African surrogacy process requires a genetic link, Lühl argues that demanding such proof discriminates against the couple because they are both parents. The matter was challenged in a Namibian court in November 2019 and is still pending.

Thandeka Chauke, who heads the Statelessness Project Refugee and Migrant Rights Programme of Lawyers for Human Rights, said the SA government has done their part by ensuring the births have been registered and the twins have been issued birth certificates.

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