The Namibian government is refusing to recognise a same-sex couple as legal which has left newborn twin girls to be cruelly separated from their father and brother.
Namibian citizen Phillip Lühl is stuck in South Africa after his new daughters were born through a surrogate on March 13 while his partner and young son are still in Windhoek Namibia waiting for their return.
Lühl, who is an architect and university lecturer has filed an urgent application in the Windhoek High Court, asking the court to order the Namibian minister of home affairs, immigration, safety and security to issue emergency travel certificates to his daughters or to allow him to enter Namibia with the two babies.
Lühl and his Mexican-born husband, Guillermo Delgado, are registered as the parents of the twins on their South African birth certificates but the Namibian home affairs ministry is not only refusing to recognise Lühl and Delgado’s marriage – they got married in South Africa in December 2014 – but is also not willing to issue the travel documents which Lühl needs to return to his and Delgado’s home in Windhoek – a stance which Lühl has slammed in his affidavit as “callous, disrespectful, irresponsible and downright malicious”.
Lühl has said he cannot return to Namibia without his daughter so the government is effectively leaving him stateless and trapping him in South Africa.
The surrogacy agreement between them and the woman who agreed to carry the babies was approved and confirmed by the High Court of South Africa in November 2017, Lühl said. In terms of that agreement, the children born through surrogacy are declared to be the children of Lühl and Delgado from the moment of their birth.
The ministry of home affairs’ stance is that it wants genetic proof that Lühl is the biological father of his and Delgado’s children. The ministry has also taken this position in another High Court case, in which Lühl is suing the minister to have his and Delgado’s son declared a Namibian citizen by descent.
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In a notice filed with the court on Friday, deputy government attorney Jabulani Ncube has indicated that the minister would be opposing Lühl’s urgent application, which is scheduled to be heard on Thursday this week.
Ncube has also stated, in a letter written to Lühl’s lawyer, Uno Katjipuka-Sibolile, last week: “Our instructions are that the surrogacy agreement without proof of the genetic parentage falls outside the scope of Namibian law.”
Delgado has also been involved in a court battle with the home affairs minister after he was forced to leave Namibia in January last year because his Namibian work permit had expired.
In the meantime, Delgado has applied for a permanent residence permit, but the Immigration Selection Board rejected his application in December last year and informed him that this was because he had “insufficient means of sustenance” in Namibia. Delgado has a doctorate degree, obtained from the University of Cape Town, is employed at the Namibia University of Science and Technology, and said the value of his available savings and investments exceed N$1 million.
Last Updated on Mar 24, 2021