Namibian Luhl

Image via: / NERSA

Namibian father battles in court for way to return home with twin daughters

A Namibian father may have to wait three weeks before he is allowed to return to the country with his twin daughters.

Namibian Luhl

Image via: / NERSA

Phillip Lühl is embroiled in a legal battle with the Namibian government who are refusing to issue travel documents that will allow him to return to the country with his twin daughters who were born via surrogate in South Africa.

Lühl is suing Frans Kapofi, the Minister of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security, who refused to recognise that Lühl and his husband Guillermo Delgado are the fathers of the twins and said that he would require a paternity test before recognising the infants as Namibian citizens by descent, according to national outlet The Namibian.

An urgent application that argued that Kapofi is contravening Namibian Constitutional protection of children and the right to family, was brought before the Windhoek High Court on Thursday 25 March. Judge Thomas Masuku scheduled the delivery of his judgement in the matter for 19 April, which means Lühl could wait up to three weeks to hear if his bid is successful.

Masuku, however, added that he would notify the legal representatives if he reaches a decision earlier.


The twin girls were born in Durban via a surrogate pregnancy on 13 March 2021 and the parents are in possession of South African birth certificates that recognise both Lühl and Delgado (who were born in Mexico) as parents.

Before Lühl travelled to South Africa, his lawyer, Uno Katjipuka-Sibolile, reportedly wrote to the Namibian government suggesting that the twins should be issued with emergency travel documents, which would allow them to return to their parents’ home in Namibia.

Lühl and Delgado are also awaiting a High Court judgement on the citizenship status of another of their children, a two-year-old boy. The couple are appealing for the boy to be recognised as a Namibian citizen by descent.

Jabulani Ncube, a deputy government attorney, responded to Katjipuka-Sibolile’s letter last week, saying that the minister of home affairs (Frans Kapofi) was unwilling to issue travel documents to the infants before the other matter was finalised.

Kapofi reportedly refused to recognise Lühl as the father of the twins, in an affidavit filed in court this week and this is where the paternity test comes into play.

“These people want us to give their children Namibian documents – citizenship by descent. We have a problem with that because we need to know that indeed these children have Namibian DNA,” Kapofi told The Namibian on Thursday.

“We don’t want to give Namibian citizenship descent to a Mexican child”, he added and said the fathers must prove that the children have Namibian blood in them.

Lühl’s lawyer argued that Kapofi was treating her client with indignity and said although Kapofi said his refusal to issue travel documents has nothing to do with the fact that the fathers are in a same-sex relationship, he is clearly discriminating against the fathers and their children because of it.


The Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Shadow Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Darren Bergman described Namibia’s laws as “homophobic” and noted that the country does not recognise same-sex marriages.

The party called on the South African government to intervene in the situation via diplomatic channels.

“The DA calls on the South African government to act on its foreign policy which is centred around the protection and promotion of human rights on the African continent,” said Bergman.

“Ministers Naledi Pandor and Aaron Motsoaledi must use the government’s diplomatic channels to stop this discrimination and infringement on the human rights of this couple and other same-sex couples across the continent.”


Approximately 100 supporters picketed outside the home affairs head office in Windhoek, the Namibian capital, on Thursday in solidarity with Lühl and Delgado.

The fathers’ plight clearly struck a chord with the LGBTQ community in the Namibia and led to the formation of the Namibian Equal Rights Movement (NERM). The movement, which is led by activist Omar van Reenen, launched a petition to bring the twins home and it is calling on the government to “support all Namibians”.

“Absent evidence of fraud, birth certificates validly issued by other countries should be recognized without discrimination on the basis of the sexual orientation of the parents, in terms of the principles of international reciprocity and to respect and protect the rights to family life and the best interests of the child,” reads the petition.

NERM is also calling on Namibian President Hage Geingob to publicly acknowledge that the LGBTQ+ community faces harassment, abuse and unequal treatment, which is at odds with the promise of independence in the country’s Constitution.

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