How Germany officially recognized its genocide of the Herero-Nama people in Namibia


At the beginning of the 20th century, Germany killed tens of thousands of natives Herero and Nama tribes in Namibia, its former colonial territory, reports NBC News, but more than a century later, Germany officially referred to these actions as genocide for the first time.

  • Germany is committed $ 1.34 billion in reconstruction and development projects for affected communities, said BBC.

These reconciliation funds and previous negotiations are the first of their kind between a former colonial power and a former colony, according to BBC.

What happened during the Namibian Herero-Nama genocide?

Between 1904 and 1908, Germany killed around 75,000 Herero and Nama people – around 80% of Herero and almost 50% of Nama – after indigenous groups rebelled against colonial rule, The Associated Press and NBC News reported.

German troops were shooting, torturing or chasing people in the desert. Germany has established concentration camps where men, women and children have died from starvation, exhaustion, disease, sexual exploitation and medical experiments, reported BBC.

  • Germany occupied Namibia from 1884 to 1915, calling the country German South West Africa. In 1915, South Africa took control of the territory. In 1990 Namibia gained independence, declared the PA.

Historians consider the Herero-Nama genocide to be the first genocide of the 20th century and have called it “the forgotten genocide, says the BBC. Germany’s colonial past has been largely ignored due to the focus on the country nazi crimes around the Holocaust, reports NBC News.

  • “The UN defines genocide as a number of acts, including murder, committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group,” the BBC reported.

What are Germany’s excuses?

The joint statement issued in May between Germany and Namibia did not include the words “repairs” or “compensation“but called the funds one”gesture of reconciliation,” mentionned The Guardian. The statement denies providing reparations for fear that such language sets a legal precedent that could lead to claims from other nations.

  • Germany has already recognized its “moral responsibility”In the genocide but refused any form of financial compensation to affected communities, says NBC News.

“We will now officially designate these events as what they are from today’s point of view: a genocide”, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said by NBC News.

  • Formal negotiations on the issue began in 2015. Germany is the first colonial power to have this kind of discussion with its former colony, according to the BBC.

“Our goal was and is to find a common path towards true reconciliation in memory of the victims,” ​​Maas said. The Guardian.

How will the funds be used?

Germany will give $ 1.34 billion over 30 years. The funds will be separate from development assistance to Namibia and will go to infrastructure projects and training programs in affected Herero and Nama communities, the BBC said.

How did the Namibians react?

According to The Washington Post, many Hereros and Nama feel excluded from the ongoing discussions. Indigenous activists and leaders have refused to support the joint agreement on the grounds that the declaration is not sufficient. These people continue to press for repairs, said The Guardian.

A spokesperson for the Namibian government said Germany’s statement was “a first step in the right direction,” the BBC said.


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