Recognition of the genocide in present-day Namibia
Germany must now be mindful of all the Herero and Nama tribes (Press Release)
The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) welcomes the German federal government's plans to recognize the crimes of the German Empire against the Herero and the Nama in the years of 1904/1905 as crimes against humanity. According to Hanno Schedler, STP expert on genocide prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, the completion of the six-year negotiations should be seen as a new impetus to come to terms with German colonial history – not as the end of the process. "In order to clarify the genocide crimes of the German Empire in present-day Namibia, the German government should also be mindful of the Herero und Nama tribes which do not feel represented by the intergovernmental talks between Namibia and Germany. This is the only possible path to true reconciliation."
Representatives of the Herero and Nama (among others) living in diaspora in Botswana, South Africa, or in Germany – as a consequence of the genocide crimes – were not able to take part in the negotiations. "If the Federal President aims to ask for forgiveness, as announced, he must also be mindful of the diaspora-groups," Schedler emphasized. Also, Germany will have to make an effort to come to terms with the crimes of the German Empire in Cameroon, Togo, Tanzania, in Qingdao (China), and on the islands of the Pacific.
The German Bundestag had first acknowledged a "special responsibility of the Federal Republic of Germany for Namibia and all its citizens" in January 1989 – in connection with the negotiations regarding Namibian independence – and German politicians had advocated for a close partnership in the field of development cooperation.
In 2003, the STP had demanded Joschka Fischer (Green Party), the then Foreign Minister, and the members of the German Bundestag to apologize for the genocide crimes and to acknowledge Germany's special responsibility for the survivors and the relatives of the victims. Only two members of the Bundestag had signed the appeal. In 2004, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the uprising, Federal Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul (SPD) had acknowledged Germany's special responsibility, promising an according initiative.