Agreement with Namibia

"This will not be enough to heal the wounds" (Press Release)

The "joint agreement" between the German and the Namibian state is supposed to be signed in the Namibian capital Windhoek on September 7, 2021. However, many relatives of the victims feel left out: according to the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP), they were not even included in the negotiations. "It has finally been clarified that what the German Empire did in Namibia between 1904 and 1908 is to be seen as a genocide," stated Nadja Grossenbacher, STP expert on genocide prevention and the Responsibility to Protect. "However, the negotiations concerning reparations must include all legitimate victims' representatives. An agreement that was only negotiated with the Namibian government is not enough, and it will not help to heal any wounds." 

The Namibian government, which is supposed to sign the "joint agreement",   mainly consists of members of the South West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO) – and most of them belong to the Oshivambo, the largest population group in the country. Their relationship with the Herero and the Nama is tense: "The Herero and the Nama are minority groups in Namibia – partly because around 80 percent of the Herero and about 50 percent of the Nama were murdered by the German colonial troops," Grossenbacher added. "The descendants of the victims will hardly accept an agreement that was negotiated without them."  

The Namibian law governs who the legitimate representatives of the Nama and the Herero are. However, the German negotiator did not consult all officially listed persons. Vekuii Rukoro (Herero) and Petrus Simon Moses Kooper (Nama), who are both on the list, even signed the !HOAXA!NAS-Declaration, in which they state that they want to negotiate according to UN-guidelines and that they do not accept the negotiations between the Namibian and the German state.