Germany asks Namibia to pardon the genocide of Herero and Nama

Germany asks Namibia to pardon the genocide of Herero and Nama

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It took a little over a century for the word to be officially pronounced. On Friday, May 28, Germany called for the first time “Genocide” The massacres of 65,000 Herero and 10,000 Nama, between 1904 and 1908, in his former colony in Southwest Africa, whose territories correspond to present-day Namibia. “We are officially qualifying these events for what they are from today’s point of view: genocide,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said. “In light of Germany’s historical and moral responsibility, we will ask forgiveness from Namibia and the descendants of the victims,” he added.

Nearly six years of intense diplomatic negotiations were required to achieve this work of recognition and drafting of a reconciliation treaty between the two countries, and Mr Maas is expected to visit Namibia soon, which the German government hopes to ratify. The Bundestag before the legislative elections on 26 September.

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Discussions began in September 2015, and faltered mainly around one point: monetary compensation. For the German government, it was really necessary that the recognition of the crime of genocide did not open the way for legal claims for compensation. Relying on the fact that the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, adopted by the United Nations in 1948, does not apply retroactively, Berlin was strongly opposed to the idea of ​​having to pay “repairs” In legal proceedings, preferring instead to view Namibia A. “Reconstruction and Development Program”. Worth around € 1.1 billion over thirty years, it was very difficult to negotiate, especially because Herero and Nama repeatedly criticized the Namibian government for keeping them out of negotiations.

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The ‘first step’ or ‘the insult’

In this context, it is not surprising that Germany officially recognized what was the first genocide of the twentieth centurye The century provoked mixed reactions, in both Windhoek and Berlin. While the Namibian presidency, Prof. “The first step in the right direction”, The main opposition daily, Namibian, Described as“Curses” Germany’s position, accused of contemptuous descendants of the victims by considering the government the only legitimate interlocutor. For their part, the main representatives of the Herero and Nama communities have warned that they will maintain a disturbing welcome to the German President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, on the day he goes to Namibia to make an official apology, he said. By the end of the year.

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