Genocide 'swept under carpet'

05 September 2019 | Local News

JEMIMA BEUKES

Germany has for far too long “forgotten” and “swept under the carpet” the Nama and Ovaherero genocide and will now be taking responsibility for the “terrible crimes” it has committed against these communities, the German economic cooperation and development minister Gerd Müller said.

However, how Germany will handle a ‘suitable financial solution’ remains open-ended.

Germany still remains light-foot about using the term ‘reparations’ because it will bring about legal implications.

Müller last week emphasised that the negotiations for reparations for the 1904-08 genocide must be concluded, hopefully by early 2020.

According to him Germany is looking at concluding the talks shortly after Namibia’s National Assembly and presidential elections slated for November.

“The aim is to come to a conclusion with the process of negotiation after the elections in your country. We want to look forward to the future; it does not mean we want to forget the past,” he said.

At a press briefing Müller said the two countries share a “very painful past” and that for far too long Germany has forgotten the crimes it has committed during this time.

“It is clear that the crimes committed in 1904-08 will today be referred to as genocide, and that is the term we use. We, Germany, are acknowledging this responsibility and we are taking this responsibility. This means there will be an official apology next year, but an apology alone is not enough. However, that is a point that remains open,” he said.

He added that negotiations between Namibia and Germany are progressing well and in the meantime the German government has agreed on a “text” that will be submitted to government and parliament in due course.

“Regardless of the issues of the negotiations, we have been cooperating very successfully in development. And since 1990 we have together implemented and invested 1.2 billion euro into various projects. Right now Germany and his development cooperation has a volume of N$450 million which is currently running in the country,” he said.

Germany is also intending to make an additional N$20 million available to the Namibian government for the next two years.

He stressed that he would like to see greater success in the areas of poverty eradication.

“We want to do more in your country especially in rural areas. We want to create a new focus on the Ovaherero and Nama communities, working on projects there,” he said.

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