Namibian Genocide– The Namibian government has sued the German government for the atrocious deaths of hundreds of thousands of Herero and Nama people.
In 1985, the United Nations’ Whitaker Report classified the tragic and massive death of thousands of Namibians as the earliest attempt to genocide in the 20th century.
Namibia’s government supported by the descendants of the massacred Herero and Nama people are suing Germany for the 110-year old genocide.
Many have wondered why it took over a century for the Namibian government to make demands for reparation. While some think there may be ulterior motives to get monetary benefits, others believe the demands are justified.
For years the Namibian government has been trying to get Germany to take responsibility for their actions and then make reparations for the genocide.
It was not until 2004 that the German authorities accepted their faults but has no plans of compensating the South West African country financially.
Namibia is demanding $30 billion in reparation for the genocide that lasted from 1904 to 1907.
In January 1904, the Herero people, led by Samuel Maharero and Nama Captain Hendrik Witbooi, rebelled against German colonial rule. In a counter attack, the indigenous groups were killed, imprisoned and driven into the desert where they faced starvation and subsequent massive deaths.
Recent report affirms that the descendants of the brutalized Herero and Nama people took the present-day Berlin government to court in New York for disregarding reparation processes.
Instead of the financial reparation Quartz says that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government proposes developmental projects. The government also defends their refusal to co-operate with the financial demands saying they have supported Namibia with aids worth hundreds of millions for the past 25 years.
The descendants of the 2 ethnic groups want justice for their fore fathers whose human rights were robbed.
On the other hand it is thought that before now, the Namibian government did not want the quest for justice to escalate to the point of demanding financial compensation for the genocide.
The recent push for the $30 billion demand was however encouraged by the law suit by the aggrieved indigenous groups. Namibia’s attorney general Sacky Shanghala hopes that the court will put “a dignified closure to the matter.”
“Lest we be accused as a government that we did not do all that we could have done to ensure that we represented the sacrifices of those who were brutally killed, and those generations that continue to suffer as a result thereof.”
Adding to the quest for justice, Germany has treated the genocide case with an overwhelming nonchalance, an attitude many observers have condemned.
“Most Germans can easily afford to ignore their country’s colonial past including the genocide. They do not feel any impacts if they are not alerted or look out for them. Very many are not even aware that Germany once was a colonial power. Concern for some 15,000 German speakers in Namibia is not evident in the German public.”
The figures are not steady but about 85% of the Herero and Nama people lost their lives in the genocide.
Namibia is accusing Germany of “slave labor, mass murder, sexual abuse, human trafficking and theft of land.”
Depending on the outcome law suit, Namibia is ready to take the case to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands.