Namibia turns down Germany’s genocide reparations offer

Namibia turns down Germany’s genocide reparations offer

President Geingob says current offer ‘not acceptable,’ slams Berlin’s terminology for genocide reparations


Namibia has rejected Germany’s offer for reparations for mass killings in the southern African country at the start of the 20th century.

“The current offer for reparations made by the German government remains an outstanding issue and is not acceptable to the Namibian government,” President Hage Geingob said in a statement late on Tuesday.

His comments came after a briefing from Ambassador Zed Ngavirue, Namibia’s special envoy for negotiations with Germany on “Genocide, Apology and Reparations” that started in 2015.

While the president did not mention the amount on offer, local media reports said it was still €10 million ($12 million), a figure Geingob turned out earlier this year too.

According to leading daily The Namibian, the president has directed the special envoy to continue negotiating for “a revised offer.”

Geingob also criticized Germany’s insistence on using the term “healing the wounds” instead of “reparations.”

“While the Namibian government agreed to negotiate the issue of redress (reparations), which the German government consistently referred to as “healing the wounds,” Germany has declined to accept the term “reparations,” read the statement.

Namibia finds the terminology “inadequate” and wants further discussion on the matter, it added.

The president said Berlin “has agreed to render an unconditional apology to the Namibian government, her people and in particular the affected communities.”

Namibia was occupied and colonized by Germany from 1884 to 1915.

Between 1904 and 1908, German troops killed tens of thousands of Herero and Nama people who took arms against the brutal colonial rule.

The skulls of dozens of genocide victims were even sent to Berlin for “racial” scientific research.

The two countries appointed special envoys and started negotiations over reparations in 2015, having held eight rounds of talks so far.

“Although genocide is a punishable crime according to the United Nations Convention on Genocide, signed on 9 December 1948 and effective on 12 January 1951, the German and Namibian governments have agreed on a political settlement,” said the statement from the Namibian presidency.