Germany’s Genocide Redress Offer is Inadequate, Namibia Says

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Namibia’s government said Germany’s offer to pay it 1.1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) to make amends for a colonial-era massacre was inadequate, but had been agreed to on the understanding that the amount will be subject to future revision.

Talks between the two governments on compensation for the slaying of tens of thousands of Hereros and Nama by the rulers of what was then German South West Africa between 1904 and 1908 have dragged on for more than five years. While Germany conceded that the killings constituted genocide, it steered clear of saying it would pay reparations, and instead agreed to fund development projects in areas inhabited by communities whose ancestors were targeted.

Namibia requested an amount to make amends for the loss of life, ancestral land, livestock and heritage during colonial rule, and the German government counter-offered with a lesser amount, Namibian Vice President Nangolo Mbumba said in a televised address to the nation.

“This situation almost led to a deadlock and inconclusive talks,” and while the Namibian government considered the German offer to be insufficient, it had agreed to a deal on the understanding that there had to be give and take, Mbumba said. “Germany has agreed to commit to revisit and renegotiate the amount, as the implementation of the reparations ensues. The implementation will also be subjected to periodic impact assessment and evaluation at agreed intervals.”

Germany occupied Namibia from 1884 until 1915. The League of Nations then handed control to South Africa, which had defeated German forces defending the territory, and it ruled until independence in 1990. The largely arid nation has a population of 2.5 million -- about 7% of whom are Herero and 5% Nama -- and among the world’s highest levels of inequality.

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