Berlin, May 28 : Germany is recognising the atrocities committed by the country’s colonial powers against the Herero and Nama ethnic groups in Namibia as genocide.
Historians say some 65,000 of the 85,000 Herero and at least 10,000 of the 20,000 Nama were killed under the German empire in what it then called German South West Africa from 1884 to 1915, dpa news agency reported.
“As a gesture of recognition for the immeasurable suffering inflicted on the victims, we want to support Namibia and the descendants of the victims with a substantial programme of 1.1 billion euros for reconstruction and development,” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Friday.
Delegations from both countries had earlier agreed on a political declaration after almost six years of negotiations, with both governments now in agreement but the document yet to be signed.
Germany’s government plans to classify the killings as genocide from today’s perspective as part of the agreement.
President Frank-Walter Steinmeir will also officially ask for forgiveness at a ceremony at the Namibian Parliament.
The 1.1 billion euros will primarily be used to support projects in the Herero and Nama settlement areas.
Germany’s government is also emphasizing that its recognition of the genocide and the establishment of the aid fund will not result in any legal claims for compensation.
They state that it is a matter of political and moral obligation.
The negotiations were stalled for a long time over the question of financial compensation for colonial exploitation and oppression.
Namibia’s President Hage Geingob complained last year that the German government had agreed to an “unconditional apology” to Namibia’s government, but did not want to use the term “reparations”.