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Ovaherero Genocide Foundation

Germany: Pay reparations to the victims of the genocide not to government

We are Evelyn Mswetsa, Israel Kaunatjike, Deodat Dirkse and Nandiuasora Mazeingo and we are direct descendants of the victims of the German genocide against Ovaherero and Nama. We strongly object to the so called “Reconciliation Agreement” between the German and Namibian governments for the following reasons:

Germany wants to apologize for the “atrocities” of the Ovaherero and Nama in present-day Namibia, but does not want to recognize it as a genocide in legal terms. The German government wants to pay 1.1 billion Euros over 30 years to the Namibian government and not to us, the descendants of the victims, who were completely left out of the negotiations.

We are members and chairpersons of the Ovaherero Genocide Foundation, the Ovaherero Traditional Authority (OTA) and the Nama Traditional Leaders Association (NTLA). NTLA and OTA represent over 90% of the Nama and Ovaherero people and are therefore the legitimate representatives of the affected communities. As the descendants of the victim communities of the German genocide, the fact that we were left out of the negotiations is a scandal!

Therefore, we demand the following:

1. Full reparations shall be paid to the descendants of the victim communities of the genocide instead of a government, which does not represent us.

2. We demand that Germany accepts its responsibility towards the genocide also according to international law.

3. We want to get rid of this so-called “Reconciliation Agreement” – not REPARATION AGREEMENT, which we see as a Public Relations coup by Germany and an act of betrayal by the Namibian Government

Our dear friend and Berlin-based Ovaherero descendant Israel Kaunatjike also supports our cause and this petition. He states that “The ‘reconciliation agreement’ – not REPARATION AGREEMENT – is a treason towards my ancestors, who are still lying here in Germany in our museums.  Mr. Steinmeier, with such an agreement, you had better stay home. You should rather take Willy Brandt as an example, who fell to his knees in Poland after the second World War. Just like him you, Mr. Steinmeier, should go to your knees – not in parliament, but at the place where Lothar von Throta ordered the genocide of the Ovaherero and Nama. We demand a legal acceptation of the genocide, an honest apology and real and adequate reparation payments to the descendants of the victim communities“.

It can’t be about us without us, anything about us without us is against us……If you ignore the latter, it means you are not addressing our cause.

Given the above, we reject the initial Reconciliation Agreement negotiated without the participation of the legitimate representatives of the majority of the Victim Communities with the contempt it deserves. It is not worth the paper it’s written on and we urge the United Nations, the African Union, and the rest of the international community to reject this gimmick by Germany and Namibia. We equally call upon the UN and the US Government to recognize the 1904-08 massacres by Germany as genocide and crimes against humanity.