UN: Germany’s reparations for colonial crimes in Namibia have received criticism from UN representatives
By Ahmad Hadizat Omayoza, MAMOS Nigeria
The German and Namibian governments have been criticized by UN special rapporteurs for violating the rights of the Herero and Nama ethnic minorities by excluding them from discussions regarding compensation for colonial crimes against their ancestors.
The seven representatives of the United Nations published their communication with both governments, stating that it was wrong for the Herero and Nama to have been involved in talks indirectly through an advisory committee and urging Germany to take responsibility for all of its colonial crimes in Namibia, including mass murder. They approached Germany to pay repayments straightforwardly to the Herero and Nama and not to the Namibian government.
The unique rapporteurs have focused on making quick work of associated negations with global regulation. The UN human rights council appointed them as independent experts, but the international organization does not pay them. It is not possible to compel governments to act on their reports. However, it appears that they have a significant impact.
Between 1904 and 1908, when Germany was the colonial power in what was then German South West Africa, the brutal murder of tens of thousands of Herero and Nama people is at the heart of the issue.
In January, Herero and Nama lawyers in Namibia filed a claim with a Namibian court asking it to invalidate the “joint declaration” between Germany and Namibia because it violated several Namibian constitution articles. Assuming that the case is fruitful the arrangement would need to be haggled once more.
The legislatures in Berlin and Windhoek concurred the statement in 2021 following quite a while of conversation. However, due to its rejection by a number of Herero and Nama associations, which demanded direct participation in the negotiations and compensation, it has never been signed. German payments of approximately €1.1 billion (£1 billion) were agreed upon to finance development projects over a 30-year period.