Namas Demand Reparations from Germany

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By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK A second legitimate claim for genocide reparations by the Nama people of the country is about to be lodged against the German government. This collective and far-reaching decision was taken at a recent meeting of the Nama Traditional Authority in the capital. “The Nama Traditional Authorities wishes to affirm the standpoint of the Nama people on just compensation in relation to the sinister and systematic killing of the Namibian people, which resulted in genocide being committed against the Nama and other peoples of Namibia during the years 1904 to 1907,” a media release from the Nama Traditional Authority yesterday stated. The Hereros were the first to claim reparations from the German government. “The meeting was held to break the silence on the genocide subject and also to provide clear guidance on demands for reparations as it affects the Nama people. We want to categorically state that indigenous Nama clans suffered severely and brutally at the hands of German imperial forces during the period mentioned and before, in a despicable and menacing move to exterminate the Nama people and to rob them of their land and possessions,” the Nama Traditional Authority said. The Authority also claims that it has in its possession written and physical evidence of some of the heinous atrocities that had been committed against Nama clans. “It is our considered view therefore to enter into a meaningful dialogue through the existing bilateral and multilateral agreements between the Namibian and German governments about these heinous crimes in a responsible and constructive way, so that Nama communities adversely affected by the genocide be direct beneficiaries of tangible developmental programmes, which have the singular objective to change their socioeconomic situation for the better,” the Authority demands. The statement also referred to the recently discovered human remains at LÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚¼deritz, the Authority claiming them to the bones of Nama people and others who died at Shark Island during 1906 and 1907. “It is therefore our appeal to the Namibian government to institute appropriate forensic analysis that will determine the origin of these bones and to closely liaise with the traditional authorities of the area for consultations and advice, so that a mass burial as envisaged by the Namibian government be coordinated; and with needed input from the Nama Traditional Authority to embark upon a lasting solution,” the Authority said. “We would also like to inform the relevant authorities of Namdeb, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and other stakeholders about a planned visit by the Nama Traditional Authority to the site near LÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚¼deritz where the remains were found, at a date to be determined. “The purpose of the visit is to personally witness the remains and to come up with collective decisions and proposals on practical measures for the burial of the remains,” the statement concluded. The statement was signed by nine Nama chiefs: Dawid Frederick, Chief Afrikaner, Kooper, Kooitjie, Daniel Luipert, C. Rooi, chief Titus, chief Stephanus and chief Christian.