Namibia never wavered on pursuing genocide reparations

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WINDHOEK, 11 October 2016 - Vice President Nickey Iyambo photographed while attending President Hage Geingob's meeting with the Namibia National Teachers' Union (Nantu) leadership at State House on Tuesday. (Photo by: Joseph Nekaya) NAMPA

Staff Reporter

Windhoek-The Namibian government has strongly objected to the claims that it made a “u-turn on genocide”, as reported by a local daily newspaper last week.

In a statement issued by the Vice-President Nickey Iyambo, who is the Chairperson of the Political Committee on Genocide, Apology and Reparations, government says the story made false and malicious statements.

The statements were to the effect that government is making a u-turn in its approach and policy on the handling of the 1904-1908 genocide, that it is planning a legal tussle of dragging Germany to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and that it is only joining the chorus for the demand of reparations now.

“The Government of the Republic of Namibia re-affirms hereby its commitment to the current diplomatic negotiations which emanate from our national parliament motion adopted on 26 October 2006,” said the statement.

Iyambo also clarifies that the guiding policy principle since the appointment of the Namibian Special Envoy, Dr Zed Ngavirue, in December 2015 has always been anchored on three pillars, namely ‘genocide, apology and reparations.’

“A substantive document setting out our case on genocide, apology and reparations has been submitted to the government of the Federal Republic of Germany through their special envoy on 6 July 2016,” said Iyambo in the statement.

“We trust the government of the Federal Republic of Germany is giving serious attention to the position contained in the said document, supplemented by the exchanges in the meetings we have had so far. Thus, the Government of the Republic of Namibia has no reason at this stage to take recourse to any court,” said the Vice President.

The Vice-President says Namibia’s position has the full support and active participation of the direct genocide victims (Ovaherero and Nama communities) as well as other affected communities.

The only invitation extended to the group that is currently not participating in the bilateral negotiations has always been to join in the diplomatic negotiations that are currently at an advanced stage.

“It goes without saying that the form of acceptable apology and meaningful quantum of reparations are serious and sensitive issues that cannot be a matter of speculative journalism,” said Iyambo.

The statement also says the government is committed to work with the German government “to bring about an amicable closure to this sad history on the basis of the principles of mutual trust and humanitarianism.”

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