German Government and Namibian Government (2021): Joint Declaration

Screenshot front page Joint Declaration Germany Namibia 15 May 2021 Remembrance Colonial Past Reconciliation

JOINT DECLARATION BY THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY AND THE REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA

“UNITED IN REMEMBRANCE OF OUR COLONIAL PAST, UNITED IN OUR WILL TO RECONCILE, UNITED IN OUR VISION OF THE FUTURE”.

Introduction

The Government of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Government of the Republic of Namibia, as democratically elected by the people of Germany and Namibia respectively,

– Responding to the Resolution of the National Assembly of the Republic of Namibia of 2006 and the Resolutions of the German Bundestag of 1989 and 2004,

– Mindful of the deep wounds inflicted on particular communities and other peoples of Namibia by the atrocities perpetrated during German colonial rule between 1904 and 1908, which echo down and through time and are still felt by Namibians today,

– Recognizing the need for development in order to address the lasting economic, social and psychological hardship of the communities most affected,

(…)”

Admission of atrocities, apology and compensation

The ‘Joint Declaration’ describes the events of that time as atrocities which, from today’s perspective and according to the definition of the United Nations Genocide Convention of 1948, would be described as genocide. These crimes are listed in individual sections. They include the extermination orders issued by the then commander-in-chief of the Schutztruppe, Lothar von Trotha, against Ovaherero and Nama. The text also mentions the concentration camps in Swakopmund and on Shark Island near Lüderitz and deals with the confiscation of land and livestock.

The second part of the Joint Declaration consists of Germany apologising and Namibia accepting this apology.

The third part of the Joint Declaration provides for compensation. This is to take the form of financing projects determined by the affected communities themselves. This also includes the purchase of land. The total value amounts to 1.1 billion euros, with a term of 30 years.

 

 

This PDF file is obviously a scan of (a copy of) the original document that was initialled by the special envoys of the German and Namibian Governments, Ruprecht Polenz and Zedekia Ngavirue, as a conclusion to the negotiations between Germany and Namibia on coming to terms with the colonial past.

No date is given, but the Joint Declaration was initialled on 15 May 2021, as confirmed in a brief news item of 22 September 2022 on the website of the German Bundestag on the Federal Government’s response to a minor interpellation by the parliamentary group Die Linke on the status of the Joint Declaration.

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