Germany officially admits it committed genocide in African nation of Namibia

2021-05-29 16:29:43

Germany has acknowledged its colonial-era killings of tens of thousands of people in the Southern African nation of Namibia, and officially described the massacre as genocide for the first time.

German soldiers killed some 65,000 Herero and 10,000 Nama people in a 1904-1908 campaign after a revolt against land seizures by colonists in what historians and the United Nations have long called the first genocide of the 20th century.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas apologized on Friday for its role in the slaughter and said Berlin has agreed to fund projects worth over a billion euros in its former colony.

"In light of Germany's historical and moral responsibility, we will ask Namibia and the descendants of the victims for forgiveness," Maas said.

But Herero paramount chief Vekuii Rukoro dismissed a deal agreed by the two governments as "an insult" because it did not include payment of reparations.

"That's a black cat in the bag instead of reparations for a crime against humanity," Rukoro told Reuters.

"No self-respecting African will accept such an insult in this day and age from a so-called civilized European nation."

While Germany has previously acknowledged "moral responsibility" for the killings, it had avoided making an official apology for the massacres to avoid compensation claims.

Germany, which lost all its colonial territories after World War One, was the third biggest colonial power after Britain and France. However, its colonial past was ignored for decades while historians and politicians focused more on the legacy of Nazi crimes.

European colonial powers have dark history in Africa

Germany is not the only nation to commit genocide in an African nation. Europe, which seeks to establish itself as a civilized and pro-human rights continent, has a long history of human rights abuses in many parts of the world, including Africa.

The massacre of thousands of Algerians after the end of World War II, who fought for Algerian independence, is a clear example of French war crimes.

France also recently acknowledged it had an indirect role in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.


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