Germany will pay the nation of Namibia $1.3 billion in reparations for its colonial-era genocide, the German Foreign Minister announced Friday.
“I am grateful that we have reached an understanding with Namibia on how to address the darkest chapter of our common history. This includes naming the events for what they were from today’s perspective: a genocide,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in a statement.
„I am grateful that we have reached an understanding with Namibia on how to address the darkest chapter of our common history. This includes naming the events for what they were from today’s perspective: a genocide“ – @HeikoMaas.
— GermanForeignOffice (@GermanyDiplo) May 28, 2021
“In the light of our historical & moral responsibility, we will ask Namibia and the descendants of the victims for forgiveness. As a gesture to them, we are supporting with a 1.1 billion Euro reconstruction and development program.”
Maas called the “colonial occupation between 1904 and 1908” a “genocide.” (RELATED: Chicago Suburb Approves Plan To Give Reparations To Black Residents)
Wir werden #Namibia und die Nachfahren der Opfer um Verzeihung bitten. Als Geste ihnen gegenüber stellen wir in den nächsten 30 Jahren 1,1 Mrd. bereit, zB für Landwirtschaft und Ausbildung. Wir können die Vergangenheit nicht ändern, aber gemeinsam in die Zukunft schauen. (2/2)
— Heiko Maas ???????? (@HeikoMaas) May 28, 2021
The 1.1 billion euro donation will be used for agriculture and training, Maas tweeted.
“We cannot change the past, but we can look to the future together.”
Namibian presidential press secretary Alfredo Hengari told CNN on Friday the nation welcomed this formal recognition.
“These are very positive developments in light of a very long process that has been accelerated over the past five years,” Hengari reportedly said. “People will never forget this genocide; they live with it. And this is an important process in terms of healing those wounds.”
Germany occupied Namibia between 1884 and 1915, according to The New York Times.
German military forces killed approximately 80,000 Herero and Nama people through battle, starvation, forced labor, sexual violence and medical experiments and disease in concentration camps after the Herero and Nama people revolted, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM). Germany carried out the killings in order to gain the land, according to the USHMM.
Namibia had been seeking reparations for the genocide and stolen land, with “a significant portion of the most arable land in Namibia” being “owned by descendants of the German settlers.”
Germany formally apologized in 2004 and since 2015 the two nations have been in negotiations to compensate the massacre, according to CNN.