Special Rapporteurs from the United Nations (UN) have confirmed that the participation rights of the Ovaherero and Nama people have been violated by the German and Namibian governments in terms of international law. The rapporteurs also urge the German government to grant reparations.

The Nama Traditional Leaders Association (NTLA) and the Ovaherero Traditional Authority (OTA), through their legal representation, had earlier reached out to the international community, questioning the lawfulness of the two governments.

"One of the main legal issues the Special Rapporteurs raise is the lack of effective participation of Ovaherero and Nama during the German-Namibian interstate negotiations between 2015 and 2021, leading to the Joint Declaration initialled in May 2021," said Professor Mutjinde Katjiua, faction leader of the Ovaherero Traditional Authority.

The communication from the UN Rapporteurs also stated that the Joint Declaration initialled in 2021 does not contain effective reparative measures or provide the necessary means to achieve reconciliation.
"They affirm that according to international standards, reparation should aim at comprehensively addressing the multiple consequences and effects of the harm suffered, including as a result of killings, starvation, torture, gendered violence, forced labour, or loss of property, and should entail measures in the areas of restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, and satisfaction."

At a media briefing in Windhoek, the affected parties stated that letters regarding the violation of international law were sent to both the German and Namibian governments, where they had 60 days to respond.

While the German government asked for an extension of the deadline, the Namibian government, according to the UN report, did not respond at all.

"We shall leave no stone unturned in our quest for restorative justice. We shall never accept that sold-out document, the Joint Declaration, which negates our rights and betrays the blood of our ancestors! We are clear that nothing about us is without us," said Katjiua.



Frances Shaahama