News Brief

Germany to Return Human Remains of Namibian Genocide Victims

The German government is still yet to give a formal apology or reparations to victims of its atrocities.

Germany will return the remains of up to 30 Hero and Nama people who were murdered during the genocide in Namibia over a century ago, reports BBC Africa.

The remains were originally seized and sent to Germany for pseudo-scientific experiments aimed at proving the superiority of the white race. According to The Daily Maverick the remains include 19 skulls, as well as a scalp and bones. It is estimated that around 100,000 Namibians were massacred between 1904 and 1908 under German colonial rule.

They remains are set to be handed over to a Namibian delegation on Wednesday during a church ceremony in Berlin. "We want to help heal the wounds from the atrocities committed by Germans at the time," said Michelle Muentefering, a minister of state for international cultural policies in the German foreign ministry.


To many the ceremony alone is insufficient. Germany, is still yet to make a formal apology for the atrocities carried out under its colonial rule, despite promising to do so in 2016. Namibians, unlike the victims of World War II, have not received reparations. Instead the German government has pointed to the millions of dollars of foreign aid sent over since 1990 as recompense.

Representatives of the Hero and Nama people filed a class action suit against Germany in 2017 demanding reparations, but the case has not yet been decided on.

This will mark the third time that Germany has repatriated remains to Namibia, they've previously done so in 2011 and 2014, but it's clear that until Germany takes full accountability for its brutal colonial legacy, these acts are mere gestures.

Music
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News Brief
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