Ovaherero and Nama people take Germany to court in USA

Ovaherero and Nama people take Germany to court in USA
Photo credits: 
Nampa

Representatives of the Ovaherero and Nama people are suing the German government for financial reparations for the 1904-1908 genocide in Namibia.
The federal class action lawsuit filed in the United States (US) Federal Court in New York also seeks the inclusion of the plaintiffs in all negotiations between Germany and Namibia over the issue.
Thousands of Ovaherero and Nama people died during that genocide following in extermination order by the then German imperial government.
A statement issued Thursday by Kenneth McCallion of the New York-based law firm, McCallion and Associates, said the two primary plaintiffs are Ovaherero Chief, Advocate Vekuii Rukoro and Chairperson of the Nama Traditional Authorities Association, David Frederick.
The plaintiffs are representing those indigenous people in Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, US and elsewhere.
Rukoro confirmed the lawsuit to Nampa here Friday.
McCallion said in the statement that both Germany and Namibia are parties to the United Nations (UN) Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by the UN General Assembly on 13 September 2007.
The law firm said Article 18 of the 2007 Declaration provides that “indigenous peoples have the right to participate in decision-making in matters which would affect their rights, through representatives chosen by themselves”.
The statement says therefore, the two lead plaintiffs, as the lawful representatives of the Ovaherero and Nama people, have the legitimate right to participate in any negotiations with Germany relating to the incalculable financial, material, cultural, intellectual, religious and spiritual losses suffered by those peoples as a result of their mistreatment at the hands of the German colonial authorities.
“The Ovaherero and Nama indigenous people were robbed during the German colonial occupation period of virtually all of the rich grazing lands that provided the economic basis for their communities and cultural heritage.”
The statement charges that as a result, those peoples have been condemned for generations to perpetual and institutionalised poverty, requiring as a matter of fundamental justice that their lawful representatives be included in the negotiations with Germany.
Upon his return from a transnational congress on the Ovaherero and Nama Genocide held in Berlin, Germany during October last year, Rukoro emphasised the need for the Namibian Government to affirm the right of the affected Ovaherero and Nama communities to pursue restorative justice.
“The Namibian Government must facilitate the direct and broad participation of the representatives of Ovaherero and Nama communities from Namibia and in the diaspora in any negotiation,” Rukoro said.
-Nampa