Germany for the first time on Friday recognised it had committed genocide in Namibia during its colonial occupation, with Berlin promising financial support worth more than one billion euros to aid projects in the African nation.
“We will now officially refer to these events as what they are from today’s perspective: genocide,” said Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in a statement welcomed as a “first step” by Windhoek.
The agreement came after more than five years of negotiations between the two countries over events in the territory held by Berlin from 1884 to 1915.
German colonial settlers killed tens of thousands of indigenous Herero and Nama people in 1904-1908 massacres — labelled the first genocide of the 20th century by historians and poisoning relations between Namibia and Germany for years.
“The acceptance on the part of Germany that a genocide was committed is the first step in the right direction,” Namibian President Hage Geingob’s spokesman Alfredo Hengari told AFP.
“It is the basis for the second step, which is an apology, to be followed by reparations,” he added.
While Berlin had previously acknowledged that atrocities occurred at the hands of its colonial authorities, it has repeatedly refused to pay direct reparations.
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