6. January 2017

Nama and Ovaherero take Germany to court

THE Ovaherero and Nama traditional authorities have filed a federal class action lawsuit in the United States of America against Germany seeking restorative justice for the 1904 to 1908 genocide of the Ovaherero and Nama people.
OvaHerero Paramount Chief, Advocate Vekuii Rukoro in an interview with The Namibian today said that after they have tried the diplomatic route and not gotten any results, they have decided on the class action.
Rukoro said they decided on filing the lawsuit in a USA federal court in New York as they believe it was the best jurisdiction for the matter to be dealt. He added that they have done their homework and that they have faith that international and human rights law is on their side. “They have decided to put their heads in the sand the ostrich way, disrespect our people and our government. We have faith that restorative justice will prevail,” Rukoro said.

According to a press statement released today evening, Rukoro and Chief David Frederick, the chairperson of the Nama Traditional Authorities, are the two primary plaintiffs who together represent the Ovaherero and Nama people of Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, USA and elsewhere.
The statement further read that the lawsuit comes after the group have repeatedly petitioned the German government to include them in the ongoing discussions concerning the genocide, without any success.
Further, the complaint alleges that both Germany and Namibia are parties to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly on 13 September 2007.

The statement further said that the complaint also stated that the two lead plaintiffs, as the lawful representatives of the Ovaherero and Nama peoples, 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 the Ovaherero and Nama peoples as a result of their mistreatment at the hands of the German colonial authorities.
In addition, the complaint stated that the Namibian government cannot adequately or completely represent the interests of these indigenous minority communities in Namibia, and most certainly cannot represent the tens of thousands of Ovaherero and Nama peoples who live in Botswana, South Africa, the United States and many other countries.

And based on this, the plaintiffs are seeking an appropriate order and judgment from the USA court requiring that they, as the lawful representatives of the Ovaherero and Nama peoples, be included in any negotiations in order to assure that their minority, indigenous and human rights are properly protected, and that their claims against Germany relating to the 1904-1908 Genocide not be compromised or settled without their participation or permission. (The Namibian, Windhoek)

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