06 January 2017 – After having repeatedly petitioned the German Government to include them in the ongoing reparation discussions, without success, the leaders of the Ovaherero and Nama indigenous peoples filed a federal class action lawsuit in a U.S. federal court in New York to appeal for their representation between the German and Namibian government talks on the 1904-1908 Genocide.
In a statement released this week, the plaintiffs, Ovaherero Paramount Chief Adv. Vekuii Rukoro and Chief David Frederick, Chairman of the Nama Traditional Authorities Association, said they demand an order and judgement from the U.S. court, as the lawful representatives of the Ovaherero and Nama peoples, to be included in negotiations to assure that their minority, indigenous and human rights are protected against Germany relating to the Genocide.
The two plantiffs said that they are purposely being left out of talks to seek damages for the 1904-1908 Genocide of the Ovaherrero and Nama peoples.
The Heads of Argument filed on behalf of the two ethnic groups stated that both Germany and Namibia are parties to the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples adopted by the U.N. General Assembly on 13 September 2007 and that Article 18 of the 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 documents filed before the court further alleges 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 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.
As the official representatives of the Ovaherero and Nama indigenous peoples of Namibia, the filed federal class action lawsuit in the U.S. federal court in New York is seeking for monetary reparation and a court order that forces Germany from not excluding them from participating in the current negotiations between the German and Namibian governments concerning the atonement of the First Reich.
As further explained in the Complaint, the Ovaherero and Nama indigenous people were robbed, during the German colonial occupation, of virtually all the grazing lands that provided the economic basis for their communities and cultural heritage. As a result, the Ovaherero and Nama have been condemned for generations to perpetual and institutionalized poverty, requiring as a matter of fundamental justice that their lawful representatives be included in the negotiations with Germany.
The plaintiffs’ statements also argue that the Namibian Government can not adequately or completely represent the interests of these indigenous minority communities in Namibia, and most certainly can not represent the tens of thousands of Ovaherero and Nama who live in Botswana, South Africa, the United States and many other countries around the globe, hence their appeal.