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Event Series: Cooperation event of the Centre for Rural Development (SLE) and the Heinrich Böll Foundation (hbs)
Digital format

Development Policy Discussion Days (DPDD)

In the Shadow of Colonial Culpability. Can Germany meet Demands for Restorative Justice through Bilateral Development Cooperation?


Tue., May 28, 2024
4:00pm - 6:00pm


EPDT 2024

Activists and descendants of those affected by colonial violence persistently advocate for restorative justice. In addition to an apology, they are calling for concrete  measures t alleviate the consequences of past atrocities that can still be felt today. Germany is also confronted with such demands, particularl regarding the genocide committed against the Herero and Nama, Damara and San between 1904 and 1908.

After many years of dialogue, government delegations from Germany and Namibia agreed on a declaration in 2021. The key points are (1) recognition of the crimes as genocide, (2) an apology (3) payments over a period of thirty years amounting to 1.1 billion euros. These are to be made available for development programs, primarily in projects in the settlement areas of the Herero and Nama.

However, the declaration has so far remained unsigned due to fierce criticism, especially from the Namibian side: some Herero and Nama representatives argued to have been sidelined from negotiations and it was further addressed that the term "reparations" was avoided and the pledged amount mirrors previous Development Cooperation contributions.

Both countries’ governments, however, stand by this declaration, arguing that the democratically elected Namibian government represents all citizens. The German government argued that reparations with all its legal implications are impossible because the Herero and Nama living today are not direct genocide victims. These conflicting standpoints raise the questions:

  • Is restorative justice for the genocide of the Herero and Nama appropriate and possible?
  • How can the pathway towards restorative justice in Namibia succeed? What can be transferred to other countries with a German colonial history?
  • Is bilateral Development Cooperation the right instrument to effectively foster restorative justice?

Further information

Organizer: Seminar für Ländliche Entwicklung (SLE)
Moderation: 62. Jahrgang des SLE-Postgraduiertenprogramms & Stipendiat*innen der hbs

Further information on the event's website


Tina Walther (Koordination EPDT 2024)
Phone: (030) 2093-46879