When the Herero (Ovaherero) people of Namibia revolted against the confiscation of their land and cattle by German colonists, more than 80,000 men, women and children were killed. On October 2, 1904 Lieutenant-General Lothar von Trotha publicly issued a written extermination order, Vernichtungsbefehl, of the Herero people in Namibia on behalf of Germany Kaiser Wilhelm II. This infamous extermination order decreed: “Herero found within the German borders with or without a gun, with or without cattle, will be shot. I shall no longer receive any women and children. I will drive them back to their people, or I will shoot them”. The United Nations and historians consider this to be the first genocide of the 20th century, and it is estimated that eighty percent (80%) of the estimated 150 000 tribe was killed.
The Herero people suffered incalculable losses from mutilation, rape, slaughter, and banishment from their land. Survivors were confined to concentration camps where they performed forced labor. Today, descendants of the survivors continue to reside in Botswana, South Africa, and many other countries. The majority of the Herero people live in their homeland of Namibia, where they are now a minority. While the then German Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, Mrs. Wieczorek-Zeul, apologized for the genocide at a commemorative event in 2004, however the German government refuses to enter into a meaningful dialogue about reparations.
In order to address the genocide of the Herero people, the late Paramount Chief Kuaima Riruako filed a lawsuit against the German government and German companies that benefited from slave labor in the US courts. However, the case was dismissed for technical reasons.
We, the undersigned, urge the government of Germany to offer reparations to the Herero and Nama tribes of Namibia for the genocide committed against their people from 1904-1908.
This petition is endorsed by many community leaders and it is the undertaking of the Ovaherero Diaspora and descendants.