Germany should give human remains a dignified ceremony

05 Mar 2014 10:20am
WINDHOEK, 05 MAR (NAMPA) - Non-governmental and non-profit organisation AfricAvenir has urged Germany to carry out a dignified ceremony for the restitution of stolen human remains to Namibia.
AfriAvenir chairperson Nicolai Röschert said in a media statement on Tuesday that the organisation is also calling on Germany to apologise for the Herero and Nama genocides which took place between 1904 and 1908.
A Namibian government delegation arrived in Frankfurt, Germany on Monday for the repatriation of skulls of Namibians who were killed and taken to Germany for experimentation at the turn of the 20th century.
The delegation is led by the Minister of Youth, National Service, Sports and Culture Jerry Ekandjo, and they are expected to return to Namibia on Thursday this week with 35 skulls and three human skeletons.
Röschert said on the occasion of this restitution, the Alliance No Amnesty on Genocide supported by the Central Council of the African Community in Germany and 120 other organisations asks the German Federal Republic for a radical shift in its relationship with the descendants of colonised people, and for an unambiguous position against ongoing colonial racism.
“One-hundred-and-thirty years after the Berlin Conference, during which the European colonial powers debated on the partitioning of the African continent, and 100 years after the fall of the German colonial empire, Germany can no longer evade its historical and political responsibility for the crimes against humanity committed in Africa, Asia and Oceania, including the first genocide of the 20th century.
“Let Germany use this restitution as an opportunity to ask the Namibian people officially for forgiveness,” he stressed.
The statement also quoted Israel Kaunatjike, who lives in Berlin.
“It is outrageous that the Federal Government, out of fear for our legitimate demands for reparation and for further protests, neither invites the descendants of the genocide victims nor the general public to Charité,” Kaunatjike said.
The first 14 of 35 Namibian skulls kept at the University of Freiburg in south-west Germany were handed over to the Namibian delegation on Tuesday.
The handing-over of the remaining 21 skulls and three skeletons will take place on Wednesday at the Charité University in Berlin.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Central Council of the African Community based in Germany, Moctar Kamara, was also quoted in the statement as saying that the German government should finally accept its responsibility for colonial crimes, and sincerely ask the descendants of the victims for forgiveness.
AfricAvenir engages in political education and information dissemination, both in Africa and in Europe.
The organisation was founded in Douala, Cameroon by Prince Kum' a Ndumbe III in 1985, while the German section was founded in the year 2000 during his exile in Berlin, Germany.
Since 2007, AfricAvenir is also present in Windhoek, and in 2012 another section was founded in Cotonou/Calavi, Benin.