Norbert Lammert, president of the Bundestag or the German parliament, said it was "regrettable, and in the context of recent debates, also a bit embarrassing" that the German legislature has yet to make a statement on the killings in Namibia, the Deutsche Welle reported Tuesday.
The Namibia Genocide is considered one of the first genocides of the last century, carried out against the Heroro and Nama peoples in southwest Africa by the then-German empire. Historians say German Gen. Lothar von Trotha, sent in 1904 to the German colony in southwest Africa to put down an uprising by the Hereros against their German rulers, instructed his troops to wipe out the entire tribe. About two-thirds of all Hereros were killed, and from around 100,000 members of the Herero and Nama tribes in 1903, only about 20,000 were alive in 1908. Lammert voiced "well-founded optimism" that the negotiations between Germany and Namibia will produce a result, but added that he expects a statement regarding the incident by the Parliament. The German government says the basis for their approach is a parliamentary motion signed in 2012 by Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, stating that "the war of destruction in Namibia from 1904 to 1908 was a war crime and genocide."
Steinmeier was an opposition leader at the time and the motion didn't pass. Norbert Lammert said last year that the deaths of Herero and Nama peoples between 1904 and 1907 were genocide under the "criteria of international law today." The lower house of the German parliament previously approved a non-binding resolution recognizing Armenian claims of "genocide" during the events of 1915. Turkey denies the Armenian allegations of "genocide," but acknowledges that there were casualties on both sides during the events of World War I. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Germany should be "the last country to hold a vote on a genocide." "Our history is not a history of massacres. Our history is a history of mercy and compassion. This is the difference between us."