Namibia demands apology from former colonial powers

Windhoek- Namibia (PANA) -- Former colonial powers should apologise for the inhuman practices they committed against people in their empires and make up for the damage they caused, a Namibian government official has said.
"We can realise that they are sorry for what they did only if they apologise and compensate for the damages", said Namibia's Prisons and Correctional Service Deputy Minister, Jeremiah Nambinga.
Nambinga made the remarks at the end of a two-day workshop, organised for government officials, representatives of non-governmental agencies and the civil society, to fine-tune Namibia's position at the forthcoming World Conference Against Racism (WCAR).
Nambinga, however, pointed out that no amount of money and apology could be worth the lives lost in slavery and other acts of racism and discrimination.
Participants of the workshop supported the setting up of an international compensation scheme for victims of slave trade and any other transactional racist policies and acts.
Namibia fully endorses the setting up of a development reparation fund to provide resources for development processes in countries affected by colonialism.
According to Namibia's, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Information and Broadcasting, Theo-Ben Gurirab, modalities of such reparation and compensation should be defined by the WCAR in a practical and result-oriented manner.
"Each country has its own experience of victimisation and slavery.
We (Namibia) have a specific concern and a legitimate position and need to find a way of bringing it to the attention of the UN conference.
"Our delegation needs to have its own issue that represents Namibia and the final answer will be in a document that will be adopted after the conference," said Gurirab.
The Unites States has threatened to pull out of the conference if issues, such as reparation and Zionism, will be on the WCAR agenda.
A spokesperson of the US Embassy in Windhoek, George Kopf, told PANA: "America's position is that the inclusion of the language supporting reparation could prevent us from attending the conference.
"It is a complex situation.
Our history is that many people arrived in the country after the slavery era.
"While we feel and acknowledge that damage was done, we do not think that it will be proper to include it for discussion at the conference that is supposed to bring people together".
African regional recommendations to the WCAR call for an International Compensation Scheme for victims of slave trade, as well as victims of any other transactional racist policies and acts.

16 august 2001 20:20:00

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