WINDHOEK: German Member of Parliament (MP) Niema Movassat has described his week-long visit to Namibia as “fruitful” and “an eye-opener”.
“My visit was very fruitful and I now have a better understanding of affected communities on reparations,” he told Nampa in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.
Movassat, who is a member of Germany’s Left Party, arrived in Namibia last Wednesday and held talks with, amongst others, the committees of descendants of the victims of the 1904-1908 German genocide.
Upon his arrival, he met with officials from the German Embassy here and discussed issues such as natural resource management and land reform with representatives from the German Association for International Cooperation (GIZ).
He also met with Swapo-Party Chief Whip and Member of Parliament (MP) Peter Katjavivi in order to discuss possibilities of a more regular dialogue between the two parliaments as well as other Government officials.
Movassat met with the Technical Committee of the OvaHerero/OvaMbanderu Council on the 1904 Genocide (OCD-1904); OvaHerero Paramount Chief Kuaima Rirurako; the Nama technical committee; and members of opposition parties such as Swanu of Namibia and the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP).
Other meetings were, amongst others, with officials from the local environment lobby group, Earthlife Namibia; the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC); human rights group NamRights; the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN) and the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW).
Meanwhile, Movassat was expected to address the Red Flag commemoration that was supposed to take place at Okahandja over the past weekend. The Namibian Police Force (NamPol) however last Thursday issued an urgent order calling off the event, citing security reasons.
Movassat is also a member of the Bundestag (Parliament) Committee on Economic Cooperation and Development.
The Left Party’s motion ‘Acknowledging the German Colonial Crimes in Former German South-West Africa as Genocide and Working towards Restorative Justice’ was tabled by the German Bundestag in March 2012.
The tabling of the motion followed the return of 20 skulls believed to be that of OvaHerero and Nama people to Namibia from Berlin, Germany towards the end of last year.
That motion also suggested a joint inter-parliamentary dialogue between the parliaments of Namibia and Germany on the repatriation of the remains of Namibian victims of the genocide, and supported the demand for reparations by Namibians.
“We in the Left Party received a great deal of encouragement for our motion in both Namibia and Germany. We shall continue the struggle inside and outside Parliament to rally the necessary majorities in Germany behind the just cause of responding to the legitimate demands of the descendants of the victims of the Ovaherero and Nama,” he added.
Movassat returned to Germany on Wednesday.