Inside Story

How should countries deal with historical atrocities?

Germany apologises for the genocide of Indigenous tribes in Namibia, but critics say the compensation deal is an ‘insult’.

It has been called the first genocide of the 20th century.

More than 100 years ago, German soldiers killed tens of thousands of Indigenous people from two ethnic groups in West Africa in what is now Namibia.

Last week, Germany apologised and agreed to pay $1.3bn for infrastructure projects over the next 30 years.

But Namibia’s vice president says that is nowhere near enough.

Descendants of the victims say it is an insult, and does not provide them with any sort of reparation.

So how should countries confront and deal with atrocities committed in the past?

Presenter: Sohail Rahman


Pena Brock – Project consultant, Namibia Institute for Democracy

Henning Melber – Senior research associate, Nordic Africa Institute

Phil Clark – Co-director at the Centre on Conflict, Rights and Justice, SOAS University of London