Let’s rally behind Kankololo: Nghiyolwa

Fredrich Nghiyolwa, an executive member of the MTC Salute Boxing Academy, has called on the nation to rally behind Nathanael “Natty” Kankololo when he steps in the ring on Saturday night.

Kankololo, an African Boxing Union (ABU) featherweight champion, will take on Oleg Malinovskyi of Ukraine for the World Boxing Organisation Inter-Continental Feather Title at the AKKO International in Kiev.

Speaking at the sending-off ceremony on Wednesday, Nghiyolwa said: “It is days like this that people should appreciate the hard work that boxing stables, sponsors, and boxers put in.

Our boxers continue to put the Namibian nation on the map and we, therefore, call on the nation to support this course as we promise to come back with the title.”

On his part, Kankolo told the media that he will deliver come Saturday night because he has been working hard.

“I just call on my fans to keep on supporting me. I would also like to wish my brother Jeremiah Nakathila who will fight for a world title in America all the best because we are carrying our national duties when we step in the ring,” he said.

Meanwhile, MTC’s Corporate Communication Manager, John Ekongo who also attended the event said boxing has done well in the country as it is ranked second-best sport code.

“We see Kankololo is a determined young man that wants to take the world by storm and this is part of our agreement with boxing stables to fight for titles with the best in the world and prove themselves in the world,” said Ekongo who also wished the boxer luck with his fight on Saturday.

Source: Namibia Press Agency

Namibian genocide: why Germany’s bid to make amends isn’t enough

The recent “joint declaration” of the Namibian and German governments on dealing with the 1904-08 genocide marks the first time a former colonial power has officially offered an apology to another country for state sponsored mass crimes.

The agreement stipulates that Germany will pay €1.1bn for development projects in Namibia over the next 30 years.

Some pundits consider the accord a potential template for efforts towards post-colonial reconciliation for other former colonies and colonial powers.

We recognise that this is the first time that a former colonial power has admitted an historical injustice on a state-to-state level. But the negotiated compromise displays glaring shortcomings in being overly cautious to avoid any legal implications for Germany that may create a precedent. It also shows that the limited participation of representatives from the Namibian communities most affected by the genocide is hampering true reconciliation.

In our view bilateral agreements between governments – like this one – fall short of a true decolonisation of relations between people.

The history

The agreement is the result of protracted negotiations between Germany and Namibia. It builds on former pronouncements, such as the 2004 speech by the German Minister for Economic Cooperation, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, at the centennial of the battle at the Waterberg, which marked the beginning of the genocide.

She acknowledged that what had happened was “a war of extermination … today called genocide” before asking: “forgive our trespasses and our guilt”.

More than a decade later, in mid-2015, the German Foreign Ministry conceded that the warfare in 1904-1908 was tantamount to genocide. At the end of that year, bilateral negotiations between the two governments were initiated. But these kept on hitting stumbling blocks.

Wary of possible far-reaching legal obligations, Germany wanted to negotiate the format of its apology to Namibia. It was also reluctant to use the term “genocide”. It has always refused to accept the term “reparations”.

A few years earlier, in 2011, some initial progress had been made in addressing the colonial atrocities with the first return of human remains from Berlin to Namibia of the victims of the genocide. The skulls and other human body parts had been taken to colonial Germany for anthropological anatomical studies that later contributed towards Nazi “race science”.

Subsequently, many more opportunities for meaningful reconciliation were missed.

The fear of potential legal implications of any agreement, and the precedent that might create for Germany and other former colonial powers, loom large. They fear opening the door for reparations.

From a German perspective, this also includes pending claims by Greece, Italy and Poland for compensation for mass atrocities committed by German soldiers from World War II.

The recent compromise negotiated by Germany and Namibia avoids such a “trap” for Germany and other former colonial powers.

Too little, too late

Germany’s commitment of €1.1bn for development projects in Namibia is too cheap a price to pay for remorse. Compared with the lasting human costs and material damage created in Namibia, this amounts to tokenism. As Ovaherero paramount chief Vekuii Rukoro has said, it adds insult to injury.

The annual payment over the next 30 years amounts to about €37 million, just about N$618 million at current exchange rates. Namibia’s national budget for 2021/22 is N$67.9 billion.

For the Namibian government, such money is a tempting carrot. After all, the country’s economy is in a deep recession. COVID-19 has added to the fiscal crisis.

Thus, such a financial injection would come in handy, especially at a time of eroding trust in government. The money is earmarked for land reform and development, rural infrastructure, energy and water supply as well as education.

Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier is expected to visit Namibia to ask for an apology in the National Assembly. But such an official policy level engagement cannot replace a direct exchange with the descendants of the most affected communities, who have threatened to welcome the German president with a protest.

Recognition without compensation

After the negotiations were concluded, the German Foreign Ministry issued an official statement. It stressed that the recognition of genocide did not imply any “legal claims for compensation”.

Instead, the “substantial programme … for reconstruction and development” was declared as a “gesture of recognition” for the wrongdoings by Germany.

One wonders if “gestures” are indeed an adequate form of recognition. Given the dimensions of the crimes committed then, more empathy would be an important signal. Such formal language can be very humiliating and hurtful.

Reconciliation needs more than material compensation. The devastating demographic and socio-economic consequences of genocide can never be compensated. Significantly improving the well-being of the descendants of the victims would be an important material aspect. This requires more than the payments offered.

So is an adequate expression of remorse in recognition of the historical injustice. The “joint declaration” states that

The Namibian Government and people accept Germany’s apology and believe that it paves the way to a lasting mutual understanding and the consolidation of a special relationship between the two nations.

Without consultation and legitimacy, the two governments here declare what the Namibian people are supposed to accept.

Notably, even the representatives of three Ovaherero Royal Houses participating in the final round of negotiations indicated on their return home that they would not endorse the suggested agreement.

What true reconciliation requires

Through a long and halting process, Germany has ultimately made significant progress in facing up to the atrocities of the Holocaust of European Jews during World War II. Its remembrance is now claimed as part of the Germany’s DNA. The Holocaust memorial in central Berlin does that for Jewish victims.

And Germany has reached a measure of reconciliation with neighbouring France, and to a lesser extent with Poland for its crimes during the war.

Germany’s colonial atrocities should also enter public memory. Public commemoration of the victims of numerous crimes committed under German colonialism, such as those in Namibia, is long overdue.

If there is a lesson to be learnt from these actions, it is that bilateral agreements between governments cannot replace reconciliation between the people of the two countries concerned. The descendents of the victims on the Namibian genocide are traceable, but what about the perpetrators? As the Namibian activist and author Jephta U Nguherimo has stated,

President Steinmeier should deliver his apology to the Bundestag for the German people to understand and learn about their untold genocide.

So far, this vital perspective is totally missing.

A compromise, but not yet a solution

The German-Namibian agreement is the limited result of a compromise reached through flawed government negotiations. Still, this is a widely acknowledged pioneering step.

From a German perspective, the admission of guilt with the consequences attached is one step towards breaking continued colonial amnesia.

This could ultimately foster long overdue awareness of Germany’s colonial past. It can promote unreserved recognition that Germans occupied foreign territories and subjugated people, creating lasting damage. But even this would contribute little towards healing festering wounds in Namibia.

Decolonisation and reconciliation must become a shared process between people. Governments can help to facilitate such a process. They can never supplant it.

Source: The Conversation Media Group Ltd

China’s New ‘Three-Child Policy’ Sparks Skepticism Over Costs to Parents

The ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on Monday unveiled new plans to boost flagging birth rates and reverse population aging, raising the official limit on the number of children per couple from two to three.

The move came five years after the CCP scrapped a historic policy limiting most couples to just one child, which gave rise to decades of human rights abuses, including forced late-term abortions and sterilizations, as well as widespread monitoring of women’s fertility by officials.

The new policy was announced as CCP general secretary Xi Jinping chaired a meeting of the Politburo geared towards addressing the aging of the Chinese population.

“China will support couples that wish to have a third child,” state news agency Xinhua reported.

The Politburo concluded that “education and guidance should be provided to promote marriage and family values among marriage-age young people,” it said, adding that tax and housing incentives would also be in the pipeline for couples wanting to have children.

Among the support measures planned by the government include improvements to prenatal and postnatal care, a universal childcare service, and reduced education costs for families.

China’s fertility rate stood at around 1.3 children per woman in 2020, compared with the 2.1 children per woman needed for the population to replace itself.

Raising kids in China is a costly business, with parents stretched to find money for even one child’s education. While state-run schools don’t charge tuition until the 10th year of compulsory education, they increasingly demand nominal payments of various kinds, as well as payments for food and extracurricular activities.

There are signs that the people who do most of the mental, physical and emotional work of child-bearing and raising may not readily step up to solve the government’s population problems, however.

Government interference

In a poll posted to the official Xinhua news agency account on the Weibo social media platform, 29,000 out of 31,000 respondents said they wouldn’t consider having more children.

The poll was later removed, Reuters reported.

Zhang Jianping, a rights activist from the eastern province of Jiangsu, said government interference in people’s private lives was never a good idea.

“It was wrong to impose curbs on births in the past, and it equally wrong to encourage more births today,” Zhang told RFA. “When an economy develops to a certain level, a population will naturally start to shrink.”

“Birth rates are falling in other places, including Taiwan and Canada, but they aren’t intervening,” Zhang said. “Actually, some developed countries don’t need to intervene to achieve rising birth rates, because they offer free medical care and education.”

“So we are just piling one error on top of another.”

Shanghai-based retired professor Gu Guoping said that while couples — single people aren’t allowed to have children — may be able to afford to have a child, they often can’t also afford to raise that child.

“It’s getting too expensive to raise just one kid now, let alone two or even three,” Gu said. “Ordinary people don’t make enough.”

Retirement age extension

Gu said that people were far more willing to have kids back in the 1950s and 1960s, when there was far less income disparity between families.

“There weren’t such big differences in income [back then],” he said. “Who is going to have a second or third kid now, even if you say they can?”

The new childbirth policy comes in tandem with plans to delay retirement for the working-age population, Xinhua reported, with people stopping work at 65 rather than at 60.

The move comes amid growing concerns about how a shrinking working-age population will fund the pensions of a growing number of older people.

Reactions to the policy on the social media platform Weibo were mixed.

“Have children if you want, don’t if you don’t: it’s your business,” user @wxw2021 commented on a news story about the policy announcement, while @Xiaoche_Xiaowu said: “Could you find me a spouse first?”

@Xinxing1007 wanted to know: “Are they thinking about raising salaries?” while @Three-year-old_Wo wanted to know: “Will there be any subsidies?”

@Taiyangda_3168 said the policy had “come at the right time,” while @Miya36510 commented that “Housing prices and education policies need to keep in step” with the new rules.

Source: Copyright © 1998-2016, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036

Rohingya Protest as UN Officials Visit Bangladesh Refugee Island

A protest by hundreds of Rohingya turned violent on Monday as senior U.N. officials visited a remote and low-lying island where Bangladesh is housing more than 18,000 of the stateless refugees from Myanmar, police said.

Injuries were reported as police and protesters clashed while a delegation of high-ranking officials from UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency, was visiting Bhashan Char Island after arriving from mainland Bangladesh, authorities and refugee-community leaders said.

Police told BenarNews that between 500 and 600 people took part in Monday’s protest, in which refugees vented anger about their living conditions and being confined to the offshore complex, which the government built specially for the Rohingya. But Mohammad Jubair, a refugee leader on the island, said as many as 4,000 people joined the protest.

“A group of bad Rohingya people sparked the protest in the presence of the UNHCR officials. They tried to create chaos. They vandalized a government office, a motorcycle and some shops,” Mahe Alam, the officer-in-charge at the Bhashan Char police station, told BenarNews.

“We will identify the perpetrators and take legal actions in line with the decision of the authorities.”

According to Md Alamgir Hossain, the police chief of surrounding Noakhali district, a crowd of Rohingya refugees tried to approach the visitors from UNHCR as a helicopter carrying them and government officials landed at around 10 a.m.

“For safety reasons, the police intervened, and the violent Rohingya threw brickbats at them. At least four policemen had minor injuries. But we did not use force on the Rohingya. They retreated as we convinced them not to go into violence,” he said.

According to Rohingya refugees, police charged with their batons at the protesters.

“Later, the UNHCR officials had talks with the Rohingya refugees and left the island on a helicopter at around 3 p.m. for Cox’s Bazar,” Hossain said, referring to the southeastern district where around 1 million Rohingya Muslim refugees are sheltering after fleeing from violence and persecution next door in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

The two UNHCR officials, Assistant High Commissioner for Operations Raouf Mazou and Assistant High Commissioner for Protection Gillian Triggs, were visiting the island after arriving in Dhaka on Sunday for a four-day visit to Bangladesh. They are the senior-most officials from the Geneva-based U.N. agency to visit Bhashan Char to date.

“[W]e are deeply concerned to learn of reports of refugees who have been injured during today’s events on the island. We regret that those affected reportedly include children and women,” Louise Donovan, a spokeswoman for the Dhaka office of UNHCR, said in a statement issued late Monday.

“The safety and wellbeing of refugees is our main priority and we continue to urgently seek additional information on the condition of those affected and urge that they receive adequate medical assistance,” she told BenarNews.

During Monday’s visit to Bhashan Char, the UNHCR delegation “was able to meet with a large group of refugees and to listen to the various issues that they raised, which the delegation will further discuss with the Bangladesh authorities,” she added.

The assistant high commissioners travelled on to Cox’s Bazar, where they were scheduled to visit Rohingya camps on Tuesday before returning to Dhaka to meet with senior government officials, Donovan said.

Since last December, Bangladeshi authorities have been relocating large batches of refugees to Bhashan Char from Cox’s Bazar, claiming that Rohingya are doing so voluntarily and this is needed to ease overcrowding and reduce crime in the congested and squalid camps on the mainland.

On Monday, several hundred refugees assembled to protest, said Mohammad Sohel, a Rohingya leader on Bhashan Char.

“The agitated Rohingya threw brickbats at the police and vandalized a government warehouse. I heard that some people were injured,” he told BenarNews by phone from the island.

“The Rohingya people planned to meet the UNHCR officials to let them know about their problems in Bhashan Char, but the police obstructed us,” said Nurul Islam, another Rohingya leader.

“The aggrieved Rohingya did not get the chance to talk to the UNHCR officials. Another group of Rohingya were given the chance to talk to the UNHCR officials,” he told BenarNews, an RFA-affiliated online news service.

Mohammad Jubair was among refugee-community leaders who participated in the meeting with the U.N. officials.

The UNHCR delegates asked the refugees if they would be willing to continue living on the island if the U.N. agency began operations on Bhashan Char, he said.

“But the Rohingya refugees told them they did not want to live on Bhashan Char,” Jubair told BenarNews.

The United Nations has not formally started operations there.

In March, a UNHCR team visited Bhashan Char for the first time. In mid-April, the agency urged Bangladesh to slow down its program to move refugees from the mainland to Bhashan Char because, UNHCR said, measures to protect residents from storms and flooding were not fully in place.

Source: Copyright © 1998-2016, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036

PRESIDENT APPOINTS NEW SECURITY OFFICE BOSS

Luanda – President João Lourenço Monday in Luanda appointed Francisco Pereira Furtado as minister of State and head of the Security Affairs Office to the Presidency, in replacement of Pedro Sebastião.

In a press release, the Civilian Affairs Office to the Presidency says that President João Lourenço has also appointed gen. João Pereira Massano as head of the Military Intelligence and Security Service, replacing gen. Apolinário José Pereira.

This is after President Lourenço sacked gen. Apolinário José Pereira and gen. João Pereira Massano, from heads of the Military and Security Service and of the Department of Preservation of the Historical-Military Heritage of the Ministry of National Defence and Veterans of the Motherland, respectively.

João Lourenço also sacked Lt.-general António Mateus Júnior de Carvalho, from secretary for Defence of the Security Office to the Presidency of the Republic.

The newly appointed minister of State and head of the Security Affairs Office to the Presidency, Francisco Pereira Furtado, had once been the chief of Staff of the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA), from 2006 to 2010,

Sacked gen. Pedro Sebastião had been appointed in 2017, following the general election of that year.

Source: Angola Press News Agency

Sodomy, homosexuality unacceptable: Swapo Elders’ Council

The Swapo Party Elders’ Council has rallied behind the Swapo Party Youth League in opposing calls for Namibia to repeal the sodomy law, saying that sodomy is “highly unacceptable” and legalising it “will destroy young people’s future.”

The council said this in a media statement issued on Monday in response to several protests by Namibians seeking the dissolution of the law that prohibits sodomy in Namibia.

The council said Africa’s youth should maintain its culture, traditions and avoid engaging in activities that oppose African norms.

“A nation without culture and norms is like a tree without roots. People from other cultures will impose their bad culture on our nation,” the statement reads.

According to the council, there are priority issues and projects that need to be implemented, including youth unemployment and development in various sectors to improve Namibians’ living standards.

“We, therefore, support the view of the Swapo Party Youth League that says that members of parliament should discuss bread and butter issues to improve the standards of all Namibian people.”

Similarly, the Coalition of Churches and Organisations on Ethical Justice held a prayer march against homosexuality in Windhoek on Sunday. Coalition member, Pastor Shirley Magazi, said homosexuality is “unnatural, immoral” and has many negative consequences such as increased risk of suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, physical, psychological and verbal abuse, depression, HIV/AIDS infection and mental disorders.

She said the organisation stands for biblical family values and marriage as guided by the bible, and rejects any calls for the repealing of the sodomy law and for the recognition of same-sex marriages performed outside the borders of Namibia.

“We as the church take a stand against moral decay in our land. The church in Namibia takes a strong stance and calls for the strengthening of laws in Namibia to prohibit same-sex marriage in our nation, since marriage is defined as a union between one man and one woman,” she said.

Human rights activist, Linda Baumann, said while she is not surprised by the position of the Swapo Elders’ Council, she calls on the party, as the leader of government, to engage the community to reflect on their reality, their struggles and the discrimination they face every day.

She said Swapo has always been fearful of issues of homosexuality and has never qualified their own members to take up space and speak on such issues.

Baumann further called on the party to avoid using offensive language and to uphold their objective and the constitution that protects the right of every Namibian person.

Source: Namibia Press Agency

BOTSWANA PRESIDENT IN LUANDA

Luanda – The President of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Masisi, arrived this Sunday in Luanda, for two-day official visit to Angola, focusing on the reinforcement of relations between the two countries.

Mokgweetsi Masisi who was welcomed at Luanda’s 4 de Fevereiro International airport, by the Angolan Foreign ministser, Tete António, will meet on Monday with his local counterpart, João Lourenço.

The politico-diplomatic relations between Angola and Botswana date back to 18 February 1976. In February 2006, the two countries signed a general cooperation agreement.

Angola and Botswana are both members of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), a 16-country regional integration organisation.

Both are also part of the Okavango/Zambezi Project that includes Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia, covering an area of 278,000 square kilometres.

The Okavango Basin is a rich region in terms of biodiversity, with more than 400 species of birds and a hundred of mammals, as well as other animals.

Angola holds the largest portion of the project, only second to Zambia that has contributed 97,000 square quilometres of land.

With the project, the five member countries seek to share the benefits from the biodiversity, through the best management practices, tourism and conservation, including opportunities of means of subsistence for the populations living within the project site.

Source: Angola Press News Agency

ANGOLA DEFENDS STRENGTHENING OF EPIDEMIOLOGICAL SURVEILLANCE IN AFRICA

Luanda – The Angolan Minister of Health, Silvia Lutucuta, Saturday called for the reinforcement of epidemiological surveillance measures in Africa, in order to avoid the outbreak of Polio caused by type 2 vaccine.

Silvia Lutucuta, who was speaking at the 74th World Health Assembly, said that despite the eradication of Polio in the African region by 2020, it is important to ensure vaccination and compliance with epidemiological surveillance measures to avoid outbreaks of Wild Polio and vaccine-derived Polio.

“We continue to be assertive and now more than ever in relation to biosafety in laboratories, sharing genetic material data for research, complying with the assumptions that are embodied in the Negoya protocol of 2005,” she said.

Silvia Lutucuta defended the position of the African groups in relation to the fundamental themes of biosafety in laboratories, the Negoya protocol and polio.

During the event, which began on 24 May, issues relating to public health, case management, medicines for other infectious diseases and resistance to antibiotics were addressed.

The delegates, who pointed to Covid-19 as a challenge, emphasised the need to increase access to vaccines, especially for low-income countries.

Source: Angola Press News Agency

Germany Says It Committed Genocide in Namibia During Colonial Rule

BERLIN – Germany for the first time on Friday recognized it had committed genocide in Namibia during its colonial occupation, with Berlin promising financial support worth more than one billion euros to aid projects in the African nation.

Namibia on Friday welcomed Germany’s acknowledgment it had committed genocide in the southwestern African country during its 20th century colonial occupation.

“The acceptance on the part of Germany that a genocide was committed is the first step in the right direction,” President Hage Geingob’s spokesperson Alfredo Hengari told AFP.

German colonial settlers killed tens of thousands of indigenous Herero and Nama people in 1904-08 massacres — labelled the first genocide of the 20th century by historians — poisoning relations between Namibia and Germany for years.

While Berlin had previously acknowledged that atrocities occurred at the hands of its colonial authorities, they have repeatedly refused to pay direct reparations.

“We will now officially refer to these events as what they are from today’s perspective: genocide,” said Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in a statement.

He hailed the agreement after more than five years of negotiations with Namibia over events in the territory held by Berlin from 1884-1915.

“In light of the historical and moral responsibility of Germany, we will ask forgiveness from Namibia and the victims’ descendants” for the “atrocities” committed, Maas said.

In a “gesture to recognize the immense suffering inflicted on the victims”, the country will support the “reconstruction and the development” of Namibia via a financial program of $1.34 billion, he said.

The sum will be paid over 30 years, according to sources close to the negotiations, and must primarily benefit the descendants of the Herero and Nama.

However, he specified that the payment does not open the way to any “legal request for compensation.”

Rebellion, reprisals

Namibia was called German South West Africa during Berlin’s 1884-1915 rule, and then fell under South African rule for 75 years, before finally gaining independence in 1990.

Tensions boiled over in 1904 when the Herero — deprived of their livestock and land — rose up, followed shortly after by the Nama, in an insurrection crushed by German imperial troops.

In the Battle of Waterberg in August 1904 around 80,000 Herero, including women and children, fled and were pursued by German troops across what is now known as the Kalahari Desert. Only 15,000 survived.

German General Lothar von Trotha, sent to put down the rebellion, ordered the peoples’ extermination.

At least 60,000 Hereros and around 10,000 Namas were killed between 1904 and 1908.

Colonial soldiers carried out mass executions; exiled men, women, and children to the desert where thousands died of thirst; and established infamous concentration camps, such as the one on Shark Island.

‘Overcome the past’

The atrocities committed during colonization have poisoned relations between Berlin and Windhoek for years.

In 2015, the two countries started negotiating an agreement that would combine an official apology by Germany as well as development aid.

But in August last year, Namibia said that Germany’s offered reparations were unacceptable. No details of the offer were provided at the time.

President Hage Geingob had noted Berlin declined to accept the term “reparations,” as that word was also avoided during the country’s negotiations with Israel after the Holocaust.

But in an effort to ease reconciliation, in 2018 Germany returned the bones of members of the Herero and Nama tribes, with the then foreign minister Michelle Muentefering asking for “forgiveness from the bottom of my heart.”

Source: Voice of America

Geingob ‘hijacked’ genocide: Muzengua

Deputy chairperson of the Ovaherero Genocide Foundation (OGF) Joyce Muzengua has accused President Hage Geingob of hijacking the genocide negotiations through disregard and arrogance.

She was speaking at the handover of petitions to the Presidential Affairs Minister Christine ||Hoebes by the Ovaherero and Nama groups at Parliament on Friday.

Muzengua said the hijacked genocide negotiations were supposed to be spearheaded by Parliament, a process she said was hijacked by the Executive who made it a bilateral engagement between the German and Namibian governments to the “exclusion and detriment” of the affected communities.

Muzengua noted that the State agreed to step in as an observer or mediator when the negotiations take place between the affected communities and German government.

The petitions by the Nama Traditional Authority (NTLA) and Ovaherero Traditional Authority (OTA) as well as former Swanu parliamentarian Usutuaije Maamberua called on Geingob to reject the protracted deal struck between the German and Namibian governments on genocide.

The news that came out on Friday stated that Germany had finally accepted that it committed genocide in Namibia, with Berlin promising financial support worth a little over one billion euros to aid projects in Namibia.

In their petition, the NTLA and OTA echoed Muzengua’s position, saying Namibia has failed Africa in not holding a former European genocidal colonial power to account.

On his part, Maamberua wants land and property stolen from the Hereros and Namas returned and wants the negotiations to start afresh, with the affected at the center.

“The Germans’ pre- and post-Genocide land grab cannot be legitimated, even if facilitated by Namibian Constitution under the guise of protecting private property. Criminals should not be entitled to stolen property,” Maamberua said.

“No direct government briefings have taken place with the affected communities, meaning there were no consensuses reached regarding the expected outcomes, desires, and expectations of the descendants of the genocide victims on whose behalf the government has purportedly been negotiating with Germany,” he added.

Receiving the petition, ||Hoebes promised to deliver it to her appointing authority saying, “whatever gives you sleepless nights also gives us sleepless nights.”

Meanwhile, German foreign minister Heiko Maas in a statement on Friday said: “We will now officially refer to these events as what they are from today’s perspective: genocide.’

He added that in light of the historical and moral responsibility of Germany, they will ask for forgiveness from Namibia and the victims’ descendants for the atrocities committed.

Source: Namibia Press Agency

Majority employed in informal sector: UNDP report

A Diagnostic Study on the Informal Sector in Namibia conducted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 2020, indicates that 87.2 per cent of employed people in Kavango West are working in the informal sector.

These figures were presented by UNDP Representative to Namibia, Alka Bhatia during a public dialogue that took place at Habitat Research Centre in Katutura on Thursday.

She said the study was done in collaboration with the Namibia Informal Sector Organisation to help inform policy and programmatic design aimed at supporting the sector.

Among the 14 regions, informal employment is highest in the northern four regions with Ohangwena ranked the second highest at 82.4 per cent while Omusati has 74.3 per cent and the Zambezi 68.1 per cent, she said.

The numbers are low in more developed and urbanised regions such as ||Kharas (29.3 per cent), Erongo (31.9 per cent), Khomas (32.1 per cent), Otjozondjupa (35.4 per cent) and Hardap (40.3 per cent). The level of informality is higher among younger people and older persons. It is 67.2 per cent for younger persons in the age group of 15 to 24 years and 94.4 per cent for older persons in the age group of over 65 years.

“Finally, 51.9 per cent of the employed people in Namibia earn their livelihoods from the informal economy, this is a significant number that simply cannot be ignored,” said Bhatia.

She further said when COVID-19 broke out early last year and the government put the country on lockdown, revenue from businesses managed and owned by males was higher than their female counterparts. Because before the pandemic, the male informal business owners were earning on average N.dollars 6 873.25 per month from their businesses. However, this dropped to N.dollars 2 749.30 per month, which is a 60 per cent drop in revenue.

Women, on the other hand, were earning less than men from their business with average revenue of N.dollars 3 254.71 per month before the lockdown. After restrictions were lifted the average revenue women were earning from their informal business dropped to N.dollars 1 350.53 or a 58.50 per cent drop in revenue.

Trade Union Congress of Namibia secretary-general Mahongora Kavihuha who was present, said judging from the figures presented, the informal sector needs the help of all stakeholders to improve their operations, “because clearly, they are contributing to job creation”.

Source: Namibia Press Agency

UN General Assembly President: World Has ‘Not Forgotten Rohingya’

The world has not forgotten the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya sheltering in Bangladesh after fleeing “unimaginable horrors” in Myanmar, the president of the U.N. General Assembly said Wednesday as he visited refugee camps in the South Asian country.

Still, the ultimate goal is the repatriation of the Rohingya to their homeland, said General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir, who traveled to southeastern Cox’s Bazar district, where almost 1 million Rohingya refugees are sheltering.

“The General Assembly has not forgotten about the Rohingya people,” Bozkir said via Twitter after meeting with refugees at camps in Cox’s Bazar.

“Right now, there is no defined path for the future, for a permanent home. Voluntary, dignified and safe return is the ultimate goal. … I assure you, the United Nations General Assembly is determined to ensure a better future for the Rohingya people.”

In 2018, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres was the last senior U.N. official to visit the sprawling camps along Bangladesh’s border with Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

On the second day of his two-day trip to Bangladesh, Bozkir met with 40 Rohingya leaders, Mohammad Shamsuddoha, an official with Bangladesh’s Refugee, Relief and Repatriation Commissioner’s office, told BenarNews, an RFA-affiliated online news service.

The Rohingya urged Bozkir to put pressure on Myanmar to grant them citizenship so they can return safely to their homes in Rakhine state, from where they fled after a brutal crackdown by the Burmese military in 2017.

Mahmudullah, a Rohingya who participated in the meeting with Bozkir, said leaders told the senior U.N. official that the refugees would go back to Myanmar only after getting an assurance of their safety from the United Nations.

“We told him [the General Assembly president] that we want to go back to our homeland with citizenship, rights and respect,” Mahmudullah told BenarNews.

Afroza Khanom, who participated in the meeting as a representative for women refugees, said she told Bozkir that any negotiated return must be for the long term.

“I came to Bangladesh as a refugee three times in my life. I am not willing to come here again in the future. That’s why I urged the United Nations for a sustainable repatriation for us,” Khanom told BenarNews.

‘Cannot be optimistic about his assurances’

For his part, Bozkir said that meeting with the refugees was “an immense privilege.”

“I came face to face with resilience today in Cox’s Bazar. We often speak about the Rohingya in the UNGA – but today I spoke with them,” Bozkir said.

“The Rohingya people living here in Cox’s Bazar have survived unimaginable horrors and persecution. They undertook treacherous journeys to reach safety – last year alone 200 lost their lives at sea.”

In the capital Dhaka on Tuesday, Bozkir met with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who expressed concern about how the Feb. 1 military coup in Myanmar and its aftermath had affected the prospect of repatriating the Rohingya.

After all, in 2017, it was the Myanmar military – under the leadership of the current junta chief, Min Aung Hlaing – that launched an offensive against the Rohingya, which the U.N. later described as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

The military being in power has made the situation even more precarious in Myanmar for the Rohingya, the Burmese Rohingya Organization U.K., said this week.

“[A]buse, extortion and humiliation of Rohingya continue on a daily basis,” the U.K. group said in a statement.

One analyst said that the visit by the General Assembly president to the refugee camps sends a strong signal to the world about the magnitude of the problems the Rohingya face, but not much else.

“The issue will be discussed in the global media and forums, as he [Bozkir] has brought it to the attention of the international community again, after it was overshadowed because of COVID-19,” Md. Rafiqul Islam, a professor of peace and conflict studies at Dhaka University, told BenarNews.

“But I cannot be optimistic about his assurances, because they [the U.N.] could not do anything when Myanmar was forcing the Rohingya people to leave the country by killing them, and looting and torching their houses.”

Source: Copyright © 1998-2016, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036

Speakers in General Assembly Urge Israel, Hamas to Use Ceasefire as Opportunity for Reopening Dialogue, Addressing Root Causes of Conflict

Delegates welcomed the recent ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and urged stakeholders to use the agreement as an opportunity to reopen dialogue and address the root causes of the conflict, as the General Assembly wrapped up its special debate on the situation in the Middle East this morning.

Croatia’s representative said the ceasefire should create an atmosphere conducive to resuming the political process. While endorsing the Secretary General’s call for a robust support package for reconstruction and recovery, he said the focus should be on addressing the underlying causes of the conflict in the longer term.

The Gambia’s speaker echoed that point, noting that, while the ceasefire is an encouraging sign, “we have had too many ceasefires over the last few decades”. Peace and security in Palestine mean peace and security in the Middle East, and all over the world, he said, calling on the Organization to renew efforts to bring both parties to the negotiating table and appealing to the Middle East Quartet and all concerned parties to revive a two-State solution.

The representative of Nigeria said that the occupation is at the heart of the conflict in the Middle East. Its long standing nature has led to hopelessness and resignation, he noted, adding that the United Nations must counter the popular perception that nothing can be done.

To ensure renewed commitment towards a two-State solution that meets Israelis’ and Palestinians’ security needs, all acts of provocation, incitement, violence and destruction must end, stressed Portugal’s delegate. It is also vital to uphold and respect the status quo of the holy sites and to stop all illegal policies of settlement construction and expansion, like forced evictions and demolitions, he said. In a similar vein, the representative of Poland said that, without addressing issues like forced evictions, lasting peace would be impossible.

Oman’s delegate recalled that, despite more than 700 General Assembly and over 80 Security Council resolutions, none have been implemented by Israel. As such, a mechanism to implement resolutions must be established, he said, stressing: “As long as there is occupation, there will be a resistance.”

Reconciling the issues is not easy, acknowledged Sri Lanka’s delegate, encouraging both parties to make “a political and diplomatic leap of faith”. Underscoring the need for ordinary people to be given the opportunity to come together and build relationships at the grass roots level, she called on everyone to “open our hearts and let a little empathy flow into the veins”.

Palestine should not be an exception to the universal aspiration for freedom and prosperity, enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals, the representative of Nicaragua said.

Also speaking today were representatives of Norway, Brunei Darussalam, Philippines, Honduras, Switzerland, Paraguay, Portugal, Colombia, Romania, Namibia, Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Ghana.

Observers from the Holy See and Organization of the Islamic Conference also made statements.

The representative of Turkey spoke in the exercise of the right of reply.

The General Assembly will reconvene at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 26 May, to take action on a draft resolution relating to countering the use of information and communications technology for criminal purposes.

Statements

MONA JUUL (Norway), welcoming the ceasefire in the fighting between Israel and Palestine, also commended Egypt, in partnership with the United Nations, for facilitating that agreement. The crisis was a stark reminder of the absence of any resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, she said, noting that the fighting did not help tackle any underlying issues. The parties must avoid further fighting and must build on the significant gains of the past decade, she said, adding that it is especially important to strengthen the foundation of a future Palestinian State. Calling on the leadership of Israel and Palestine, as well as all other stakeholders to work towards finding a just and peaceful solution to the crisis, she reiterated that only a political solution could bring peace.

NOOR QAMAR SULAIMAN (Brunei Darussalam), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), said the Joint Leaders Statement issued by Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam on 16 May reflects their collective voices on the dire situation in Palestine and the need for urgent action. Expressing grave concern over the violence, she said the occupation, forced displacement and illegal expansion of settlements have not only hindered the Palestinians’ aspiration for statehood, but also deprived them of their basic human rights. The international community, particularly the Security Council, has a responsibility to call for an end to all violence. Advocating for a comprehensive and lasting peace on the basis of a two-State solution along the pre-1967 borders, she said a United Nations that truly leaves no one behind must ensure that all nations can enjoy their fundamental rights to peace, freedom, justice and self-determination. The United Nations has a moral and legal obligation to ensure that Member States uphold international law and exercise accountability for actions that contravene it, she added.

ENRIQUE AUSTRIA MANALO (Philippines) expressed serious concern over the recent violence and underlined the need to maintain the ceasefire established last week between Israel and Hamas and avoid further killings and destruction. He reaffirmed support for a two-State solution and commended the efforts of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to respond to the Palestinian population, both refugee and non refugee, under extraordinary circumstances. There must be more intense focus on building trust and confidence and demonstrating resolve to achieve a just and lasting peace, he said. All stakeholders, including the Middle East Quartet, must redouble efforts to find the best diplomatic outcome in the region.

IRMA ALEJANDRINA ROSA SUAZO (Honduras) condemned Hamas attacks on Israeli civilian populations and reiterated her country’s commitment to combat international terrorism, stressing that humanity cannot ignore the constant warnings of growing terrorist groups across the world. She went on to welcome a ceasefire and emphasized that all people have the right to live in peace and dignity.

PASCALE CHRISTINE BAERISWYL (Switzerland), welcoming the ceasefire that had brought 11 days of fighting to an end, commended Egypt for working in coordination with the United Nations for restoring calm. Stressing the importance of humanitarian access to Gaza, she said that Palestinian and Israeli civilians have suffered far too much. This tragedy must not be repeated and all parties must use the momentum to recommit to a peace process that is in line with their obligations and Security Council resolutions. Also noting the continuing violence and the related wave of arrests, she called on leaders to refrain from provocative rhetoric and action. The rights of both Israelis and Palestinians must be based on equality. Preservation of the historical status quo on Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount and the peaceful coexistence of all residents of Jerusalem must be guaranteed, in accordance with international law.

JULIO CÉSAR ARRIOLA RAMÍREZ (Paraguay) said that the escalation of violence in Jerusalem and Gaza has aggravated the already precarious civilian population. It has also set off a spiral of persistent hatred that stands in the way of all endeavors to find a dialogue. All the principal actors should continue to make efforts to resume the peace process. The Council has a responsibility to take immediate action. Joining the international community in welcoming the ceasefire, he recognized the important role played by Egypt and Qatar in facilitating that and advocated for humanitarian aid to be delivered with guarantees of safety for the personnel involved. Calling COVID-19 “the enemy that does not accept a truce”, he emphasized the importance of humanitarian aid during the pandemic.

NUNO MATHIAS (Portugal), associating himself with the European Union, said all parties must respect and fully implement the ceasefire. He joined other speakers in stressing the immediate need for humanitarian assistance for the civilian population in Gaza and supporting the Secretary-General’s call for a robust package of support for a swift, sustainable reconstruction and recovery. The last cycle of violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories confirms that the international community cannot afford to return to the status quo. There is an urgent need to address the root causes that fueled the recent situation and renew commitment towards a two-State solution that meets Israeli and Palestinians security needs. That means all acts of provocation, incitement, violence and destruction must end. It is also vital to uphold and respect the status quo of the holy sites and to stop all illegal policies of settlement construction and expansion, like forced evictions and demolitions, he said.

ANDREJ DOGAN (Croatia), associating himself with the European Union, said that what the world witnessed last week in the Middle East was deeply disturbing and worrying. Croatia welcomes the ceasefire agreement brokered by Egypt and expects all sides to work towards its consolidation and sustainability. “It is important to protect civilians and prevent further deepening of the crisis,” he said. The ceasefire should also help create an atmosphere conducive to resuming the political process. Croatia supports the Secretary-General’s call for a robust package of support for a swift, sustainable reconstruction and recovery, but in the longer term, the focus should be on addressing the root causes of the conflict, he said.

GUILLERMO ROQUE FERNANDEZ DE SOTO VALDERRAMA (Colombia) welcomed the ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel and underscored the importance of restoring security guarantees. Colombia continues to support a resolution to the conflict based on a two-State solution. He went on to reaffirm support for Israel to live in peace within secure, internationally established borders, as well as for the Palestinians to establish their own independent State.

ION JINGA (Romania) expressed support for the ceasefire agreement to end violence and allow for the free flow of international aid. Civilian lives on all sides should be protected under international humanitarian law, he stressed. Ending the most recent violence should present new opportunities to address the root causes of the conflict, he went on, expressing support for confidence building measures including the resumption of Middle East Quartet meetings.

JAIME HERMIDA CASTILLO (Nicaragua), associating himself with the statement delivered by the Non-Aligned Movement, expressed deep frustration over the painful escalation of violence affecting the Palestinians and Israelis. Extending solidarity to the Palestinian desire for self-determination, he added that, unfortunately, the Organization has been incapable of finding a solution to this long-lasting conflict, which, in turn, has led to social, economic and human rights deterioration in the Middle East situation. Stressing the importance of a two-State solution, he said both States should coexist on an equal footing. Palestine should not be an exception to the universal aspiration for freedom and prosperity, enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals, he said, voicing support for the resumption of negotiations and hoping that the current ceasefire will spell the end of the cycle of destruction.

HELENA NDAPEWA KUZEE (Namibia), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, decried the Security Council’s failure to act expeditiously against Israel’s blatant violations of international law. Paralysed since the nakba in 1948, the Council’s deplorable inability to express itself on what could only be described as full scale war in East Jerusalem has the potential to undermine the trust that “we the peoples of the United Nations”, including the people of Palestine, have placed in that 15-member organ. He called for more decisive Council action and for the international community to implement all relevant resolutions. A two-State solution is the only path to lasting peace, he said, reiterating the call for Member States who have not yet done so to recognize the State of Palestine as a means of making tangible progress towards that goal. Condemning the current violence, he said all children, including those in Palestine, must be able to live in peace. “Our actions here can either make them fulfil their dreams and aspirations, or postpone them further,” he said, emphasizing the need for the Assembly to continue to do all it can to yield a sustainable outcome for the Palestinian people.

LANG YABOU (Gambia), aligning himself with the statements delivered by the African Group, Non-Aligned Movement and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, called for an end to the violence against Palestinians and the lifting of the blockade in Gaza. While noting that the ceasefire is an encouraging sign, he said, “We have had too many ceasefires over the last few decades.” It is time for the international community to address the root causes of the conflict. Peace and security in Palestine means peace and security in the Middle East, and all over the world, he said, calling on the Organization to renew efforts to bring both parties to the negotiating table. “We are traumatized by the treatment of innocent children,” he said, appealing to the Middle East Quartet and all concerned parties to revive a two-State solution.

LACHEZARA STOEVA (Bulgaria), associating herself with the European Union, called for the swift implementation of the ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas. The recent escalating violence which resulted in the loss of civilian lives is unacceptable and should never happen again. She went on to condemn the rocket attacks by Hamas and said Israel must exercise its right to self-defense in line with international humanitarian law. Relief for the civilian population continues to be of utmost importance and the priority should be the granting of humanitarian access to those most in need in Gaza, she said.

MARIUSZ LEWICKI (Poland) associating himself with the European Union, expressed concern over the recent spate of violence in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. While Israel has the right to defend itself, its response must be proportionate and in line with international law, he stressed. The recent conflict only exacerbates the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza with the destruction of civilian infrastructure there. The violence also affects the situation in the West Bank and undermines general regional stability. As such, constructive dialogue must be resumed to resolve the situation based on a two State solution and in line with internationally agreed upon borders. In that context, it is essential to address the root causes of the conflict including forced evictions, without which, lasting peace will be impossible, he emphasized.

DUSHKO UZUNOVSKI (North Macedonia), associating himself with the European Union, underscored the conflict’s “unpredictable regional repercussions” and called on Israeli and Palestinian armed groups to take immediate steps to de escalate the situation. Indiscriminate rocket attacks by Hamas on civilian targets in Israel must cease immediately, while Israel must exercise its right to self-defence with the utmost restraint. In addition, all parties must comply with international humanitarian law and the historic status quo of Jerusalem’s holy sites. He went on to urge all parties to ensure unimpeded humanitarian access to those in need.

PETER MOHAN MAITHRI PIERIS (Sri Lanka), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement, voiced concern about the deteriorating situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the alarming increase of violence in recent weeks, including attacks on places of worship and indiscriminate rocket attacks. This has led to the highest number of Palestinian casualties recorded in a single day since the United Nations started tabulating casualties, she noted. Both Israelis and Palestinians have a legitimate right to safety, and both need to step back from the cycle of violence. Conflicts of this nature appear immutable, she said, but the international community must continue to aim for peace. Reconciling the issues is not easy, she acknowledged, encouraging both parties to make “a political and diplomatic leap of faith”. Stressing the need for ordinary people to be given the opportunity to come together and build relationships at the grass roots level, she called on everyone to “open our hearts and let a little empathy flow into the veins”.

TIJJANI MUHAMMAD BANDE (Nigeria) aligning himself with the African Group, the Non-Aligned Movement and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, welcomed the ceasefire, commended the role of all parties involved in brokering that agreement, and also praised both parties to the conflict for their compliance thus far. Voicing support for a two-State solution based on 1967 borders and other agreements, he said that the occupation is at the root cause of this conflict. Its long standing nature has led to hopelessness and resignation, he noted, adding that the United Nations must counter the popular perception that nothing can be done. Stressing that the three Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are part of the same family, he called on the practitioners of these religions to work towards peace and trust. The current “Black Lives Matter” movement is an auspicious moment for renewing efforts to solve this crisis, he said, adding that there should be no colonialism anywhere, because peace cannot exist without democracy.

CAROLYN ABENA ANIMA OPPONG-NTIRI (Ghana), associating herself with the African Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, said the recent escalation violence, the loss of civilian lives and destruction of livelihoods is heart-breaking. She went on to encourage leaders of both sides to maintain the ceasefire agreement and stressed that a two State solution, anchored in mutual recognition, remains the best chance for peace in the region. In that context, she called for international cooperation and the active involvement of a unified Security Council on the matter.

AHMED DAWOOD ALI AL ZADJALI (Oman) said the Palestinian territories are considered occupied under international law and stressed that the most recent escalation of violence there is the result of unjustified Israeli provocations. Despite more than 700 General Assembly and over 80 Security Council resolutions, none of have been implemented by Israel. As such, a mechanism to implement resolutions must be established, he said, stressing: “As long as there is occupation there will be a resistance.” Palestinian determination will not waver until their rights are fulfilled, he said. Arab States have reiterated their willingness to find peace through dialogue and negotiation that preserves the rights of both sides, he went on, calling on all parties to take concrete and tangible steps to reach a two State solution.

GABRIELE CACCIA, Permanent Observer of the Holy See, quoted Pope Francis as saying that the violence between the Gaza Strip and Israel is “degenerating into a spiral of death and destruction” that has left many innocent people, including children, dead. The Vatican welcomes the announcement of the ceasefire and considers it as an important step to halt aggressive and senseless hostilities, even if this can only be seen as a first step in the right direction. Confrontations between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank are a serious wound to peaceful coexistence that will prove difficult to heal. The only way to achieve the long awaited two-State solution is through persistent, genuine and mutually respectful political dialogue, he said, adding that peacemaking requires much greater courage and perseverance than resorting to weapons of war and mutual destruction.

AGSHIN MEHDIYEV, Permanent Observer for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said the Palestine question has been brought before the Assembly time and again over the past seven decades, with hundreds of resolutions affirming the rights of the Palestinian people. Israel’s racist and colonialist practices have recently been exacerbated by settler violence, repeated attacks against the Aqsa Mosque compound and evictions of Palestinians from their homes. Such actions undermine a two State solution, he said, recalling that his organization recently held an extraordinary meeting to demand a complete halt to the military onslaught against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Underscoring that East Jerusalem is an integral part of Palestinian territory, he said its occupation by Israel violates international law. Expressing regret about the Council’s failure to speak unanimously against Israel’s violations, he stressed that there cannot be any lasting peaceful solution without ending Israel’s illegal occupation.

Right of Reply

Speaking in exercise of the right of reply, the representative of Turkey rejected the accusations of anti-Semitism levelled by the representative of Israel against her country. Adding that Turkey has been a safe haven for Jewish communities since the Inquisition, she recalled how Turkish diplomats helped rescue countless Jews during the Holocaust. Jewish citizens have been living in Turkey for centuries without fear of persecution, she said, adding that the President of Turkey and other high-level officials have repeatedly condemned anti Semitism. Criticizing the policies of Israel’s Government cannot be labelled as anti-Semitism, she said, noting that those policies have also been condemned by many of Israel’s own Jewish citizens.

Source: United Nations