Colonial Repercussions in Germany and NamibiaSymposium

Racist repercussions and transgenerational exclusion

Legal means to deal with Germany’s colonial legacy

The German and Namibian governments seem to be about to finalize their negotiations on (the costs of) reconciliation. Several civil society actors and Ovaherero and Nama representatives criticize the procedure and want to be included in the negotiations – inter alia in a US lawsuit against Germany. The German government, however, denies that a genocide (in legal terms) occurred, referring to the principle of intertemporality in international law. What legal …

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Colonial Repercussions in Germany and NamibiaSymposium

The law as a (limited) means to address colonial injustice

Calls for reparations for historic injustices dominate current Namibian discourse. Such calls are directed to both the German and Namibian governments. The German government is called upon to take full responsibility for the heinous crimes committed against the Ovaherero and Nama peoples during the 1904–1908 genocide. After all, the impugned genocidal acts were perpetrated under the infamous orders of General Lothar von Trotha, who acted in the name of the …

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Colonial Repercussions in Germany and NamibiaSymposium

The genocide against the Ovaherero and Nama peoples

The German colonization of what became German South West Africa commenced in 1884 and ended with German forces’ surrender to the Union of South Africa in July 1915. The genocidal atrocities committed by German colonial troops from 1904–1908, sanctioned by General Lothar von Trotha’s 1904 and 1905 orders to exterminate the Ovaherero and Nama, significantly changed the course of history and socio-economic status of the people who lived in Namibia …

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Colonial Repercussions in Germany and NamibiaSymposium

Decolonizing intertemporal international law

As with many legal disputes concerning Europe’s bloody colonial past, conversations about the Ovaherero and Nama’s right to reparations from Germany often reach a dead end at the mention of intertemporal international law. Accordingly, one should judge the past by the legal standards of its time, not by our modern perceptions. As the rules of the past were mostly nasty and brutish, the argument goes, the victims of colonial injustice …

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Colonial Repercussions in Germany and NamibiaSymposium

Historical originis of the Ovaherero and Nama Genocide

One cannot discuss the issue of the Ovaherero and Nama genocide without referring to the causes that gave rise to it. Although Eurocentric historiographers have written most of the history of our genocide, which therefore includes undue biases, people who follow the dictates of their conscience have also written records that are more objective. The first contact between Germans and the Ovaherero and Nama occurred through missionaries, followed by many …

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Colonial Repercussions in Germany and NamibiaSymposium

Colonial repercussions in Germany and Namibia

The colonial past and its complex repercussions are finally present in post-colonial European public discourse. So far, however, this has had little to no effect on formerly colonized societies. One reason for this is that post-colonial structural inequalities between the so-called Global North and Global South still prevent equal access to resources and discourses, thus obstructing discussions about colonial injustice and post-colonial repercussions. Both former colonial powers like the United …

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Plurality of Law and DevelopmentSymposium

“Sexual orientation is not a fashion statement”

The LGBT community facing a social stigma in Africa

With the High Court’s judgment from June 11th 2019, judge Michael Elburu suspended section 164 a and c and section 165 of the Penal Code from 1965 which punish same-sex relations in Botswana with up to seven years in prison and ordered to modify section 167. In recognising the discriminatory nature of the laws in question, the Botswanan High Court gave hope to the LGBT (Lesbian- Gay- Bisexual- Transgender) community …

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Plurality of Law and DevelopmentSymposium

Burning issues in the “Land of the Future”

Conflicts over indigenous lands and the Amazon in Brazil

Since his first visit, Stefan Zweig had been fascinated by Brazil. Friendly people, good weather, and terrific landscapes. This fascination has led Zweig to publish a book called Brazil, Land of the Future (Brasilien – Ein Land der Zukunft). In this book, Zweig praised Brazil for its success in mixing individuals and groups, a true role model for multicultural societies. However, this supposed harmonious coexistence of multiple cultures in Brazil …

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Plurality of Law and DevelopmentSymposium

The new wave of law and development

This short note was inspired by the 2019 Law and Development Research Network Conference in Berlin.  The Conference was organised by the Chair for Public Law and Comparative Law at Humboldt University, and was attended by over two hundred scholars from thirty-nine countries under the heading ‘The plurality of law and development’. I am greatly indebted to those who offered their views at the conference; what follows, however, is a …

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Plurality of Law and DevelopmentSymposium

Reflections on the history and future of Law and Development

Recording of David Trubek’s Keynote Lecture at the LDRN Conference

Watch here the recording of  the Keynote Lecture of David Trubek (University of Wisconsin-Madison) who reflects upon the history and future of Law and Development and its main current challenges, as part of his keynote at the LDRN Conference at Humboldt University Berlin on 27 September 2019. The keynote is followed by a roundtable discussion with Celine Tan (University of Warwick), Morag Goodwin (Tilburg University), Johanna Cortes (University of Rosario), …

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