Colonial railway tracks near Aus in southern Namibia ECCHR
Colonial Repercussions in Germany and NamibiaSymposium

The role of museums

When we talk about addressing the colonial past and decolonization, museums should play an active role and make their numerous voices heard. In order to play a relevant role in this context, a museum must address all issues that affect society. It must offer a space to exchange and debate ideas, for a community to present its diverse talents, and celebrate its history and culture. It has to involve today’s …

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Colonial railway tracks near Aus in southern Namibia ECCHR
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 railway tracks near Aus in southern Namibia ECCHR
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 railway tracks near Aus in southern Namibia ECCHR
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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Current Developments

Imperialism, International Law and the Chagos Islands

Reflections on Legal Consequences of the Separation of the Chagos Archipelago

The Chagos tragedy (the Advisory Opinion of the ICJ can be found here) represents a story that in one way or the other is fundamentally a story of international law and its complicity in subjugating, oppressing and dominating an ‘inferior’ people. It shows that the erstwhile colonial world order is neither really ‘past’ nor that modern international law, as it is often claimed, is necessarily a harbinger for emancipation and …

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