Rehoboth Baster Community

Statement at the UNWGIP 2004

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The following is a summary of the statement made by the representative of the Rehoboth Basters to the United Nations at the Working Group on Indigenous Populations in 2004.

Yvo Peeters, Rehoboth Community of Namibia

I am speaking on behalf of [the Rehoboth Basters of] Namibia, a founding member of IPAAC [IPACC]. We welcome the paper it is bad thing that Indigenous peoples life consists of enduring conflicts over a number of fundamental issues. The Indigenous peoples of Namibia under guidance in 1989 have been denied self determination, land use prohibited, traditional institutions undermined. I would like to emphasize three modes of conflict.

Not only religious customs is a source of conflict. Experience learns that acceptance of customary law is not sufficient. A framework is necessary. Language and also literacy and education is crucial to the core identity of Indigenous peoples. The mere recognition in a declaratory way such as written down serves absolutely no purpose.

Finally, I would like to stress the most fundamental that Indigenous peoples might have with the state. This is the right to exist and be recognized as such. It is indeed impossible for conflict resolution if the other party does not exist to recognize a people. All other rights derive therefrom. The denial of existence is the primary conflict to be resolved.

(Source: UNPO)