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The Federal Government’s Human Rights Report

Germany promotes respect for human rights all over the world.In adopting the 9th Human Rights Report of the Federal Government, Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle emphasized the central role played by human rights in German domestic and foreign policy.

The present report relates the activities of the Federal Government in this sphere during the period 2008 to 2010. As well as illuminating developments and measures on the international front, the report also includes a section on domestic policy which examines the activities of the Federal Foreign Office with respect to human rights protection in Germany.

Federal Minister Westerwelle described Germany’s commitment to human rights as “a major task cutting across all areas of policy”. Today no policy-maker could afford to ignore human rights, he said.

Focuses of the Report

The Federal Government is campaigning for the protection of human rights across the whole spectrum; however, in its annual report it also names a range of focuses demanding particular attention:

  • the rights of women and girls and tackling the problem of forced marriages;
  • combating child pornography and the sexual abuse of children;
  • recognition of the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation.

Action Plan for Human Rights

The 9th Human Rights Report also includes an “Action Plan for Human Rights” setting out the Federal Government’s aims, objectives and strategies in the most pressing areas of human rights policy. It also sets out specific measures that are in the pipeline. The Foreign Minister said this Action Plan was the Federal Government’s “Timetable for 2010 to 2012”.

In terms of foreign policy this mainly involves supporting human rights defenders, condemning torture and capital punishment worldwide, and the reform of the UN Human Rights Council. Minister Westerwelle emphasized the Federal Government’s unswerving commitment to engaging with these “core areas of international human rights protection”.

Example – protecting human rights defenders:
The term human rights defender covers persons, groups or institutions within society who, or which, campaign for the protection and promotion of human rights: they include representatives of human rights groups, journalists, judges, trade unionists and others. In many countries they face repression by the state. The German missions abroad monitor the situation as regards these people and institutions and in many individual cases intercedes on their behalf with the government of the host country. The Federal Foreign Office alone provided some 550,000 euro between 2008 and 2010 for projects related to the protection of human rights defenders.

Human rights in specific countries

In a detailed section on individual countries there are brief profiles on the human rights situation in 70 countries from all regions of the world. Here Federal Government and EU activities aimed at improving the human rights situation in the respective countries are explained.

The 9th Human Rights Report of the Federal Government covers the period from 1 March 2008 to 28 February 2010. In terms of readership it is aimed at both the German Bundestag and the wider public and was initiated with the Federal Foreign Office as lead organization. A separate appendix to the Report contains an overview of the institutions, bodies and procedures in the field of human rights.


Last updated 26.10.2010

The Federal Government’s annual Human Rights Report

At present,the 9th Human Rights Report of the Federal Government is only available in German

Christoph Strässer

Commissioner for Human Rights Policy

Christoph Strässer is the Federal Government's Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid

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