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Promotion of human rights in Latin America

The German Government regards respect for and protection of human rights as an obligation and as a central element of its foreign policy. A common commitment to universal and indivisible human rights links Germany with its partners in Latin America. However, a number of challenges in this sphere remain in some Latin American countries. The German Government is therefore working to improve the human rights situation in this region, both in its bilateral relations and in the multilateral framework.

Some countries in Latin America are faced with tasks of varying magnitude for which the German Government can lend its support. Championing human rights also featured prominently in the German Government’s strategy on Latin America and the Caribbean. The German Government is supporting Latin American countries in their efforts to combat impunity, initiate judicial reform, guarantee freedom of the press and of expression, combat child labour and prostitution, foster the non-discrimination of minorities and strengthen the economic and social rights of disadvantaged population groups.

By voting in favour of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the German Government demonstrated its determination to support the implementation of the Declaration.

In the process of implementing its strategy on Latin America and the Caribbean, a regional conference for Latin American human rights defenders was convened in Argentina in spring 2011. The annual award of the Franco-German Antonio Nariño human rights prize is also in keeping with the policy of consolidating and strengthening shared values outlined in the strategy. In 2011, it went to the Colombian women’s group Tejedores de vida (weavers of life), which campaigns against all forms of violence.

European-Latin American cooperation

The far-reaching political consensus which Germany and its partners in the EU have with most Latin American countries on human rights issues has led to the steady expansion of cooperation between the EU and the Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC) in international fora within the United Nations. The Latin American and Caribbean Group is a key partner for the German Government and its EU partners in consolidating and further developing human rights standards. Resolutions vis-à-vis which the two groups largely have common interests include those on the rights of the child and on countering religious intolerance.

Promoting human rights projects

The German Government is conducting an active dialogue with civil society in Latin American countries – in particular with NGOs, which have assumed a key role as partners in projects. In 2011 alone, the Federal Foreign Office made available more than 470,000 euros for the financing of human rights projects in Latin America.

Between 4600 and 118,000 euros have been made available for a total of 10 projects in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico. These projects deal, among others, with the following themes:

  • promoting women’s rights
  • promoting democratic institutions
  • strengthening the human rights dialogue and human rights training courses for state security forces; protecting human rights defenders
  • protecting migrants in border areas
  • investigating human rights violations
  • implementing penal reforms

Human rights


Last updated 03.05.2012

Street children at "Casa Alianza" in Tegucigalpa

Street children in Honduras

Street children find a new home at "Casa Alianza" in Tegucigalpa

Tribal warrior in Paraguay

Tribal warrior in Paraguay

Joint human rights project between the German School in Rio de Janeiro and the Colegio Estadual Andre Maurois

Joint human rights project between the German School in Rio de Janeiro and the Colegio Estadual Andre Maurois