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German Government’s fourteenth Human Rights Report: Active commitment to human rights in the UN Security Council

“Platz der Menschenrechte” (Human Rights Square) sign

Platz der Menschenrechte” (Human Rights Square) sign, © AA

02.12.2020 - Article

On 2 December 2020, the German Government adopted the 14th report on its human rights policy. One focus of the report is Germany’s commitment to human rights in the UN Security Council. Furthermore, the report looks at the future priorities in Germany’s human rights engagement.

Human rights are under pressure around the globe 

Human rights are under pressure around the globe: freedom of opinion and freedom of the press are being restricted, the scope for civil society is shrinking and the achievements in the sphere of equal opportunities are being reversed. The COVID-19 pandemic has further aggravated many of these developments.

Germany is trying to counter this trend with its human rights policy and is championing the universality of human rights, constitutionality and the rule of law. In this report, the German Government describes its work at home and abroad to protect human rights.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement in this regard:

We are tackling this negative development with a proactive human rights policy. In the Alliance for Multilateralism, we have formed strong alliances against the rollback of universal values and against the impunity of human rights violations. We have enshrined the protection of women and children against sexual violence in conflicts in a Security Council resolution. And we are working hard to protect those who defend human rights in their countries, both online and offline.

Commitment in the UN Security Council: Protection against sexual violence in conflicts

As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, Germany is working hard to strengthen human rights. One concrete example is Germany’s engagement with the issue of sexual violence in conflicts: thanks to the adoption of Resolution 2647 during Germany’s Presidency of the Council, the needs of the victims of sexual violence are being focused on just as much as the prosecution of perpetrators. With this resolution, Germany is taking up the UN’s Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda, which is intended to improve the protection against sexual violence in conflicts and to increase the participation of women in conflict management.

Beyond the issue of sexual violence, Germany is resolutely turning the spotlight in the Security Council on human rights issues: from women’s rights to the protection of human rights defenders and the topic of human rights and artificial intelligence. 

Future priorities 

Which issues will be the focus of Germany’s activities in the human rights sphere in future? The report also looks at this. The Action Plan for Human Rights 2021/2022 outlines future priorities in the field of human rights.

For example, in future the fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, the protection of the scope for civil society and of human rights defenders, the fight against impunity and the issue of human rights and the digital transformation will be priorities.

The German Government’s fourteenth Human Rights Report has been fundamentally overhauled and is more compact than the last one. With the aim of saving natural resources, the overall report will be published online. Only the Action Plan for Human Rights 2021/2022 will be available in printed form.

German Government’s fourteenth Human Rights Report (in German)

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