Human rights are under enormous pressure around the globe. Freedom of opinion and freedom of the press are being restricted and the spaces in which civil society are able to operate are shrinking. Achievements in the area of equality are being rolled back and individual rights called into question in favour of collective group rights. The impacts of Russia’s inhumane war of aggression against Ukraine, the courageous protest movement in Iran and the debate about the FIFA World Cup in Qatar are just three situations in which human rights are rightly being discussed on a broad footing also in Germany.
The Human Rights Report of the Federal Government, which was adopted by the Cabinet this week, reflects these challenges in various thematic areas and highlights human rights hotspots around the world. What unites these hotspots is the need to hold those responsible for human rights violations accountable. Enforcing the law, fighting impunity, protecting human rights activists and civil society’s scope for action are key elements of the Federal Government’s commitment to respecting human rights.
Whether the recently adopted fact-finding mission for Iran or the international prosecution of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, it must be made unmistakably clear to everyone that human rights violations will not go unpunished.
Unfortunately, the number of human rights crises is not likely to go down in the year to come. The challenges continue to be enormous. We will therefore do our part to defend international institutions against attacks, to improve the protection of human rights activists and to set even greater store by human rights in our economic relations.
As a guideline, this Federal Government has committed itself to a feminist foreign policy and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development to a feminist development policy. In so doing, they are basing their actions on a comprehensive concept of human security that goes beyond purely military considerations and takes into account the realisation that social inequalities do not come about by accident but are the result of firmly entrenched discriminatory power structures. In addition, the Federal Government specifically addresses women, children and marginalised groups with its humanitarian assistance and development cooperation. As the second-largest humanitarian donor worldwide, Germany has an enormously important role to play.
The Human Rights Report not only focuses on the world at large, but also sheds light on human rights fields of action and recommendations already adopted in this country, which stem from the recommendations of the UN Human Rights Council in the context of the Universal Periodic Review. It goes without saying that advocacy for human rights in the world must always go hand in hand with a self-critical look at our own country.
Human Rights Day is marked on 10 December each year and commemorates the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the UN General Assembly on this day in 1948.
The Federal Government published its 15th Human Rights Report on 7 December 2022.