Luise Amtsberg, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance, issued the following statement on 8 November 2023 prior to her departure for Geneva to take part in Germany’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) by the UN Human Rights Council:
Only if we look frankly at the situation in our own country can we credibly advocate a human rights-based and value-led foreign policy around the world. That is why we are answering questions and listening to recommendations from the international community concerning the human rights situation in Germany in the UN Human Rights Council tomorrow. The German Government will present the progress it has made during the last five years and gather new ideas from the member states on how to improve and further develop human rights protection in Germany.
It is clear that we in Germany continue to face challenges in the human rights sphere. These challenges must be honestly acknowledged and resolutely tackled.
Racism, antisemitism and antigypsyism are reality in Germany. It pains us that in the days following the terrible terrorist attack by Hamas against Israel, there was an alarming increase in antisemitic crimes in Germany within a short space of time. This is a worrying situation which brings home to us even more forcefully how necessary it is to decisively combat all forms of group-focused enmity. From state institutions to everyday discrimination, we intend to review existing structures more rigorously.
The goal of gender equality is also still a long way off in many areas of life. Problems range from barriers in the support system for victims of domestic violence to the fact that many women in our country still do not receive equal pay for equal work.
We have been discussing migration in Germany and Europe for many years. Due to Russia’s ongoing war of aggression against Ukraine, the rise in conflicts and wars around the world, as well as the escalating climate crisis, all of which have resulted in people fleeing their home countries, the Federal Government, Länder and municipalities are facing great challenges. Focusing firmly on human rights, we are striving hard to improve the living conditions of those seeking protection.
These are just a few examples we will be discussing. We want to learn from other member states and listen carefully to their views on the human rights situation and the protection of universal rights in Germany and how they can be improved.
We firmly believe that Germany already provides a considerable level of protection for human rights. Nevertheless, it is important to me to emphasise to the Human Rights Council in Geneva that no state and no institution is above a critical and regular review. This idea of international cooperation should be stressed in the 75th anniversary year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as Germany’s 50th year as a member of the United Nations.
Germany is currently taking part in the fourth cycle of the Universal Periodic Review process and is submitting its country report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 9 November 2023. The entire German Government was involved in preparing the report. Germany’s critical civil society also made an important contribution to the process.
The Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance is heading the delegation to Geneva, which is made up of representatives of the Federal Foreign Office, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, the Federal Ministry of Health, the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community, the Federal Ministry of Justice, the Federal Ministry of Defence as well as the Federal Government Commissioner for the Fight against Antigypsyism and for Sinti and Roma Life in Germany, the office of the Federal Government Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight against Antisemitism and – to reflect Germany’s federal structure – the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs. During the delegation trip, the Commissioner will also meet organisations from international and German civil society as well as Members of the German Bundestag, who are in Geneva for the Universal Periodic Review.
The dialogue is being broadcast live online.
You can find out more about Germany’s UPR process and its country report on the website of the Federal Foreign Office