Günter Nooke, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (1 February) in relation to the World Report 2008 published on 31 January 2008 by Human Rights Watch:
"I welcome the essay by Human Rights Watch on the debate on interacting with autocratic and dictatorial regimes, which raises a number of important points. The German Government considers it self-evident that it is not enough to call for democratic elections, but that one must also demand compliance with fundamental human rights such as freedom of opinion and assembly, and freedom of the press.
Sweeping allegations that undemocratic or fraudulent elections are legitimized by recognizing the governments thus elected must however be rejected. It must also be acknowledged that human rights policy is associated with the pursuit of other goals such as peacekeeping and fighting terrorism, goals that cannot be attained without respecting international law and without interacting with such states."