Following Germany’s election to the Human Rights Council of the United Nations on 12 November 2012, Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle today (13 November) explained Germany’s priorities for its forthcoming term:
During our membership we will strive to give the Human Rights Council a higher profile as the leading international institution concerned with human rights protection and to develop new globalstandards.
The Council’s resolutions vociferously condemning the appalling human rights abuses in Syria have given the many victims of these atrocities a voice that is heard loud and clear.
Everything we do to advance the cause of human rights we do in the belief that these rights are universal, inalienable and indivisible. Our guiding principle here, enshrined in our Basic Law, is that human dignity is inviolable.
We intend to give economic and social human rights just as much attention as we give to political and civil rights. Only people who do not live in fear of hunger, thirst or illness can enjoy true freedom and take responsibility for their lives.
That is why we plan to take forward our initiatives on important issues such as the human right to water and sanitation, the fight against trafficking in human beings and the human right to adequate housing.
In the UN Security Council we have been campaigning particularly for the rights of children in situations of armed conflict. We intend to work hard also in the Human Rights Council to ensure that children all over the world are better protected.
Navanethem Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, can count on Germany’s support in this endeavour.
Protecting and promoting human rights is one of the United Nations’ stated top priorities. Here the Human Rights Council plays a lead role within the UN system. The Human Rights Council was founded in 2006 as the successor to the UN Commission on Human Rights. From 2006 to 2009 Germany was one of the Council’s founding members. The Council’s headquarters is in Geneva.