Dr Bärbel Kofler, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, will travel to India from 21 to 26 October. In Delhi, she will conduct political talks with government representatives, the National Human Rights Commission and the Supreme Court, as well as exchange views with a large number of human rights activists and civil society representatives.
A focus of her trip in this regard will be the efforts to strengthen women’s rights. Business and human rights will also be on her agenda. To this end, the Human Rights Commissioner will travel to the Jharkhand region and to the industrial city of Ahmedabad, among other destinations. In Mumbai, she will talk to German and Indian businesspeople and shed light on the Federal Government’s stance regarding human rights due diligence in supply chains at the opening of a conference entitled A Holistic Approach to Achieving Sustainable Supply Chains.
She issued the following statement prior to her trip:
We face challenges in the human rights domain in both Germany and India. I therefore consider my upcoming meeting with the National Human Rights Commission, which was founded 25 years ago, to be important. Furthermore, I will talk with numerous civil society actors about what can be done to strengthen human rights in India. We will discuss key issues such as LGBTI rights, indigenous and other minorities and civil society freedoms. It is particularly important to me to engage in direct dialogue regarding disturbing reports on the use of violence against women and girls and their current situation.
Another focus of my trip is the great responsibility of the private sector for ensuring dignified living conditions for millions of people. Germany has launched a National Action Plan for Business and Human Rights that articulates clear expectations for German business and its obligations with respect to human rights due diligence across supply chains. We should bring our experience in this area to bear also in India. With a trade volume of over 18 billion euros, Germany is India’s most important trading partner in the EU. We therefore have a joint responsibility to ensure that economic development also benefits people in the region. It is unacceptable that this is not reflected by improved working and living conditions.