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Statement by Human Rights Commissioner Bärbel Kofler prior to her departure for Amman

04.09.2018 - Press release

The Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, Bärbel Kofler, issued the following statement today (4 September) prior to her departure for the Federal Foreign Office’s regional human rights seminar in Amman:

I am travelling to Amman for talks with human rights defenders from the Arab world in the coming days. I am interested to hear how they view developments in their region.

At a time when the rules-based global order is under pressure, and countries such as China, Russia and others are increasing their endeavours to call universal human rights into question, we need a strong voice from civil society because in many parts of the world, human rights defenders – be they lawyers, journalists or activists – face increasing repression simply for raising grievances publicly.

That is why we must stand up resolutely against all attacks on the universality of human rights and support human rights defenders worldwide. We want to help them to set up regional networks and thus to remain a strong voice.

I will also hold talks on the humanitarian crises in the region. Some of our international partner organisations are using Jordan as a base to organise their operations in Yemen, where over 22 million people depend on humanitarian assistance. It is vital that humanitarian workers, civilians and civil infrastructure enjoy security and protection. I call on all parties involved to uphold international humanitarian law, grant extensive humanitarian access and facilitate independent investigations into possible violations.

However, one of the main aims of my visit is to pay tribute to Jordan’s endeavours to provide for refugees from Syria. I will visit projects in which the focus is on social cohesion and access for young people to education and employment.

I will also discuss the United States’ termination of its financial support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). This decision means there is a risk of increasing destabilisation in what is already a volatile region. Jordan alone is home to 2.3 million Palestinian refugees. Germany will continue to provide political and financial support to UNRWA.

Background information:

The Federal Foreign Office and the Human Rights Commissioner have organised one or two regional human rights seminars every year since 2011. The current seminar for human rights defenders from the Arab world will focus on women’s rights, guest workers and workers’ rights, independent jurisdiction, and freedom of expression, the media and assembly in the region.

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