Human Rights and International Law

Respect for and expansion of human rights is a central focus of the policies of the German Government. German human rights policy in international relations follows a clear obligation: protecting people from violations of their rights and basic freedoms and creating viable conditions in which oppression, tyranny, and exploitation can no longer exist.

The central starting points within the framework of the United Nations are the regular meetings of the Human Rights Council in Geneva as well as the meeting of the Third Committee of the General Assembly each autumn in New York. Both fora deal with the situation of human rights in the world, as well as the development of additional legal instruments and programs to promote human rights.

The Human Rights Council is, within the United Nations system, the central political organ for the development and implementation of human rights worldwide. In 2006, it replaced the Human Rights Commission as part of a comprehensive reform package. It is composed of 47 Member States, selected for a period of up to three years and in accordance with the regional distribution system.

Together with its EU partners, the Federal Government advocates forcefully within the United Nations framework for the protection and continual development of human rights standards. This occurs in routine and close cooperation with the institutions of the United Nations, especially with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.