Foreign Minister Westerwelle meets Forum Menschenrechte (Human Rights Forum)

Oct 7, 2011

Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and Human Rights Commissioner Markus Löning met Forum Menschenrechte (Human Rights Forum) representatives at the Federal Foreign Office yesterday.

Forum Menschenrechte was founded in 1994 and comprises more than 40 non-governmental organizations active in the field of human rights. NGOs and human rights organizations play a crucial role in the global defence and enforcement of human rights.

Today’s talks at the Federal Foreign Office focused on an open exchange of views on current developments in the field of international human rights policy and the resulting challenges for policymakers and civil society.

At the beginning of the talks, Foreign Minister Westerwelle underlined the importance of human rights for German foreign policy. He went on to say that Germany did not hide its values and that those values played an important role, both in the transformation partnerships with Arab states and the dialogue with China. Germany is also very committed when it comes to serious human rights violations in countries like Belarus or Syria, the Minister declared.

Furthermore, he emphasized that Germany was working actively for children’s rights. For instance, Germany had participated in the creation of a complaints procedure for the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and a resolution was adopted in the UN Security Council under Germany’s presidency on children in armed conflict. Federal Minister Westerwelle called on the Forum’s organizations to promote the human rights logo recently presented in New York as part of their work.

The organizations present included amnesty international, Pro Asyl, Human Rights Watch, terre des hommes, Reporters without Borders and Bread for the World. Church-run organizations such as MISEREOR, the Diakonisches Werk of the Evangelical Church in Germany, the United Evangelical Mission and the German Commission for Justice and Peace of the German Bishop’s Conference as well as political foundations also took part.

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