Germany kicks off its candidacy for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council in 2013-2015

Apr 12, 2012
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The Federal Republic of Germany was a founding member of the Human Rights Council and had a seat on this body from 2006 to 2009. The German Government is seeking re-election to the Human Rights Council for the period 2013 - 2015.

-         Respect for human rights is of vital importance to the Federal Republic of Germany. Ger­many’s constitution, the Basic Law, begins by stating that human dignity shall be inviol-able and then goes on to say that the German people acknowledge inviolable and inalien­able human rights as the basis of every community.

-         Germany is a party to the fundamental human rights conventions which were incorporated into national law following their ratification. Germanyhas entered into extensive commit­ments on the protection of human rights and allows their implementation to be monitored at both national and international level.

-         The German Government also feels it has an obligation to strive to protect and foster respect for human rights throughout the world. It does this by conducting a critical dia­logue as well as by providing concrete support for projects aimed at improving human rights. Human rights and human rights principles are systematically taken into account in German development policy programmes and projects.

-         Protection and respect for human rights begins in one’s own country. We regard this as a task which we have to tackle anew every day and we have to allow ourselves to be judged by how well we do that.

-         The German Institute for Human Rights, established in March 2001, is Germany’s inde­pendent “national institute” for human rights as required by the UN Paris Principles. It monitors the German Government’s human rights activities closely and critically. The German Government cultivates close contacts with civil society and conducts an active discourse on human rights with it.

-         The German Government regards its human rights policy as a cross-cutting task which affects all areas of society. The realization of Article 3 of the constitution, which states that men and women have equal rights, the implementation of the National Action Plan - For a child-friendly Germany 2005-2010, the Action Plan of the Federal Government to Combat Violence Against Women, the efforts to ensure equal opportunities and participa­tion for people with a migrant background, as well as the elaboration of the National Action Plan to Fight Racism, Xenophobia, Anti-Semitism and Related Intolerance are just a few examples of the German Government’s ongoing commitment to improving the human rights situation.

-         The Federal Republic of Germany has been a committed supporter of the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms since its establishment. It has issued a standing invitation to the Council’s Special Procedures. It has been the initiator of three mandates to special rap­porteurs. A German expert has been on the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee since 2008, while another expert has held the post of special rapporteur since 2010.

In connection with its candidacy for the Human Rights Council, the German Government undertakes to

-         continue working for the universality and indivisibility of human rights.

-         continue actively advancing the implementation of our obligations under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the international human rights conventions, the European Convention on Human Rights and other international and regional conventions.

-         fulfil its reporting obligations deriving from these conventions and cooperate in a spirit of mutual trust with the treaty bodies, disseminate the concluding remarks of the treaty bodies, examine how to implement them and report on the corresponding implementation steps.

-         continue its close cooperation with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and carry on providing substantial support for its work.

-         work towards enabling the Human Rights Council to carry out its mandate under Resolu­tion 60/251 establishing the Council in full and granting national institutions for human rights within the meaning of the United Nations Paris Principles and civil society their proper place on the Council.

-         pursue its active role in the UN Human Rights Council, in particular by continuing the sponsorship for the mandates of the Special Rapporteurs on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, on adequate housing and on trafficking in persons.

-         actively seek cooperation in the Human Rights Council on improving protection of human rights beyond regional frontiers.

-         cooperate with the instruments and mechanisms of the Human Rights Council, in particu­lar by upholding its standing invitation to the special rapporteurs and working actively on the UPR.

The German Government undertakes at national level to

-     ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings in 2012 at the latest.

-         elaborate a National Action Plan to Implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Per­sons with Disabilities by the end of 2011 and to involve civil society on a broad basis, as well as

-         implement the 2011 Federal Government Action Plan to Protect Children and Youths from Sexual Violence and Exploitation and review implementation via a monitoring pro­cedure.

-         resolutely continue its efforts to combat racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and related intolerance.

-         implement the Federal Government’s Plan of Action for Human Rights 2010 - 2012.

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Human Rights and International Law

Child Labor in Birma

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.