Human Rights Council: Germany and the Universal Periodic Review

Dec 10, 2012

The Human Rights Council of the United Nations (UN) regularly monitors the human rights situation in all UN member states. In April 2013, Germany will undergo the so-called UPR process (Universal Periodic Review). For this purpose, the Federal Government presents a report that she has publicly discussed beforehand with non-governmental organizations and citizens. The hearing was held on December 5, led by Markus Loening, the Human Rights Commissioner of the Federal Government.

What is it about?

As part of the universal human rights audit of the UN Human Rights Council - the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) - the human rights situation is reviewed in all Member States of the United Nations every four years. This procedure has been around since 2007. The human rights situation in Germany has been reviewed for the first time in February 2009.

The public hearing

For this, the federal government is currently preparing a draft report, which summarizes the developments of the past four years. The public hearing gives NGOs and citizens the opportunity to ask questions and make suggestions. This approach is a "novelty" in Germany, the Human Rights Commissioner Markus Loening at the hearing in the Humboldt University in Berlin: "We are keen to ensure that the public participates and is involved."

Apart from the various departments of the Federal Government also representatives of many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) participated in the creation of the report. Markus Loening emphasized the fundamental importance of the UPR process and the work of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations. For civil society around the world both were "of utmost importance". Because all states are equal in the process: All countries will be checked, no matter their size, European countries as well as African or Latin American nations.

The other UPR process

The German Federal Government has until 21 January 2013 to submit their national report. Subsequently, in April 2013, the human rights situation in Germany will be reviewed at the 16th Session of the UPR Working Group. In September, Germany will have the opportunity to respond to the findings and recommendations of the Human Rights Council. In October 2013, the report (including the comments from Germany) will be officially adopted in the 17th Adopted Session of the Human Rights Council.

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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.