Remarks to the Press: Ambassador Wittig on Germany's election to the Human Rights Council

Nov 12, 2012

(near verbatim transcript of remarks to the press by Ambassador Wittig following the General Assembly's election of Germany to the Human Rights Council)

"Good afternoon, we have reached the the end of a very competitive campaign for the Human Rights Council. It was a good sign that we had a healthy competition, at least within the Western group. We could explain and promote our Human Rights agenda. We believe this could also be an example for other regional groups. All candidates in the Western group have an excellent human rights record, so they all have deserved a place in the Human Rights Council. But there could be only three winners. We congratulate all of them.

We are looking forward to serve with them in the Human Rights Council as of next year. We are very grateful to all members states for the strong support Germany received. We are honored and we will take this as a sign of great trust in our human rights agenda.

My Foreign Minister has said so just recently: human rights are a very important pillar of German foreign policy. This is what we'll do in the next years: drive forward - in the Human Rights Council - our human rights agenda. We will strive to reach out to other regions, to other camps: we will have and we will lead a cross-regional human rights policy.

We put emphasis on dialog and cooperation. Yes, we will speak out frankly in case of grave human rights violations, but the Human Rights Council is not the place for sweeping allegations. We would rather engage and encourage cooperation: bridge building, being a transparent member is very important to us. Our common goal is to respect, protect and fulfill human rights. Thank you."

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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.