Skip to main content
Foreign Policy

Protection of Human Rights

The respect of human rights is enshrined in the Basic Law. On the global level, too, Germany is committed to protecting basic freedoms.
Schutz von Menschenrechten
© dpa

 “Human dignity shall be inviolable. To respect and protect it shall be the duty of all state authority.” This is the clear mandate in Article 1 of the German Basic Law, in which Germany acknowledges “inviolable and inalienable human rights Human rights The respect and strengthening of human rights worldwide are a cornerstone of German Federal Government policy. Together with its EU partners it is committed to protecting and continually advancing human rights standards throughout the world. This occurs in close collaboration with the institutions… Read more › ” as “the basis of every community, of peace and of justice in the world”. Germany also takes this obligation seriously in its relations with foreign countries. The protection and strengthening of human rights play a special role in the foreign-policy and international context, as systematic human rights violations are frequently the first step towards conflicts and crises. Together with its partners in the EU and in collaboration with the United Nations United Nations The United Nations (UN) are the foundations and cornerstone of the international system. So as to adapt it to the political realities of the present day, Germany is in favour of a reform of the UN. Since 1996 Germany, which is the fourth largest contributor to the UN budget, has been one of the UN… Read more › (UN), Germany advocates the protection and improvement of human rights standards.

Commitment to international human rights institutions

Germany is a contracting party to the UN’s important human rights Human rights The respect and strengthening of human rights worldwide are a cornerstone of German Federal Government policy. Together with its EU partners it is committed to protecting and continually advancing human rights standards throughout the world. This occurs in close collaboration with the institutions… Read more › treaties and their Additional Protocols (Civil Pact, Social Pact, Anti-Racism Convention, Women’s Rights Convention, Convention against Torture, Children’s Rights Convention, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance). Germany was the first European nation to ratify the Additional Protocol to the Children’s Rights Convention, which makes an individual complaints procedure possible.

Support for projects worldwide

The Federal Government Federal Government The Federal Government and cabinet is made up of the Federal Chancellor and the Federal Ministers. While the Chancellor holds the power to issue directives, the ministers have departmental powers, meaning that they independently run their respective ministries in the framework of those directives… Read more › supports protection from discrimination and racism, takes an active stand worldwide against the death penalty and for political participation and legal protection, defends the freedom of religion and belief, fights human trafficking, and pushes for enforcement of the right to housing and the right to clean water and sanitation. 2.2 billion people worldwide have no access to clean water. Germany, as one of the largest donors in this sector, is helping to change this situation by spending 400 million euros annually on several projects. Access to water, one of the more recent human rights Human rights The respect and strengthening of human rights worldwide are a cornerstone of German Federal Government policy. Together with its EU partners it is committed to protecting and continually advancing human rights standards throughout the world. This occurs in close collaboration with the institutions… Read more › issues, is a key focal point of German development cooperation.

Human rights efforts at the UN

Germany was elected a member of the UN Human Rights Human rights The respect and strengthening of human rights worldwide are a cornerstone of German Federal Government policy. Together with its EU partners it is committed to protecting and continually advancing human rights standards throughout the world. This occurs in close collaboration with the institutions… Read more › Council in Geneva, Switzerland, for the fourth time for the period from 2020 to 2022. The Human Rights Council’s most important tool is the Universal Periodic Review, which provides all UN member states with an opportunity to declare what actions they have taken to fulfil their human rights Human rights The respect and strengthening of human rights worldwide are a cornerstone of German Federal Government policy. Together with its EU partners it is committed to protecting and continually advancing human rights standards throughout the world. This occurs in close collaboration with the institutions… Read more › obligations and answer critical questions. Germany underwent this procedure in 2018 for the third time.

Efforts on the European Council

Germany is one of the most active countries on the European Council European Council The European Council determines the political guidelines of the EU. Chaired by the President it assembles at least twice a year and is made up of the heads of state and government as well as the President of the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign and Security Policy. Read more › , which has 47 member states and champions the protection and promotion of human rights Human rights The respect and strengthening of human rights worldwide are a cornerstone of German Federal Government policy. Together with its EU partners it is committed to protecting and continually advancing human rights standards throughout the world. This occurs in close collaboration with the institutions… Read more › , the rule of law, and democracy throughout Europe. With landmark conventions, in particular the European Human Rights Human rights The respect and strengthening of human rights worldwide are a cornerstone of German Federal Government policy. Together with its EU partners it is committed to protecting and continually advancing human rights standards throughout the world. This occurs in close collaboration with the institutions… Read more › Convention, the European Council plays a strong role in establishing a common European judicial area and monitors adherence to binding common standards and values on the European continent.

Defence of human rights in the digital space

The protection of human rights Human rights The respect and strengthening of human rights worldwide are a cornerstone of German Federal Government policy. Together with its EU partners it is committed to protecting and continually advancing human rights standards throughout the world. This occurs in close collaboration with the institutions… Read more › is also an important field of activity for cyber foreign policy. In 2013 and 2014 the UN General Assembly passed resolutions on the right to privacy in the digital age. They were on the back of a German-Brazilian initiative. Germany is of the opinion that human rights online are just as valid as offline. In 2018 Germany emphasised its commitment to protecting personal privacy in the cyber age and assumed the chair of the Freedom Online Coalition, which champions promoting human rights in the digital age.