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Menschenrechtsbeauftragte Kofler vor Menschenrechtsrat

25.02.2019 - Pressemitteilung

Mister Chairman / Madame Chair,
Madame High Commissioner,
Distinguished Delegates,

I am honored to address this Council again.

Germany has concluded the second of two consecutive terms on the Human Rights Council on 31st December of last year and it is my great pleasure to inform you that Germany is putting forward its candidacy this autumn to rejoin the Human Rights Council as a full member already next year.

This is a reflection of Germany’s dedication to the Human Rights Council and a reflection of our concerns regarding the worldwide plight of human rights and of the multilateral order.

Despite a world full of growing uncertainties that is increasingly susceptible to nationalism and populism, Germany trusts in international cooperation and multilateral understanding and compromise as the only meaningful way to progress and to problem solving.

Mister Chair / Madame Chair,

If reelected, Germany would be both a member of the Security Council and the Human Rights Council next year.

We would use our voice on both Councils to advance a comprehensive approach to security, based on the conviction that human rights violations can be both an indicator and a cause for instability, and that lasting peace cannot be achieved as long as human rights are not respected.

Mister Chair / Madame Chair,

The status quo of human rights protection, as it has developed over the past 70 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is under pressure and must be defended.

In many parts of our world the space for civil society participation continues to shrink.

Human rights defenders, journalists and NGOs are being intimidated and harassed. Women and children experience violence and inequality.

Germany will continue to stand with and to support those who seek democracy and stand up for human rights.

And of course, in my function as Human Rights Commissioner of the Federal Government of Germany, I will personally continue to raise my voice  and address any human rights situation that I am gravely concerned about. I will also address my concern directly through personal visits, most recently to China, and in the coming week to Egypt, for example.  

And because protection and respect for human rights begins at one’s own doorstep, Germany regards it as a constant task to be self-critical and to address domestic human rights concerns upfront.

As we have said during our UPR statement in September 2018, Germany accepts that in some cases more has to be done to protect human rights also in Germany, notably in the field of fighting racism and integrating people of foreign descent.

Mister Chair / Madame Chair,

The defense of the human rights status quo is not enough. Human rights politics cannot only be defensive. We also need a progressive agenda, one that looks ahead and takes initiative.

Concerning the human rights challenges we should address now, Germany looks at the strengthening of women’s rights, at equality as well as the rights of LGBTI, at the strengthening of human rights online in the digital age and at the protection of people who become victims of climate change and environmental disasters.

At the same time and in order for the Council to be fit to address future challenges, we should also strengthen the competent human rights institutions, such as the Treaty Bodies.

Germany fully supports the Human Rights Commissioner in her important work and we continue to offer her our close co-operation, not only financially.

Germany remains committed to this Council.

Germany - in line with the European Union - believes that any human rights situation of concern should be raised under agenda „item 4“.

Germany will also continue to strongly oppose motions that try to establish a hierarchy between human rights, for example by emphasizing economic development or security only. We will continue to address such imbalances.

Mister Chairman / Madame Chair.

It is our firm conviction that socio-economic development and prosperity are not sustainable when human rights are not respected.

Societies in which individuals must fear persecution, in which people cannot freely express their opinion, in which minorities are suppressed, in which women cannot equally participate, in which the media cannot exercise its role as the fourth pillar of democracy – such societies face too many human rights obstacles to advance economically in a sustainable way.

Human rights are not a „luxury“ or of secondary importance when pursuing security or development goals.

On the contrary: Human Rights are a precondition for achieving security and development – this is the conviction which underpins German Human Rights policy.

I thank you, Mister Chairman / Madame Chair.

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