Speaking in Geneva today (8 May), Human Rights Commissioner Bärbel Kofler commented on the Universal Periodic Review process as follows:
“Germany, too, must respond to new developments and challenges. We know that racist views and discriminatory attitudes exist in various sections of our society, and we must counteract these. We are aware of the challenges associated with the integration of a large number of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. We are aware that in spite of the great progress made, we have not yet fulfilled the promise of genuine equality between men and women.
For these reasons, UPR is a particularly valuable process. It gives us the outsider’s view of our own country. It forces us to question our own assumptions and to look at our decisions in a fresh light. It provides an opportunity to find out what other people think we could do to better to respect and protect individuals’ rights.
Even if we are confident that rights are extremely well protected in Germany, we will, in our statements in Geneva, underscore the fact that a critical review conducted by external partners, querying legal norms or specific practices and placing them in an international comparison, is a valuable exercise even for functioning democracies and constitutional states such as Germany.Today, 70 years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, human rights still need to be defended. We are glad to shoulder this responsibility and champion the protection of human rights in Germany and around the world.”
Germany is currently taking part in the third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review process and submitted its country report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 8 May. The entire German Government was involved in preparing the report.
Representatives of a number of ministries (the Federal Foreign Office, the Federal Ministry of the Interior, the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, and the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth) and – to reflect Germany’s federal structure – the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany, are currently in Geneva.