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Encyclopedia > Human rights in Germany
Germany

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Politics and government of
Germany
Image File history File links Coat_of_Arms_of_Germany. ... Politics of Germany takes place in a framework of a federal parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Federal Chancellor is the head of government, and of a plurality multi-party system. ...



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This article is about the human rights situation in the Federal Republic of Germany. For information on the GDR and earlier periods, see History of Germany.

Based on the experience with the atrocities of the Nazi regime, human rights in Germany are protected extensively by the constitution. The country has ratified most international human rights treaties. Reports from independent organizations such as Amnesty International certify a high level of compliance with human rights, while still pointing out several issues, in particular police brutality and mistreatment of refugees. The Federal Convention (Bundesversammlung) is a special body in the institutional system of Germany, convoked only for the purpose of selecting the Bundespräsident every five years. ... The Bundesrat (federal council) is the representation of the 16 Federal States (Länder) of Germany at the federal level. ... Type Lower house President of the Bundestag Dr. Norbert Lammert, CDU since October 18, 2005 Members 614 Political groups Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union of Bavaria Bloc (226) Social Democratic Party of Germany (222) Free Democratic Party (61) The Left. ... The Bundesverfassungsgericht The Federal Constitutional Court (in German: Bundesverfassungsgericht, BVerfG) is a special court established by the German constitutional document, the Grundgesetz (Basic Law). ... The Bundesgerichtshof or BGH (German for federal court) is the highest Germany for civil and criminal lawsuits. ... The President of Germany is Germanys head of state. ... Horst Köhler ( , born 22 February 1943) is the current President of Germany. ... The head of government of Germany is called Chancellor (German: Kanzler). ...   (IPA: ) (born Angela Dorothea Kasner, 17 July 1954, in Hamburg, Germany), is the Chancellor of Germany. ... The Cabinet of Germany (German: Bundeskabinett, Bundesregierung) is the chief executive body of the Federal Republic of Germany. ... Germany is a Federal Republic made up of 16 States, known in German as Länder (singular Land). ... There are 439 German districts (Kreise), administrative units in Germany. ... Elections in Germany gives information on election and election results in Germany, including elections to the Federal Diet (the lower house of the federal parliament), the Landtage of the various states, and local elections. ... This is a list of political parties in Germany. ... The Federal Republic of Germany is a Central European country and member of the European Union, Group of 8 and NATO (among others). ... The European Union or EU is a supranational and international organization of 27 member states. ... Information on politics by country is available for every country, including both de jure and de facto independent states, inhabited dependent territories, as well as areas of special sovereignty. ... The Federal Republic of Germany can refer to two things: West Germany from 1949-1990 Germany since German reunification in 1990 ... Disambiguation Page Global Depositary Receipt East Germany ... The History of Germany begins with the establishment of the nation from Ancient Roman times to the 8th century, and then continues into the Holy Roman Empire dating from the 9th century until 1806 . ... Flag of Nazi Germany Nazi Germany, or the Third Reich, refers to the German Empire in the years 1933–1945, when it was under the control of the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP), or Nazi Party, with the Führer Adolf Hitler as chancellor and head of state. ... Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Amnesty international Amnesty International (commonly known as Amnesty or AI) is an international non-governmental organization which defines its mission as to undertake research and action focused on preventing and ending grave abuses of the rights to physical and mental integrity, freedom of conscience... January 31 1919: David Kirkwood on the ground after being struck by batons of the Glasgow police Police brutality is a term used to describe the excessive use of physical force, assault, verbal attacks, and threats by police officers and other law enforcement officers. ... What is Refugees? Refugees is a simple internet community that was created as a homeland and haven for the members of the message board MegaMassMedia. ...

Contents

Law

The constitution of Germany, the Grundgesetz, which came into effect in 1949, puts a particular emphasis on human rights. Its first sentence, "Human dignity is inviolable", is being interpreted as protecting the sum of human rights. This paragraph is protected by an "eternity clause" and cannot be changed. It has wide-ranging effects on judicial practice; for example, it has been used to justify the right on Informational self-determination in a 1983 finding of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany. Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany The Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany (German: Grundgesetz für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland) is the constitution[1] of Germany. ... Year 1949 (MCMXLIX) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The term dignity is defined as the state of being worthy of honour or respect (The Oxford Encyclopedic English Dictionary, New York, Clarendon Press, 1991, p. ... The term informational self-determination was first used in the context of a German constitutional ruling relating to personal information collected during the 1983 census. ... For the Jimi Hendrix song, see 1983. ... The Bundesverfassungsgericht The Federal Constitutional Court (in German: Bundesverfassungsgericht, BVerfG) is a special court established by the German constitutional document, the Grundgesetz (Basic Law). ...


However, following experiences from the Weimar Republic, Germany sees itself as a wehrhafte Demokratie (defensive democracy); actions targeted towards removing the democratic order are not covered by human rights. Anthem Das Lied der Deutschen Germany during the Weimar period, with the Free State of Prussia (in blue) as the largest state Capital Berlin Language(s) German Government Republic President  - 1918-1925 Friedrich Ebert  - 1925-1933 Paul von Hindenburg Chancellor  - 1919 Philipp Scheidemann(first)  - 1933 Kurt von Schleicher (last) Legislature... The political system of the Federal Republic of Germany is also called wehrhafte or streitbare Demokratie (fortified democracy). ...


The constitution guarantees all rights from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (which itself is not legally binding), with the exception of an unlimited right for asylum. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (abbreviated UDHR) is an advisory declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (A/RES/217, 10 December 1948 at Palais de Chaillot, Paris). ... Right of asylum (or political asylum) is an ancient judicial notion, under which a person persecuted for political opinions or religious beliefs in his or her country may be protected by another sovereign authority, either the Church as in medieval sanctuaries or a foreign country. ...


The ratification of the European Convention on Human Rights allows citizens to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. “ECHR” redirects here. ... European Court of Human Rights building in Strasbourg The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), often referred to informally as the Strasbourg Court, was created to systematise the hearing of human rights complaints against States Parties to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted by...


Male citizens are required to do a military service of currently 9 months. At any time, conscientious objectors can opt to do Zivildienst (civilian service) instead. For the time of both services, many human rights are suspended. Due to lack of demand for soldiers, in current practice many citizens engage in neither service. For military service in the meaning of an army as a military defense organization, see armed forces. ... John T. Neufeld was a WWI conscientious objector sentenced to 15 years hard labour in the military prison at Leavenworth. ... Badge of Zivildienst (Austria, 1982) Zivildienst (German, translates roughly into Civilian Service) is the name for the civilian branch of the national service systems in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. ...


Treaties

Germany has ratified the following legally binding international treaties: Ratification is the process of adopting an international treaty, or a constitution or other nationally binding document (such as an amendment to a constitution) by the agreement of multiple subnational entities. ...

Germany is also a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council. It recognizes the International Criminal Court. Year 1953 (MCMLIII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Anthem Ode to Joy (orchestral)  ten founding members joined subsequently observer at the Parliamentary Assembly observer at the Committee of Ministers  official candidate Seat Strasbourg, France Membership 47 European states 5 observers (Council) 3 observers (Assembly) Leaders  -  Secretary General Terry Davis  -  President of the Parliamentary Assembly Rene van der Linden... “ECHR” redirects here. ... Year 1954 (MCMLIV) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full 1954 Gregorian calendar). ... UN redirects here. ... The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 1948 and came into effect in January 1951. ... UN redirects here. ... The United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees is an international convention that defines who is a refugee, and sets out the rights of individuals who are granted asylum and the responsibilities of nations that grant asylum. ... Year 1961 (MCMLXI) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Anthem Ode to Joy (orchestral)  ten founding members joined subsequently observer at the Parliamentary Assembly observer at the Committee of Ministers  official candidate Seat Strasbourg, France Membership 47 European states 5 observers (Council) 3 observers (Assembly) Leaders  -  Secretary General Terry Davis  -  President of the Parliamentary Assembly Rene van der Linden... The European Social Charter is a document signed by the members of the Council of Europe in Turin, 18 October 1961 in which they agreed to secure to their populations the social rights specified therein in order to improve their standard of living and their social well-being. ... Also: 1969 (number) 1969 (movie) 1969 (Stargate SG-1) episode. ... UN redirects here. ... The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) is a United Nations convention adopted and opened for signature and ratification by United Nations General Assembly resolution 2106 (XX) December 21, 1965, and which entered into force January 4, 1969. ... For the song by James Blunt, see 1973 (song). ... UN redirects here. ... Parties to the ICCPR: members in green, non-members in grey The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is a United Nations treaty based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, created in 1966 and entered into force on 23 March 1976. ... Year 1976 Pick up sticks(MCMLXXVI) was a leap year starting on Thursday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... UN redirects here. ... This page is a candidate to be moved to Wikisource. ... This article is about the year. ... UN redirects here. ... Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women Opened for signature 18 December 1979 in New York City Entered into force 3 September 1981 Conditions for entry into force 20 ratifications Parties 185[1] The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW... This article is about the year. ... Anthem Ode to Joy (orchestral)  ten founding members joined subsequently observer at the Parliamentary Assembly observer at the Committee of Ministers  official candidate Seat Strasbourg, France Membership 47 European states 5 observers (Council) 3 observers (Assembly) Leaders  -  Secretary General Terry Davis  -  President of the Parliamentary Assembly Rene van der Linden... The Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data of the Council of Europe of 1981 extended the safeguards for everyones rights and fundamental freedoms, and in particular the right to the respect for privacy, taking account of the increasing flow across frontiers... This article is about the year. ... UN redirects here. ... CAT states: members in green, non-members in grey The United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT) is an international human rights instrument, organized by the United Nations and intended to prevent torture and other similar activities. ... Year 1992 (MCMXCII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display full 1992 Gregorian calendar). ... UN redirects here. ... Convention on the Rights of the Child Opened for signature 20 November 1989 in - Entered into force September 2, 1990 Conditions for entry into force 20 ratifications or accessions (Article 49) Parties 193 (only 2 non-parties: USA and Somalia) The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child... The United Nations Human Rights Council is an international body within the United Nations System. ... The official logo of the ICC The International Criminal Court (ICC or ICCt)[1] was established in 2002 as a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression, although it cannot currently exercise jurisdiction over the crime of aggression. ...


Reports

The Amnesty International reports of 2005 and 2006 mainly criticize police brutality, mistreatment of refugees, and racist attacks. Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Amnesty international Amnesty International (commonly known as Amnesty or AI) is an international non-governmental organization which defines its mission as to undertake research and action focused on preventing and ending grave abuses of the rights to physical and mental integrity, freedom of conscience... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... January 31 1919: David Kirkwood on the ground after being struck by batons of the Glasgow police Police brutality is a term used to describe the excessive use of physical force, assault, verbal attacks, and threats by police officers and other law enforcement officers. ... What is Refugees? Refugees is a simple internet community that was created as a homeland and haven for the members of the message board MegaMassMedia. ... This box:      Racism has many definitions, the most common and widely accepted is that members of one race are intrinsically superior or inferior to members of other races. ...


The 2007 Freedom in the World report by US-funded Freedom House gives Germany a score of "1" (the best possible) for both political rights and civil liberties. Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... Map reflecting the findings of Freedom Houses 2007 survey, concerning the state of world freedom in 2006, which is widely used by researchers and correlates highly with other measures of democracy[1]. Some of these estimates are disputed. ... Freedom House is a United States-based international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom and human rights. ... ... Civil liberties is the name given to freedoms that protect the individual from government. ...


Topics

Custody

The death penalty is abolished. Remand must be ordered by a judge. Usually, a suspect cannot be detained for more than six months without a conviction. The courts may order that a person be detained indefinitely if he is convicted of particularly serious crimes and has completed his sentence but is judged, after expert testimony, to be a danger to the public (Sicherungsverwahrung). This is usually applied to sex offenders. Capital punishment, or the death penalty, is the execution of a convicted criminal by the state as punishment for crimes known as capital crimes or capital offences. ... A prisoner who is denied, refused or unable to meet the conditions of bail, or who is unable to post bail, may be held in a prison on remand until their criminal trial. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


The German citizen Khalid El-Masri was abducted by the CIA in 2005 and interned without trial for months, although innocent. German intelligence was informed early about this, but undertook nothing, which is currently subject to an intense political debate. Khalid El-Masri. ... The CIA Seal The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is an American intelligence agency, responsible for obtaining and analyzing information about foreign governments, corporations, and individuals, and reporting such information to the various branches of the U.S. Government. ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Bundesnachrichtendienst (Federal Intelligence Service, BND) is the foreign intelligence agency of the German government, under the control of the Bundeskanzleramt (Federal Chancellery). ...


Freedom of Speech

Main article: Censorship in the Federal Republic of Germany

Freedom of speech is guaranteed by the constitution. However, Volksverhetzung (incitement of the people) is a crime, defined as spreading hate against or insult against a part of the population. In 1994, a paragraph explicitly forbidding denial of Nazi crimes was added. The Federal Republic of Germany guarantees freedom of speech, expression, and opinion to its citizens as per Article 5 of the constitution. ... Volksverhetzung (stirring up the populace by hatemongering, verhetzen means to warp the mind into hate by presenting extremly biased propaganda, possibly lies; official translation from German: agitation of the people) is a concept in German criminal law that bans the incitement of hatred against a minority of the population. ... Year 1994 (MCMXCIV) The year 1994 was designated as the International Year of the Family and the International Year of the Sport and the Olympic Ideal by the United Nations. ... The Süddeutsche Zeitung announces The Verdict in Nuremberg. ...


These practices were criticized by the United States Department of State report, but are generally accepted in Germany as part of the wehrhafte Demokratie (defensive democracy). Department of State redirects here. ...


Freedom of Assembly

Open-air public rallies require (generally) prior announcement to the local authorities, but no permits. Local authorities can prohibit rallies only on grounds of public safety concerns or involvement of outlawed organizations. This has occasionally happened for Neo-Nazi rallies. This is seen as a problem by the U.S. Department of State report, but rarely draws criticism in Germany, except from Nazi supporters. The terms Neo-Nazism and Neo-Fascism refer to any social or political movement to revive Nazism or Fascism, respectively, and postdates the Second World War. ...


Freedom of Press

Freedom of press is generally very established in Germany; the 2006 press freedom index of Reporters Without Borders rates Germany at place 23 of 168 countries. Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Reporters Without Borders, or RWB (French: Reporters sans frontières, Spanish: Reporteros Sin Fronteras, or RSF) is a French origin international non-governmental organization that advocates freedom of the press, founded by its current general-secretary, Robert Menard. ...


In 2005, minister of the interior Otto Schily authorized a raid of offices of the periodical Cicero, which was criticized as an attack on press freedom by part of the German press. The raid was based on a substantiated suspicion of leaking of state secrets. However, on February 27, 2007, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled that suspicion that a journalist is aiding the betrayal of state secrets is not sufficient to warrant a search, and thus the raid was illegal. The finding has been widely regarded as a strengthening of press freedom[1]. Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Otto Georg Schily (SPD; born July 20, 1932) was Federal Minister of the Interior of Germany from 1998-2005, in the cabinet of former Bundeskanzler Gerhard Schröder. ... is the 58th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... The Bundesverfassungsgericht The Federal Constitutional Court (in German: Bundesverfassungsgericht, BVerfG) is a special court established by the German constitutional document, the Grundgesetz (Basic Law). ...


A scandal regarding spying on journalists by the secret service Bundesnachrichtendienst, starting in May 2006, has not been cleared up yet. The Bundesnachrichtendienst (Federal Intelligence Service, BND) is the foreign intelligence agency of the German government, under the control of the Bundeskanzleramt (Federal Chancellery). ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Human trafficking

There has been a growing awareness of human trafficking as a human rights issue in Europe (see main article: trafficking in human beings). The end of communism and collapse of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia has contributed to an increase in human trafficking, with the majority of victims being women forced into prostitution. [1] [2] Germany is a transit and destination country for persons, primarily women, trafficked mainly from Central and Eastern Europe and from Africa for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Russia alone accounted for one-quarter of the 1,235 identified victims reported in 2003, the latest year for which statistics are available. For the first time, Germany’s statistics included German nationals who numbered 127. [3] [4] Trafficking in human beings (or human trafficking) involves the movement of people (mostly women and children) against their will by means of force for the purpose of sexual or labor exploitation. ... For other uses, see Human trafficking (disambiguation). ...


Police brutality

Amnesty International reports very few incidents of police brutality. Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Amnesty international Amnesty International (commonly known as Amnesty or AI) is an international non-governmental organization which defines its mission as to undertake research and action focused on preventing and ending grave abuses of the rights to physical and mental integrity, freedom of conscience...


Refugees

Amnesty International and other organizations reported several incidents of mistreatment of refugees. Also, the practice of deporting asylum seekers to countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo, where their safety is unclear, is widely criticized. Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Amnesty international Amnesty International (commonly known as Amnesty or AI) is an international non-governmental organization which defines its mission as to undertake research and action focused on preventing and ending grave abuses of the rights to physical and mental integrity, freedom of conscience... For other uses, see Kosovo (disambiguation). ...


Torture

There are no reports on systematic use of torture in Germany. However, there were some related incidents.


In 2002, Frankfurt's police vice president Wolfgang Daschner ordered a subordinate officer to threaten the suspect of a kidnapping to use force in order to get information on the whereabouts of the abductee (the abductee was killed shortly after the kidnapping, but the suspect told the police that the child was still alive, and Daschner decided to break the law to save the child's life. Daschner himself wrote down an official note of his actions). This triggered an emotional debate over the legality of such measures. Daschner was convicted to the lowest possible penalty of a fine. Daschner and the subordinate officer remained in duty. Also see: 2002 (number). ... For other uses, see Frankfurt (disambiguation). ...


In a trial against terror suspect Mounir El Motassadeq, a court used evidence provided by US authorities, despite widespread evidence of torture in US detainment camps. The conviction was rejected in appeal due to lack of evidence. In January 2007 he was condemned for 15 years in detention. Mounir El Motassadeq stood trial in 2003 for participation in the September 11, 2001 attacks. ... Detainees upon arrival at Camp X-Ray, January 2002 Guantánamo Bay detainment camp serves as a joint military prison and interrogation center under the leadership of Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO), has occupied a portion of the United States Navys base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba since 2002. ...


Surveillance

Several extremist parties, such as the National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) and the communist platform of the Left Party, are under surveillance from the Verfassungsschutz (domestic secret service). The use of police informers has sometimes been criticized as excessive. A trial against the NPD was aborted, because it became apparent that many actions of the NPD were actually controlled by the Verfassungsschutz. In addition to extremist parties, the German Government placed the Church of Scientology and its members in Germany under surveillance by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Verfassungsschutz) since 1997 for alleged violations of the German Grundgesetz. The National Democratic Party of Germany (German: , NPD) is a German nationalist political party. ... The Left Party (In German: , officially with a period at the end), formerly Party of Democratic Socialism (Partei des Demokratischen Sozialismus, PDS) is a left-wing socialist political party in Germany. ... Verfassungsschutz (Constitution Protection) is the short name for any of Germanys federal and state-based secret services for the interior. ... The Church of Scientology is the largest organization devoted to the practice and the promotion of the Scientology belief system. ...


External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Amnesty international Amnesty International (commonly known as Amnesty or AI) is an international non-governmental organization which defines its mission as to undertake research and action focused on preventing and ending grave abuses of the rights to physical and mental integrity, freedom of conscience... Freedom House is a United States-based international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom and human rights. ... Human Rights Watch Banner Human Rights Watch is a United States-based international non-government organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights. ... International Freedom of Expression eXchange. ... International Press Institute (IPI) is a global organisation dedicated to the promotion and protection of press freedom and the improvement of journalism practices. ... The United States Department of State, often referred to as the State Department, is the Cabinet-level foreign affairs agency of the United States government, equivalent to foreign ministries in other countries. ... The United States Department of State, often referred to as the State Department, is the Cabinet-level foreign affairs agency of the United States government, equivalent to foreign ministries in other countries. ...

Footnotes

  1. ^ http://www.tagesschau.de/aktuell/meldungen/0,1185,OID6460308_NAV_REF1,00.html
The list of unrecognized countries enumerates those geo-political entities which lack general diplomatic recognition, but wish to be recognized as sovereign states. ...  Southwest Asia in most contexts. ... The borders of the continents are the limits of the several continents of the Earth, as defined by various geographical, cultural, and political criteria. ...  The North American plate, shown in brown The North American Plate is a tectonic plate covering most of North America, extending eastward to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and westward to the Cherskiy Range in East Siberia. ...  The African plate, shown in pinkish-orange The African Plate is a tectonic plate covering the continent of Africa and extending westward to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. ...

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