Amnesty International Police Germany
Photo: Pradeep Thomas Thundiyil, Shutterstock

Amnesty International on Germany: Light and shadow in the 2023 report

Amnesty International and the Bertelsmann Foundation have assessed the situation of civil and minority rights in recent reports. There is much to be done in Germany.

(Islamic Times) – On 27 March, the German section of the human rights organisation Amnesty International published its latest report on the situation of human rights in 156 countries. The document was publicly presented by Germany’s Secretary General, Markus N. Beeko. The report deals separately with the situation of the rights of citizens and residents in the Federal Republic.

Photo: Stéphane Lelarge, Amnesty International Germany 2023

Amnesty International on different problem areas

The report is divided into different topics and problem areas, ranging from discrimination to privacy to the climate crisis. Basically, the organisation makes clear that discriminatory identity checks (or racial profiling) violate personal rights and are always insufficiently acknowledged.

For example, the European Court of Justice ruled in October 2022 that lack of investigation of such allegations disregarded the right to non-discrimination. “The lack of an independent complaints mechanism at federal and provincial level continued to impede the investigation of allegations of ill-treatment by police,” Amnesty International said.

Xenophobia dominates hate crimes

In 2022, in terms of hate crime, “xenophobic hate crimes continued to be the most common“ in absolute terms. However, other phenomena such as anti-Semitism, gender and disability increased by double-digit percentage points.

Amnesty criticised that the German government’s national action plan against right-wing extremism of March 2022 did not address “institutional and systemic racism.” In Germany, racism is “part of everyday life.“

Photo: DITIB Mimar Sinan Camii, Berlin

The organisation still sees a need to catch up on citizens’ freedom of assembly. Regulations of individual federal states such as North Rhine-Westphalia would restrict this right “disproportionately.” The state’s powers of access have been extended inappropriately. “Despite some changes made after strong criticism in the legislative process, numerous questionable regulations remained in place.”

The climate also affects civil rights

What is new compared to the past is that human rights activists such as Amnesty International are questioning climate change in terms of human and civil rights. A topic with which the Germany chapter of the report ends.

On the one hand, the German government has accelerated domestic climate protection, but has also approved investments in fossil fuel infrastructure. Internationally, the Federal Republic participates in global climate financing, “but did not keep the promised increase in funding to 6 billion euros.”

Bertelsmann Foundation on discrimination in the immigration society

A little less than four weeks later, the Bertelsmann Foundation published its latest report, “Discrimination in the Immigration Society.” The paper describes how attitudes towards anti-discrimination have changed over the last 15 years. “The focus is primarily on ethnic, racial and religious discrimination. In addition, the findings are analysed according to social milieus,” Bertelsmann said.

A core finding is that measures taken by politics and business since 2008 have found “stronger support today.” At the same time, more people than then said they had experienced ethnic, racist or religious vilification themselves, and more people see a need for intervention in this regard.

Ali Mete, Secretary General of the IGMG, sees a “clear need for political action.” Because more than 5.5 million Muslims in the country are often affected by discrimination. “Exclusion and discrimination are still widespread, as is now evident from another study. According to this study, Muslims experience racism particularly often. 72 per cent of them say they have experienced ethnic or racist discrimination.”

A clear mandate is derived from this: The fight against anti-Muslim racism must be given higher priority. According to the study, the necessary majority exists: 54 per cent see a need for action. They appeal to the legislator to strengthen protection against discrimination “so that victims get their rights and perpetrators are punished.”

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