Germany will soon be under review at the Human Rights Council (HRC) for its Universal Periodic Review (UPR), to be held on April 25th.

Before this review, UPR INFO organised a pre-session where civil society organisations and national human rights institutions are given the opportunity to share their assessment of the human rights situation and accomplishments in the country since the last review.

WILPF was there to monitor this pre-session on Germany, and here is a summary of the main issues that were raised.

We also issued several recommendations that you can download below regarding the implementation of the UN Security Council resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.

Racial discrimination and violence

Respect of human rights in Germany still has some major flaw. Migrants endure increasing stereotypes and violations of their rights.

The German Institute for Human Rights expressed concerns about a series of racially motivated crimes (known as the “Kebab murders”) perpetrated by right-wing extremists and the lack of investigation on these murders.

Yet, beyond investigations, Germany has to strengthen its efforts to efficiently address the issue of racism, by adjusting its legislative framework, training police staff and prohibiting ethnic profiling by the police.

In addition to violence, migrants suffer from daily racial discrimination, especially undocumented migrants. Indeed, they have neither a guarantee to their right to healthcare and protection against work exploitation, nor full access to justice, since their personal data is transmitted to migration agencies as soon as they are involved in a judicial process.

According to Forum Menschenrechte, reforming laws is essential to put an end to racial discrimination, but social interventions on the ground would also be necessary, by implementing specific training and changing the public discourse in the media.

LGBT communities still being excluded

Another major issue pointed out by the panellists was the question of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) rights.

Indeed, same sex couples still do not enjoy equal rights with heterosexual couples: the right to stepparent adoption has been recognised, but joint gay adoption remains illegal. A more progressive law is expected in June 2013.

Moreover, transsexual people in Germany do not yet have the right to determine themselves their gender in identity documents. Their true identity is still denied, transsexuals are considered as men who want to live as women and women who want to live as men. Transsexuality should no longer be perceived as an illness or as a gender identity disorder.

Trafficking in women and children

Finally, the level of implementation of some international human rights conventions in Germany is not sufficient: many of these conventions have not yet been ratified by Germany, such as the Convention on the protection of children against sexual exploitation. There is a clear lack of legal protection of children from sexual exploitation and there is no comprehensive definition of child trafficking in the German legislation.

Trafficking in women is also an issue of great concern: the representative of Franciscans International stated that girls coming from all over the world, usually from poor and disadvantaged families, are victims of trafficking and sexual abuse. She denounced the fact that since its previous UPR in 2009, Germany has not properly addressed the issue of women trafficking, and called for more assistance and protection services for victims of trafficking.

What is WILPF doing?

WILPF regrets that during this pre-session, the implementation of the UN Security Council resolution 1325 on women and peace and security was not mentioned. Germany has just launched its National Action Plan on the implementation of this resolution, but some gaps remain in this programme of action. That’s why WILPF International, in collaboration with WILPF’s German Section and PeaceWomen, has issued and shared some recommendations highlighting these gaps: download them here.

Because we think women’s involvement in prevention of conflict and post-conflict situations is an essential tool to achieve peace and full respect of human rights, WILPF is doing its utmost to advocate on this issue and to ensure that recommendations will be made on this matter at the upcoming UPR of Germany.

WILPF will attend this UPR session on Germany next week and we will keep you updated on the outcome of the review. So don’t forget to follow us on our website and our Facebook page!