4 May 2004

Original: ENGLISH
Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee : Germany. 05/04/2004.
CCPR/CO/80/DEU. (Concluding Observations/Comments)

Convention Abbreviation: CCPR


Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee


1. The Committee considered the fifth periodic report of Germany (CCPR/C/DEU/2002/5) at its 2170th and 2171st meetings (CCPR/C/SR.2170 and 2171), on 17 March 2004, and adopted the following concluding observations at its 2188th meeting (CCPR/C/SR.2188), on 30 March 2004.

A. Introduction

2. The Committee welcomes the timely submission of the report by the State party which was drafted in accordance with its guidelines. The Committee notes with appreciation that the report contains useful and detailed information on developments since the consideration of the fourth periodic report and makes reference to previous concluding observations. The Committee also welcomes the responses to the list of issues in written form, which greatly facilitated the dialogue between the delegation and the Committee members. In addition, the Committee appreciates the delegation’s oral responses given to the questions raised and the concerns expressed during the consideration of the report.

B. Positive aspects

3. The Committee welcomes the measures taken to improve the protection and promotion of human rights, namely:

(a) In 1998, the establishment by the German Federal Parliament of a Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid;

(b) On 8 March 2001, the creation of a new National Human Rights Institute entrusted with the task of monitoring the internal human rights situation and generating public awareness in that area;

(c) The submission by the Federal Government of a biannual human rights report to the German Federal Parliament, which, for the first time in 2002, dealt in detail with the internal human rights situation.

4. The Committee appreciates the measures taken to improve the protection of children, in particular legislation granting children a right to education in a non-violent environment, the removal of remaining differences in the legal status of children born in and out of wedlock, and the introduction of elements of jus soli for children born in Germany to foreign parents.

5. The Committee welcomes the progress made in the area of human rights education, in particular for police officers, soldiers and youth.

6. The Committee notes with satisfaction the State party’s measures and the progress made, despite continuing problems, in combating xenophobic and anti-Semitic violence.

7. The Committee welcomes the State party’s clear and unambiguous position that torture is never acceptable, whatever the circumstances.

8. The Committee commends the continuing positive role of the Federal Constitutional Court in safeguarding fundamental rights, e.g. through its decisions to strengthen the protection of religious liberties and to improve the protection of privacy in the area of audio surveillance of residential premises.

C. Principal subjects of concern and recommendations

10. The Committee regrets that Germany maintains its reservations, in particular regarding article 15, paragraph 1, of the Covenant, a non-derogable right, and those made when the Optional Protocol was ratified by the State party which partially limits the competence of the Committee with respect to article 26 of the Covenant.

The State party should consider withdrawing its reservations.

11. The Committee notes with concern that Germany has not yet taken a position regarding the applicability of the Covenant to persons subject to its jurisdiction in situations where its troops or police forces operate abroad, in particular in the context of peace missions. It reiterates that the applicability of the regime of international humanitarian law does not preclude accountability of States parties under article 2, paragraph 1, of the Covenant for the actions of its agents outside their own territories.

12. The Committee notes that owing to the State party’s federal structure, in exercising its overall responsibility for compliance with the Covenant it may encounter acts and omissions of the authorities of the Lšnder in areas of their exclusive competence that are not consistent with the Covenant. 13. While the Committee appreciates progress made in practice in the area of equality for men and women in the public service, it notes with concern that the number of women in senior positions is still very low. It is also concerned about wide disparities, in the private sector, of remuneration between men and women (arts. 3 and 26). 14. The Committee notes with concern the persistence of domestic violence despite legislation adopted by the State party (arts. 3 and 7). 15. While the Committee notes with satisfaction that the use of firearms by the police is restricted by law to a measure of coercion in extremis and that the number of persons killed or injured by the use of such force has declined in recent years, it is concerned that in some of these cases the use of firearms might not have been justified (art. 6). 16. While appreciating the reduction in the number of complaints made public in recent years, the Committee expresses its concern about continuing reports of ill-treatment of persons by the police, including foreigners and members of ethnic minorities. It is concerned that despite the previous concluding observations of the Committee, the State party has not found ways to monitor the situation effectively and still lacks the necessary statistical information on police misconduct (art. 7). 17. The Committee notes the vulnerable situation of elderly persons placed in long-term care homes, which in some instances has resulted in degrading treatment and violated their right to human dignity (art. 7). 18. The Committee is concerned that, despite positive measures adopted by the State party, trafficking in human beings, especially women, persists within the territory of Germany (art. 8). 19. The Committee reiterates its concern that adherence to certain religious organizations or beliefs constitutes one of the main grounds for disqualifying individuals from obtaining employment in the public service and that this may in certain circumstances violate the rights guaranteed in articles 18 and 25 of the Covenant.

20. While it takes note of the firm stance of Germany in favour of respect for human rights within the framework of the anti-terrorism measures it adopted subsequent to the events of 11 September 2001, the Committee expresses its concern regarding the effect of those measures on the situation of human rights in Germany, in particular for certain persons of foreign extraction, because of an atmosphere of latent suspicion towards them (arts. 17, 19, 22 and 26).

21. The Committee is concerned that the Roma continue to suffer prejudice and discrimination, in particular with regard to access to housing and employment. It also expresses its concern at reports that Roma are disproportionately affected by deportation and other measures to return foreigners to their countries of origin (arts. 26 and 27). 22. The State party should disseminate widely the text of its fifth periodic report and the present concluding observations.

23. In accordance with article 70, paragraph 5, of the Committee’s rules of procedure, the State party should provide, within one year, the relevant information on the implementation of the Committee’s recommendations in paragraph 11. The Committee requests the State party to provide in its next report, which it is scheduled to submit by 1 April 2009, information on the other recommendations made and on the Covenant as a whole


Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Geneva, Switzerland