Experts of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Commend Germany on National Action Plan to Fight Racism, Raise Questions on Racial Profiling by Police and Racism in Education
The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination today concluded its consideration of the combined twenty-third to twenty-sixth periodic report of Germany, with Committee Experts commending Germany on adopting a national action plan to fight racism and raising questions about racial profiling by the police force and tackling racism in the education sector.
Eung Kam John Yeung Sik Yuen, Committee Expert and Country Rapporteur, said the Committee appreciated the State party’s adoption of the National Action Plan against Racism of 14 June 2017.
Mr. Yeung Sik Yuen asked about the current state of the draft law on the reform of the Federal Police Act. Would the Act ensure the issuance of a receipt for each identity check which would indicate the legal ground for the check, checks based on behaviour and not on the appearance of the person, and include a definition of racial profiling and shift the burden of proof?
Chinsung Chung, Committee Expert and Country Co-Rapporteur, asked what measures were in place to combat racial discrimination in the education system, and what had been the impact of these measures. Children were reportedly often victims of bullying at school because of their ethnic or immigrant background. What measures had been taken to tackle this issue, including through training teachers?
The delegation said the police did not tolerate racial profiling. Identity checks were implemented to gain additional knowledge into criminal cases. Police were trained on strict guidelines to prevent racial profiling. Civil society had informed draft laws on police checks and submitted suggestions such as receipts identifying the reasons for checks. Approximately two million checks were carried out per year, and there had been around 50 complaints regarding checks.
The delegation said the Act on Participation and Integration was established in 2012, and the School Act expressly regulated that cultural identity needed to be taken into consideration. The service centre for anti-discrimination work and counselling against anti-discrimination advised children on coping with racism and anti-Semitism. When it came to measures against discrimination in education, it was always taken into account that discrimination could be intersectional.
Introducing the report, Sigrid Jacoby, Representative for Matters Relating to Human Rights and Head of Directorate IV C, Federal Ministry of Justice of Germany and head of the delegation, said the National Action Plan against Racism, adopted by the Federal Cabinet in June 2017, included measures relating to criminal sanctions, political education, fostering democratic values and equality in society and politics, and promoting diversity in the world of work. Dramatic events and attacks had increasingly brought the issue of racism to the forefront of public debate in recent years. In response, the Government had set up the Cabinet Committee on Combatting Right-Wing Extremism and Racism in March 2020. Germany had recently engaged in unprecedented efforts to address unresolved issues in connection with cultural objects and ancestral remains from colonial contexts.
In concluding remarks, Ms. Jacoby thanked the Committee for the fruitful exchange. Germany had many challenges to tackle but had the political will and a strong civil society willing to fight all forms of racial discrimination.
Verene Albertha Shepherd, Committee Chairperson, thanked the delegation for the fruitful dialogue and was impressed that Germany had not shied away from its colonial past. It was important to recognise that the harm from the past was ongoing.
The delegation of Germany consisted of representatives of the Ministry of Justice; the Ministry of the Interior and Community; the Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth; the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany; the Ministry for Schools and Education of North Rhine-Westphalia; the Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration; the Commissioner for Anti-Racism; the Federal Court of Justice; the Federal Police Headquarters; the Federal Foreign Office; the Federal Constitutional Court; and the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations Office at Geneva.
The Committee will issue its concluding observations on the report of Germany after the conclusion of its one hundred and eleventh session on 8 December. Summaries of the public meetings of the Committee can be found here, while webcasts of the public meetings can be found here. The programme of work of the Committee’s one hundred and eleventh session and other documents related to the session can be found here.
The Committee will next meet in public on Monday, 27 November at 3 p.m. to consider the combined ninth to eleventh periodic report of South Africa (CERD/C/ZAF/9-11).
The Committee has before it the combined twenty-third to twenty-sixth periodic reports of Germany (CERD/C/DEU/23-26).
Presentation of Report
NIKOLA GILLHOFF, Deputy Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations Office at Geneva and head of the delegation, reacting to remarks in the opening session, said images of the conflict in the Middle East were horrifying. Germany sympathised with all civilian victims but rejected comparisons with the Holocaust. Israel had the right to defend itself from external threats within the framework of international humanitarian law. Hamas was trying to drive a wedge between the global South and the global North. Germany was calling for humanitarian aid to reach those who needed it as soon as possible.
SIGRID JACOBY, Representative for Matters Relating to Human Rights and Head of Directorate IV C, Federal Ministry of Justice of Germany and head of the delegation, said combatting racist attitudes and discrimination was a vitally important and challenging task that required constant attention and commitment. The National Action Plan against Racism, adopted by the Federal Cabinet in June 2017, included measures relating to criminal sanctions, political education, fostering democratic values and equality in society and politics, and promoting diversity in the world of work.
The Action Plan would be further developed by the Anti-Racism Commissioner, Minister of State Reem Alabali-Radovan, who was appointed in 2022. Her tasks also included acting as the Government's central point of contact for people affected by racism and providing them with support, besides developing new initiatives and measures and gaining insights into structural racism. The office of the Anti-Racism Commissioner put the fight against racism firmly at the top of the Federal Government's agenda. The Federal Government established the office of the Anti-Semitism Commissioner in 2018 and the office of the Anti-Gypsyism Commissioner in 2022. To ensure more consistent implementation of the Decade for People of African Descent, the Federal Government also set up a coordination centre in 2022.
Dramatic events and attacks had increasingly brought the issue of racism to the forefront of public debate in recent years. These events included the series of racist murders by the so-called National Socialist Underground, an anti-Semitic and racially motivated attack in Halle on 9 October 2019, a racist attack in Hanau on 19 February 2020, and the assassination of the regional commissioner for Kassel on 2 June 2019. In response, the Government had set up the Cabinet Committee on Combatting Right-Wing Extremism and Racism in March 2020. In recent years, Germany had also adapted the legal framework and established a sound basis for the criminal prosecution of hate speech and hate crime. Germany was among the first countries in the world to introduce a law against criminal hate speech online. A law passed in 2021 added the offence of hate-mongering insults to the Criminal Code.
Through the federal programme “Live Democracy”, the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs supported over 700 different measures to promote democracy, shape diversity and prevent extremism. In 2023, the federal programme had funds of 182 million euros at its disposal. Its goals included promoting competence networks devoted to tackling different forms of hostility towards particular groups. In 2020, the Federal Ministry of the Interior appointed the “Independent Expert Group on Anti-Muslim Sentiment”, tasked with analysing manifestations of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim racism in Germany, and formulating recommendations for action. The German Islam Conference had since 2006 been the Federal Government’s primary forum for dialogue and cooperation with Muslims and the various interest groups representing them.
The Federal Government was committed to increasing its share of employees from migration backgrounds. The Federal Government’s Integration Commissioner, who was also the Anti-Racism Commissioner, collaborated with the Federal Ministry of the Interior to coordinate a comprehensive diversity strategy for the federal administration, the focus of which was on people from migrant backgrounds.
Germany had recently engaged in unprecedented efforts to address unresolved issues in connection with cultural objects and ancestral remains from colonial contexts. In 2019, the Federal Government, Länder and the national associations of local authorities adopted a set of “framework principles for dealing with items from colonial contexts”. The first items, such as the Benin Bronzes, were returned to Nigeria in 2022. Others would follow. Reconciliation negotiations with Namibia were launched in 2015. The acknowledgment of the genocide against the Herero and Nama by Foreign Minister Maas in 2021 was an important step towards reconciliation in memory of the victims. Naming and acknowledging colonial wrongdoings was also a central concern of Federal President Steinmeier during his visit to Tanzania in early November. That visit marked the first time a German Head of State asked for forgiveness for the violence inflicted by German colonial rule in the former German East Africa. In spite of all the challenges that remained, Ms. Jacoby expressed confidence that Germany would rise to the challenge of breathing life into the values of its Constitution and the Convention, and that it was on the right path.
Questions by Committee Experts
YEUNG KAM JOHN YEUNG SIK YUEN, Committee Expert and Country Rapporteur, said Germany did not keep data related to ethnicity, race or colour. How could the State party ensure that it had appropriate measures to combat racism if it did not collect ethnically disaggregated data? The Committee called on the State party to change course.
Was legal protection against racial discrimination ensured in reality? Had the Ministry of Justice tested the applicability of article four of the Convention in the courts? Could the delegation provide a list of cases lodged under article four? What steps had been taken to disseminate the Convention widely and ensure that training on the provisions of the Convention was available to all stakeholders? Brandenburg had removed the term “race” from its Constitution and there were talks that other Länder could follow suit. What were the reasons for this change?
The General Equal Treatment Act was a good tool to combat racial discrimination, but it did not cover cases of discrimination perpetrated by State institutions, including the police. Racial profiling performed by State actors could not be litigated under the Act. Compensation could not be obtained before the administrative courts in a case directed against State actors and needed to be claimed in a fresh civil lawsuit. Because of this administrative red tape, no such civil claims had so far been lodged in Germany. What steps had been taken to reform the Act? How many complaints, prosecutions and convictions for racial discrimination related offenses had been recorded from 2018 to date? Were fines for racial discrimination sufficient? Was recidivism considered as an aggravating circumstance? Did convictions appear on offenders’ criminal records?
The Committee appreciated the State party’s adoption of the National Action Plan against Racism of 14 June 2017. What achievements had the Action Plan made in terms of policy, legislation, training, research and other measures?
What was the current state of the draft law on the reform of the Federal Police Act? Would the Act ensure the issuance of a receipt for each identity check which would indicate the legal ground for the check, checks based on behaviour and not on the appearance of the person, and include a definition of racial profiling and shift the burden of proof? The Federal Police had no independent complaint mechanism for discriminatory police practice. Victims of discrimination could only file a complaint addressed to the Federal Police. Only around two per cent of complaints against police officers led to an indictment and 65 per cent of victims did not even report complaints to the police. Was there a time frame for the Federal Police to communicate its decision on a complaint it had received?
STAMATIA STAVRINAKI, Committee Expert and Country Co-Rapporteur, said that in 2015, the Committee identified gaps in the legislation curtailing the right to an effective remedy that remained unattended. There was reportedly resistance to strengthening equality bodies and anti-discrimination legislation. Did the Government intend to revise this legislation? What were the obstacles to its revision?
Could information be provided on measures to effectively monitor the procedures in restitution claims? The Supply Chain Act, while having a robust enforcement mechanism, reportedly did not enhance access to justice for human rights abuses involving German companies abroad. Did the State party intend to improve access to effective remedies for such abuses? What measures were in place to provide reparations and remedies for Mozambican contract workers in the former Democratic Republic of Germany?
What was the State party’s approach to recognising and offering reparations for the genocide of the Ovaherero and Nama people? Did it acknowledge its legal obligation to provide reparatory justice? How was the State party consulting with Ovaherero and Nama peoples? What measures were in place to ensure that the enduring impact of the genocide was integrated into collective knowledge in Germany?
CHINSUNG CHUNG, Committee Expert and Country Co-Rapporteur, said that in the 2022 study of the German Centre for Research on Integration and Migration, 90 per cent of respondents stated that racism existed in Germany. Why was racism still so prevalent? What measures were in place to combat systemic racism? Forty-five per cent of ethnic minorities reportedly lived in overcrowded housing, a percentage that was 2.5 times higher than for the general population. How was the State party combatting racial discrimination in the provision of adequate housing and supporting people in vulnerable situations to access housing?
What measures were in place to combat racial discrimination in the education system, and what had been the impact of these measures? Children were reportedly often victims of bullying at school because of their ethnic or immigrant background. What measures had been taken to tackle this issue, including through training teachers? How was the State party supporting the education of ethnic minorities, implementing measures to reduce their dropout rate, and preventing their marginalisation?
Ethnic minorities were more often overqualified for their jobs than the general population. Why was this? What measures were in place to improve the situation? Ethnic minorities reportedly felt racially discriminated against when accessing healthcare services. Could ethnically disaggregated information on access to counselling be provided? What measures were in place to promote the meaningful participation and representation of ethnic minorities in the public sphere?
GUN KUT, Committee Expert and Follow-Up Rapporteur, said that the previous concluding observations on Germany were issued in 2015 and a follow-up report was received within the one year limit. The Committee raised two issues for follow-up: institutional shortcomings in investigating racially motivated acts and individual communications. The Committee had urged the State party to conduct investigations into racially motivated acts by the National Socialist Underground. It had also called for information on follow-up measures related to the individual communication 48/2010 and to implement measures to address racist crimes. Mr. Kut called on the State party to refer to the Committee’s general recommendation 35 in this context. The Committee regretted that the State party had not fully implemented its recommendation, and it repeated its call on the State party to act on this recommendation.
Several Experts hailed the work of outgoing German Committee Expert Mehrdad Payandeh, calling for his future return to the Committee. Committee Experts asked questions on how the State party presented colonial crimes in textbooks; on measures to legislate against and develop guidelines on addressing racism in sport; on inquiries into excessive use of force by the police against racial minorities; on measures to dismantle extreme right-wing groups; on plans to develop a law to protect human rights defenders; on measures to strengthen the national human rights institute, including increasing its budget; on measures to mitigate racial bias that could arise from the introduction of artificial intelligence systems; on plans to expand the list of national minorities and the rights provided to national minorities; on targeting of people of African descent in police checks; and on complaints of racial discrimination received by each complaints mechanism and efforts to follow-up on them. One Committee Expert called on Germany to recognise the right of the Palestinian people to have a homeland.
Responses by the Delegation
The delegation said the Anti-Racism Commissioner this year produced a status report on racism in Germany that analysed data gaps. Germany did not collect data on ethnicity, based on concerns that it could be misused. The State party was discussing methods of collecting additional data sources on ethnicity. The Micro-Census Act had recently been reformed to allow for the collection of data on migratory background and nationality. This would allow Germany to analyse discrimination and structural barriers for migrants. Some people not covered by migratory categories experienced racist discrimination, so more data was needed. Research had been carried out that employed the principle of self-identification. In 2020, the national racism and discrimination monitor was formed to collect data on the phenomenon. It questioned people in Germany on their experiences of racism. A survey had also been carried out into incidences of discrimination in the provision of public services.
The German Basic Law contained very strong provisions protecting human rights. The Convention was also directly enforceable in German courts. There had been references to the Convention in German jurisprudence, but courts typically referred to domestic legislation, which had the same protections. A brochure and a commentary on the Convention in German had been issued, parts of which were authored by Committee Expert Mehrdad Payandeh. Germany shared the Committee’s high appreciation of Committee Expert Payandeh’s work. Training on the Convention and combatting racism was provided for judges.
The Government sought to address forms of structural racism through the National Action Plan on Racism. Germany was discussing eliminating the word “race” from the Constitution, which was added to the Constitution as a response to the Holocaust. The word had controversial historical connotations.
A coalition agreement had been reached to reform the Equal Treatment Act to improve legal protection and expand its implementation. Reform was currently being discussed with civil society and the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance.
Associations were banned for infringing criminal laws and violating human rights. Activities linked to Hamas had been banned, as had a right-wing extremist group. Criminal prosecutions needed to be launched against terrorist organizations to ban them. After bans, any future activity by such organizations was criminalised.
The Federal Police protected Germany’s borders, regulating migration and restricting human trafficking, which was a severe crime. There had been 113,000 illegal entries into Germany in 2023 and around 2,600 incidents of human trafficking. The police did not tolerate racial profiling. The relevant law contained strict conditions to check people. Personal distinguishing features like skin colour, religion or gender gave no reasons to take police measures. As given by law, the reasons for checks were to prevent illegal migration and dangerous human trafficking, or to gain additional knowledge into migration routes and criminal cases. Police were trained on strict guidelines to prevent racial profiling. Civil society had informed draft laws on police checks and submitted suggestions such as receipts identifying the reasons for checks. Approximately two million checks were carried out per year, and there had been around 50 complaints regarding checks. Seven cases regarding checks were currently before the courts. If there was a complaint against a member of the police, a separate police organization carried out investigations into it. There were no time limitations for raising complaints. Police authorities also had whistle-blower mechanisms for officers to submit complaints. Since 2019, the police had cooperated with various councils of ethnic minorities and conducted events to promote ethnic harmony.
The closure of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic had had a significant impact on the mental health of migrant children and their learning outcomes. Children were given technological devices during the pandemic regardless of their backgrounds. All students had equal access to support measures. The State placed importance on language education for migrant children. In 2022, a recommendation was launched on teaching the history of Sinti and Roma in schools. Currently, the introduction of a recommendation on teaching about the four national minorities was also being discussed.
The Anti-Discrimination Authority had conducted a study finding that there was racial discrimination in access to health services. The Government was making information available to improve competencies in the provision of health services. It was working on an action plan to improve equal access to health services. To support the employment of migrants, the Government sought to lower requirements in terms of language in the private sector and implement measures to promote the employment of migrant women.
Follow-Up Questions by Committee Experts
CHINSUNG CHUNG, Committee Expert and Country Co-Rapporteur, asked for clarification regarding plans to collect statistics on people with migrant backgrounds. Were there any guidelines on how this data would be collected? Would data be collected on where migrants came from, and on second and third generation migrants?
STAMATIA STAVRINAKI, Committee Expert and Country Co-Rapporteur, said that currently, some measures promoting access to justice were not effective. How would new legislation on access to justice consider challenges posed by artificial intelligence? What reparations were provided to migrants when border officials were found to have breached legislation on personal data protection?
Responses by the Delegation
The delegation said the micro-census would ask questions on migrants’ backgrounds that did not incorporate self-identification. Migrants and their direct descendants would be the subject of the micro-census.
Questions by Committee Experts
YEUNG KAM JOHN YEUNG SIK YUEN, Committee Expert and Country Rapporteur, asked for examples taken against obnoxious internet sites which had been investigated, closed or prosecuted? The Network Enforcing Act was adopted in 2018 to combat hate crime on social networks more effectively. The Act placed the burden on social media companies to censor content. Had there been cases where significant fines been imposed on social media companies? What were the rates of deletion of reprehensible content by the main social media companies? Was the rate of compliance currently considered satisfactory? There had been criticism of the Act, with critics saying it could limit freedom of expression. Had the Act proven to be a good tool to fight hate crimes and other illegal content on social media?
There had been some shocking cases of racial hatred against migrant and ethnic minorities. In one case, certain neighbours of a burning house inhabited by Roma had let them burn, shown the Nazi salute, and tried to prevent the police from helping them. Had anything been done to prosecute those insensitive neighbours? In January 2016, 326 cases of hate crime against migrants were reported. The number of right-wing extremists ready to use violence continued to increase, and was estimated at 12,700 at the end of 2017. Had these perpetrators been identified and dealt with by law?
The move to prohibit the National Democratic party, now called the Homeland party, a right-wing extremist party, was blocked by the Constitutional Court. How was the non-banning of the party received within the legal circles of the State party? What were the formal legal reasons which led to the exclusion of the Alternative for Germany party in elections? Had a decision been reached regarding the exclusion of funding for the National Democratic party? What was the meaning of life imprisonment in the German judicial system?
CHINSUNG CHUNG, Committee Expert and Country Co-Rapporteur, asked what measures had been implemented to improve the situation of people of African descent? There was insufficient political representation of people of African descent and those who had experienced racial abuse and violence. Could information be provided on these incidents and measures to treat them? Did Germany acknowledge its past practices of colonialism when discussing present issues of discrimination?
Anti-Muslim racism had the highest prevalence of racial stereotypes in Germany. Did the Government enforce campaigns of awareness raising to combat anti-Muslim feeling? What measures for protecting violence against Muslims had the Government of Germany enforced? Due to the so-called Neutrality Act, female trainees wearing headscarves could not sit on the bench during court room hearings. Could information on this be provided and how was the Government combatting this legislation? What were the results of a panel on anti-Semitism? What measures were being taken to combat discrimination against Roma and Sinti persons who had been living in Germany for centuries? Could examples of good practice of helping Roma and Sinti people be provided?
A report had been received on foreign migrant workers, which was not mentioned in the State report. Germany had a long history of using foreign workers. There had been criticism that the Government considered these workers to be just labour and not part of the German population. These workers suffered poor working conditions and were worried about being sent back. Could statistics on foreign workers be provided? What was being done to protect their rights? Were there plans to integrate these workers into society?
STAMATIA STAVRINAKI, Committee Expert and Country Co-Rapporteur, asked for information on the number of asylum seekers and migrants living in shared accommodation facilities? How did police assess the level of living conditions in these facilities? Could information be provided on the number of refugee children in schools, as well as the descendants of migrants? What measures were being taken to prevent segregation in schools? What were the health services provided to asylum seekers? The Committee welcomed the agreement with the Länder governments regarding health coverage of Ukrainian refugees. Why was this not extended to other refugees? What were the numbers of requests for family reunification? Could the Committee be updated on the recent bans of demonstrations? What measures had been adopted to promote the knowledge and cultural heritage of minority groups?
A Committee Expert asked how many teachers were working in areas where the majority of inhabitants belonged to minority groups? Another Expert asked how the Government served the needs of the people and combatted institutional barriers without detailed statistical data? A Committee Expert asked about racism in sport as there had been several cases of footballers who had experienced significant racism throughout their careers. How did the State plan to adopt measures so that school textbooks contained information about the colonial and slavery past of Germany?
Another Expert asked if there was a national perspective to harmonise the Länder model? What mechanism had been established to support victims who were part of criminal proceedings? A Committee Expert saluted Angela Merkel who had made historic decisions by hosting migrants. Family reunification was an essential element of refugees, as the family unit was vital. Could information on this be provided?
Responses by the Delegation
The delegation said Germany was a country which was friendly to refugees. Between 2015 and 2016, 1.1 million people entered the country as refugees. Despite this, the country was seeing a rise in extremism, but was doing everything possible to combat this development. Migration statistics were not the most appropriate basis to look at racism and discrimination, which was why other data sources were used. Data was gathered on Black, Muslim, and Asian people, and this research had a strongly participative approach with the affected communities. There were also several research groups at universities that had been established to research racism in a more defined way. A large-scale study on racism in institutions was underway, with the results expected next year.
In 2020, an independent group on anti-Muslim sentiment was initiated. Over the summer, they presented a detailed report and the Government would look at the recommendations they made. Sinti and Roma were among the biggest groups which were most affected by racism and exploitation. There had been a lot of changes recently, including the Anti-Gypsyism Commissioner and the European Roma Strategy to ensure equal participation in society. There had been several events held for Black people living in Germany. An office had been developed this year to implement the Istanbul Convention, and a national strategy would consider all forms of discrimination. The Federal Government was currently working on a law to promote democracy.
There was a new security architecture in Germany. All cases which may be linked to racist motivated crimes were analysed. People who could potentially be perpetrators were monitored. Training was increased in the judicial academy for judges working in this area. Communication between units was being improved to ensure that real time updates on crimes could be provided between departments. It was important to critically examine work on a regular basis, and regular meetings were held with non-governmental organizations in this regard. The criminal law could only set an exterior barrier; the Government could not change what was in people’s minds but could try and limit negative actions as much as possible.
Regarding the attacks committed against a member of parliament, both cases had been investigated and sentenced. Regulating social networks was possible by issuing fines. One hundred and fifty fine proceedings against social networking providers had been issued since the Network Enforcement Act came into force; prior to that only around 10 fines had been issued. Deletion rates were satisfactory. In 2020, the Act was evaluated and it was found to have improved reporting procedures and accountability of social networking procedures regarding illegal content. This had become a strong way to combat hate crimes online.
For decades, an honest and comprehensive reappraisal of Germany's colonial past had been delayed. But this was no longer the case: today, Germany recognised its historical responsibility and was consistently coming to terms with its colonial past. There was consensus about the return of cultural goods in agreement with the countries of origin and the societies of origin concerned. Ancestral remains were not cultural goods and needed to be returned. Any demands for returns from third countries were being examined favourably and would be discussed with Germany’s partners on the basis of the "framework principles". There was also an intensive dialogue with the descendants and relatives in those cases where no clear identification had yet taken place. Germany supported enquirers wherever it could to find human remains of their ancestors in German collections. Germany had stated that it was responsible for the genocide in Namibia from 1904 to 1908. There was no obligation to make reparations under international law because the relevant legal instruments to penalise these crimes were only created at a later date, so reconciliation needed to be sought by other means. This was why the Federal Government, together with the Namibian Government, had embarked on the path of political bilateral negotiations with the participation of the affected population groups. This did not diminish the sincerity of the Federal Government’s regrets and the seriousness of its efforts towards reconciliation, but rather underlined them.
Human rights education was covered across a broad range of subjects, including history, religion, ethics and philosophy, among others. Both colonialism and its consequences were studied at different levels of detail in different years of school education. Colonialism was studied in history classes in the context of imperialism. Increasingly, the perspective of the colonies was a focus. It was important that teachers were trained to teach this topic. The Länder had developed initiatives to fight discrimination against stereotypes, including through awareness raising among teachers and pupils. Standards had been developed for teacher training. These included the importance of diversity, fighting discrimination, and combatting group-based hostility.
In North Rhine-Westphalia, the Act on Participation and Integration was established in 2012, and the School Act expressly regulated that cultural identity needed to be taken into consideration. The service centre for anti-discrimination work and counselling against anti-discrimination advised children on coping with racism and anti-Semitism. When it came to measures against discrimination in education, the Länder always considered that discrimination could be intersectional. When it came to teachers, there was no general ban on headscarves. Teachers were free to dress themselves in accordance with their religious beliefs. They could, however, not make any political or religious statements that jeopardise the neutrality of the state or are likely to disturb the peace at school.
Germany ensured the protection of human rights for migrant workers. The term migrant worker was not very well differentiated, and did not exclude persons who were illegally working in Germany. Migration needed to be secure, orderly and take place in a regulated framework. Germany had been very active in the global conversation on migration to ensure legal pathways for migration. The Skilled Worker Migrant Act was adopted to allow third country nationals easier access to enter into Germany. These workers needed to be provided with information on their rights in Germany and who they could contact if needed.
Question by a Committee Expert and Response
YEUNG KAM JOHN YEUNG SIK YUEN, Committee Expert and Country Rapporteur, asked if the questions about the political parties could be answered.
The delegation said concerning the procedure before the courts on excluding the National Democratic Party from financing, the oral hearing was held in July this year. It was unclear as to when the decision would be rendered, but this was on the cards soon. The activities of the Alternative for Germany party are being monitored by the Federal and the Länder Offices for the protection of the constitution.
Questions by Committee Experts
GUN KUT, Committee Expert and Follow-up Rapporteur, said as of yesterday, information had been received that there had been a general raid by the police in Germany against an extremist group accused of conspiracy theories in social media. This showed that freedom of speech was not used as a blanket excuse for not prosecuting crimes. Germany had declared that it would accept the Committee’s jurisdiction on individual communications. Germany should refer to the Committee’s recommendation 25, and article 14, to provide a satisfactory answer to questions about certain cases.
YEUNG KAM JOHN YEUNG SIK YUEN, Committee Expert and Country Rapporteur, said at the beginning of October, there was information that a German democratic politician had been trying to find enough members of parliament to apply for a banning order against the Alternative for Germany party. Had there been further development since then?
STAMATIA STAVRINAKI, Committee Expert and Country Co-Rapporteur, asked about the obligations to report undocumented migrants? Could the delegation share more data to show if deferential treatment was taking place?
CHINSUNG CHUNG, Committee Expert and Country Co-Rapporteur, thanked the delegation for the replies but said there had been many questions which had not been answered.
A Committee Expert thanked the delegation for the quality of the responses provided and the Government for courageously shouldering its historic responsibility. Some of the questions on racism in sport had not been answered.
Responses by the Delegation
The delegation said Germany had had a shift in perspective in the last five years. A conference had been hosted for the first time on sport and human rights, and a declaration was signed for the euro games, which set a new standard in Germany. The declaration was the result of a collaboration with civil society, and a complaint mechanism was also being established. If any questions had not been answered, this was just because there had not been enough time to answer them all.
YEUNG KAM JOHN YEUNG SIK YUEN, Committee Expert and Country Rapporteur, acknowledged the quality of the laws that Germany had, and the concern the State was giving to the terrible issue of racial discrimination present in the country. This had been a difficult but intellectual exercise. Mr. Yeung Sik Yuen thanked the delegation of Germany and all those who had participated in the dialogue and shared information with the taskforce.
SIGRID JACOBY, Representative for Matters Relating to Human Rights and Head of Directorate IV C, Federal Ministry of Justice of Germany and head of the delegation, thanked the Committee for the fruitful exchange. Germany had many challenges to tackle but had the political will as well as a strong civil society willing to fight all forms of racial discrimination. Racism was endangering the basis of the democratic system and Germany was committed to tackling this issue.
VERENE ALBERTHA SHEPHERD, Committee Chairperson, thanked the delegation for the fruitful dialogue and was impressed that Germany had not shied away from its colonial path. De-colonial justice was an important path, and it was commendable that Germany had started going down this route, although it was incomplete. It was important to recognise that the harm from the past was ongoing.
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