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Racism and gender inequality in Germany

May 8, 2013

It was time for Germany to take the floor at the Human Rights Council (HRC) for its second Universal Periodic Review (UPR), to engage in a review on its entire human rights situation.

We regret that no state mentioned the National Action Plan (NAP) that was recently launched by Germany to implement the UN Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. Indeed, this NAP presents some gaps that need to be addressed by the German government. For more details on this issue, download our recommendations here.

Endemic racism

Intolerance was at the heart of the recommendations made by the HRC. Indeed, racism remains an issue of great concern in Germany, and migrants are the main targets of this endemic xenophobia.

Though several states welcomed the implementation of a National Action Plan to fight racism, they also expressed concerns about the stereotypes endured by migrants, especially in their access to the labour market, as well as about racially motivated crimes perpetrated by extremist groups.

In addition, several delegations called upon the German government to withdraw the law prohibiting the wearing of religious symbols for public school teachers, such as the headscarf of Muslim women.

Photo of a UPR side event on GermanyAlthough Germany was urged by several Member States to ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, the German delegation stated that ratifying this convention would not improve the situation of migrants, since the existing legal basis is already sufficient to protect them.

Delegates recommended that Germany pursue its fight against racism and intolerance with specific measures reinforcing social cohesion and integration.

Obstacles to gender equality

Germany was encouraged to strengthen its policy on gender equality, particularly in the labour market. Indeed, women still do not enjoy equal pay and career opportunities with men and they also remain a minority in decision-making positions.

The German delegation acknowledged that women are still facing difficulties to reconcile family, domestic workload and paid work, and ensured that the government is currently working on this issue, especially for reinforcing child daily care.

What to do now?

The process of a human rights review does not end at the review itself, it is a continuous process that civil society needs to be involved in to ensure the supervision of the implementation of these recommendations.

Civil society must continue advocating for the protection and promotion of all human rights and should also monitor the implementation of the HRC’s recommendations and be involved in the implementation assessments.

You can find more details on the UPR of Germany in the draft report of the Working Group: download it here.

Do you want to know more about human rights in Germany? Then check out our previous article!

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