Federal Republic of Germany
Joined United Nations: 18 September 1973
Human Rights as assured by their constitution
Updated 14 December 2012
81,305,856 (July 2012 est.)
Chancellor since 22 November 2005
President elected for a five-year term (eligible for a second term) by
a Federal Convention, including all members of the Federal
Assembly and an equal number of delegates elected by the state
parliaments; Election last held: 19 February 2012
Next scheduled election: June 2017
HEAD OF GOVERNMENT
Chancellor elected by an absolute majority of the Federal
Assembly for a four-year term; Bundestag election last held 27
Next scheduled election: Fall 2013
|DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
German 91.5%, Turkish 2.4%, other 6.1% (made up largely of Greek, Italian, Polish, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish)
Protestant 34%, Roman Catholic 34%, Muslim 3.7%, unaffiliated or other 28.3%
Federal republic with 16 states (Laender, singular - Land); Legal system is a civil law system with indigenous concepts; judicial
review of legislative acts in the Federal Constitutional Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Executive: President elected for a five-year term (eligible for a second term) by a Federal Convention, including all members of the
Federal Diet (Bundestag) and an equal number of delegates elected by the state parliaments; election last held on 19 February 2012
(next to be held by June 2017); chancellor elected by an absolute majority of the Federal Diet for a four-year term; Federal Diet
vote for Chancellor last held after 27 September 2009 (next to be held 18 March 2012)
Legislative: Bicameral legislature consists of the Federal Council or Bundesrat (69 votes; state governments sit in the Council; each
has three to six votes in proportion to population and is required to vote as a block) and the Federal Diet or Bundestag (622 seats;
members elected by popular vote for a four-year term under a system of personalized proportional representation; a party must win
5% of the national vote or three direct mandates to gain proportional representation and caucus recognition)
elections: Bundestag - last held on 27 September 2009 (next to be held no later than autumn 2013); note - there are no elections for
the Bundesrat; composition is determined by the composition of the state-level governments; the composition of the Bundesrat has
the potential to change any time one of the 16 states holds an election
Judicial: Federal Constitutional Court or Bundesverfassungsgericht (half the judges are elected by the Bundestag and half by the
The ethnogenesis of the Germanic tribes is assumed to have occurred during the Nordic Bronze Age, or at the latest, during the Pre-
Roman Iron Age. From southern Scandinavia and northern Germany, the tribes began expanding south, east and west in the 1st
century BC, coming into contact with the Celtic tribes of Gaul as well as Iranian, Baltic, and Slavic tribes in Eastern Europe. The
Merovingian kings of the Germanic Franks conquered northern Gaul in 486 CE. In the fifth and sixth century the Merovingian kings
conquered several other Germanic tribes and kingdoms and placed them under the control of autonomous dukes of mixed Frankish
and native blood. The Roman provinces north of the Alps had been Christianised since the 4th century and dioceses such as that of
Augsburg were maintained after the end of the Roman Empire. However, from around 600 there was a renewed Christian mission
of the pagan Germanic tribes. After the fall of the Western Roman empire the Franks created an empire under the Merovingian
kings and subjugated the other Germanic tribes. From 772 to 814 king Charlemagne extended the Carolingian empire into northern
Italy and the territories of all west Germanic peoples, including the Saxons and the Bajuwari (Bavarians). In 800 Charlemagne's
authority in Western Europe was confirmed by his coronation as emperor in Rome. The time between 1096 and 1291 was the age
of the crusades. Knightly religious orders were established, including the Templars, the Knights of St John and the Teutonic Order.
Around 1350 Germany and almost the whole of Europe were ravaged by the Black Death. Jews were persecuted on religious and
economic grounds; many fled to Poland. The Golden Bull of 1356 stipulated that in future the emperor was to be chosen by four
secular electors (the King of Bohemia, the Count Palatine of the Rhine, the Duke of Saxony, and the Margrave of Brandenburg)
and three spiritual electors (the Archbishops of Mainz, Trier, and Cologne). Around the beginning of the 16th century there was
much discontent in the Holy Roman Empire with abuses in the Catholic Church and a desire for reform. In 1517 the Reformation
began: Luther nailed his 95 theses against the abuse of indulgences to the church door in Wittenberg. In 1521 Luther was outlawed
at the Diet of Worms. But the Reformation spread rapidly, helped by the Emperor Charles V's wars with France and the Turks.
Hiding in the Wartburg Castle, Luther translated the Bible, establishing the basis of modern German. From 1618 to 1648 the Thirty
Years' War ravaged in the Holy Roman Empire. The causes were the conflicts between Catholics and Protestants, the efforts by the
various states within the Empire to increase their power and the Emperor's attempt to achieve the religious and political unity of the
Empire. In 1701 Elector Frederick of Brandenburg was crowned "King in Prussia". From 1713 to 1740, King Frederick William I,
also known as the "Soldier King", established a highly centralized state. The French Revolution sparked a new war between France
and several of its Eastern neighbors, including Prussia and Austria. Napoleon I of France relaunched the war against the Empire. In
1813 the Wars of Liberation began, following the destruction of Napoleon's army in Russia (1812). After the Battle of the Nations
at Leipzig, Germany was liberated from French rule. The Confederation of the Rhine was dissolved. After the fall of Napoleon,
European monarchs and statesmen convened in Vienna in 1814 for the reorganization of European affairs, under the leadership of
the Austrian Prince Metternich. On the territory of the former "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation", the German
Confederation (Deutscher Bund) was founded. In May 1848 the German National Assembly (the Frankfurt Parliament) met in St.
Paul's Church in Frankfurt am Main to draw up a national German constitution. In 1862 Prince Bismarck was nominated chief
minister of Prussia - against the opposition of liberals, who saw him as a reactionary. In 1866 the German Confederation was
dissolved. In its place the North German Federation (German Norddeutscher Bund) was established, under the leadership of
Prussia. Austria was excluded, and would remain outside German affairs for most of the remaining 19th and the 20th centuries.
Differences between France and Prussia over the possible accession to the Spanish throne of a German candidate — whom France
opposed — was the French pretext to declare the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71). During the Siege of Paris, the German princes
assembled in the Hall of Mirrors of the Palace of Versailles and proclaimed the Prussian King Wilhelm I as the "German Emperor"
on 18 January 1871. The German Empire was thus founded, with 25 states, three of which were Hanseatic free cities, and
Bismarck, again, served as Chancellor. When Bismarck resigned, Wilhelm II had declared that he would continue the foreign policy
of the old chancellor. From 1898, German colonial expansion in East Asia (Jiaozhou Bay, the Marianas, the Caroline Islands,
Samoa) led to frictions with the United Kingdom, Russia, Japan and the United States. Imperialist power politics and the
determined pursuit of national interests ultimately led to the outbreak in 1914 of the First World War, sparked by the assassination,
on June 28, 1914, of the Austrian heir-apparent Franz Ferdinand and his wife at Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina by a
Serbian nationalist. On 28 June 1919 the Treaty of Versailles was signed. The humiliating peace terms provoked bitter indignation
throughout Germany, and seriously weakened the new democratic regime. On 11 August 1919 the Weimar constitution came into
effect, with Friedrich Ebert as first President. The two biggest enemies of the new democratic order, however, had already been
constituted. On January 30, 1933, pressured by former Chancellor Franz von Papen and other conservatives, President Hindenburg
finally appointed Hitler Chancellor. In order to secure a majority for his NSDAP in the Reichstag, Hitler called for new elections.
On the evening of 27 February 1933, a fire was set in the Reichstag building. Hitler was swift to paint an alleged Communist
uprising on the wall, and convinced President Hindenburg to sign the Reichstag Fire Decree. This decree, which would remain in
force until 1945, repealed important political and human rights of the Weimar constitution. By 1945, Germany and its Axis partners
(Italy and Japan) had been defeated, chiefly by the forces of the Soviet Union, the USA, Britain, and Canada. Much of Europe lay
in ruins, over sixty million people had been killed (most of them civilians), including approximately six million Jews and five million
non-Jews in what became known as the Holocaust. World War II resulted in the destruction of Germany's political and economic
infrastructure and led directly to its partition, considerable loss of territory (especially in the east), and historical legacy of guilt and
shame. At the Potsdam Conference, Germany was divided into four military occupation zones by the Allies, see Partitions of
Germany; the three western zones would form the Federal Republic of Germany (commonly known as West Germany), while part
of the Soviet zone became the German Democratic Republic (commonly known as East Germany), both founded in 1949. During
the summer of 1989 , rapid changes took place in East Germany, which ultimately led to German reunification that came into force
on 3 October 1990. Together with France and other EU states, the new Germany has played the leading role in the European
Union. The SPD in coalition with the Greens won the elections of 1998. SPD leader Gerhard Schröder positioned himself as a
centrist "Third Way" candidate in the mold of Britain's Tony Blair and America's Bill Clinton. Schröder, in March 2003, reversed his
position and proposed a significant downsizing of the welfare state, known as Agenda 2010. He had enough support to overcome
opposition from the trade unions and the SPD's left wing. Agenda 2010 had five goals: tax cuts; labor market deregulation,
especially relaxing rules protecting workers from dismissal and setting up Hartz concept job training; modernizing the welfare state
by reducing entitlements; decreasing bureaucratic obstacles for small businesses; and providing new low-interest loans to local
governments. From 2005 to 2009, Germany was ruled by a grand coalition led by the CDU's Angela Merkel as chancellor. Since
the 2009 elections, Merkel has headed a centre-right government of the CDU/CSU and FDP. Since 1990, the German
Bundeswehr has participated in a number of peacekeeping and disaster relief operations abroad. Since 2002, German troops
formed part of the International Security Assistance Force in the war in Afghanistan, resulting in the first German casualties in
combat missions since World War II. In the worldwide economic recession that began in 2008, Germany did relatively well.
However, the economic instability of Greece and several other EU nations in 2010–11 forced Germany to reluctantly sponsor a
massive financial rescue. In the wake of the disaster to the nuclear industry in Japan following its 2011 earthquake and tsunami,
German public opinion turned sharply against nuclear power in Germany, which produces a fourth of the electricity supply. In
response Merkel has announced plans to close down the nuclear system over the next decade, and to rely even more heavily on
wind and other alternative energy sources, in addition to coal and natural gas.
Source: Wikipedia: History of Germany
The German economy - the fifth largest economy in the world in PPP terms and Europe's largest - is a leading exporter of
machinery, vehicles, chemicals, and household equipment and benefits from a highly skilled labor force. Like its Western European
neighbors, Germany faces significant demographic challenges to sustained long-term growth. Low fertility rates and declining net
immigration are increasing pressure on the country's social welfare system and necessitate structural reforms. Reforms launched by
the government of Chancellor Gerhard SCHROEDER (1998-2005), deemed necessary to address chronically high unemployment
and low average growth, contributed to strong growth in 2006 and 2007 and falling unemployment. These advances, as well as a
government subsidized, reduced working hour scheme, help explain the relatively modest increase in unemployment during the
2008-09 recession - the deepest since World War II - and its decrease to 6.0% in 2011. GDP contracted 5.1% in 2009 but grew
by 3.6% in 2010, and 2.7% in 2011. The recovery was attributable primarily to rebounding manufacturing orders and exports -
increasingly outside the Euro Zone. Germany's central bank projects that GDP will grow 0.6% in 2012, a reflection of the
worsening euro-zone financial crisis and the financial burden it places on Germany as well as falling demand for German exports.
Domestic demand is therefore becoming a more significant driver of Germany's economic expansion. Stimulus and stabilization
efforts initiated in 2008 and 2009 and tax cuts introduced in Chancellor Angela MERKEL's second term increased Germany's
budget deficit to 3.3% in 2010, but slower spending and higher tax revenues reduce the deficit to 1.7% in 2011, below the EU's
3% limit. A constitutional amendment approved in 2009 limits the federal government to structural deficits of no more than 0.35% of
GDP per annum as of 2016. Following the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced in May
2011 that eight of the country's 17 nuclear reactors would be shut down immediately and the remaining plants would close by 2022.
Germany hopes to replace nuclear power with renewable energy. Before the shutdown of the eight reactors, Germany relied on
nuclear power for 23% of its energy and 46% of its base-load electrical production.
Source: CIA World Factbook (select Germany)
On November 22, 2005, Angela Merkel was sworn in by president Horst Köhler for the office of Bundeskanzlerin. She is the first
woman, the first East German and the first scientist to be chancellor as well as the youngest post-war German chancellor. The
existence of the grand coalition on federal level helps smaller parties electoral prospects in state elections.
Since in 2008, the CSU lost its absolute majority in Bavaria and formed a coalition with the FDP, the grand coalition has no
majority in the Bundesrat and depends on FDP votes on important issues. In November 2008, the SPD re-elected Franz
Müntefering as its chairman and made Frank-Walter Steinmeier its leading candidate for the elections in September 2009.
As a result of the 2009 federal election, the grand coalition came to an end. The SPD suffered the heaviest losses in its history and
was unable to form a coalition government. Consequently, the SPD's status as a Volkspartei (parties in the German system that
have traditionally drawn votes from a broad group of supporters and claim to represent the interests of all German citizens, as
opposed to special interest parties that focus most of their energy around a single issue, such as the Pirate Party or the RRP) has
come into question. Many political commentators speculated in televised interviews on election night that Franz Müntefering will
most likely resign as party leader, and that Frank-Walter Steinmeier will eventually also step down from the ranks of the party's
leadership sometime thereafter. Many voters who had traditionally been supporters of the SPD split their votes in the 2009 election
between the FDP, the Left Party or the CDU, as the SPD had lost much of its former vitality and direction as a result of its
secondary role in the grand coalition, and its subsequently weak campaign efforts against the CDU before the 2009 election.
Christian Wulff was elected President of Germany on 30 June 2010, when he won 625 of 1242 votes in the third ballot of the
Federal Convention. Horst Köhler of the CDU was first elected in May 2004 and was reelected five years later, in May 2009. As
this party has usually the biggest support in national elections but also in the Länder, it is quite common that the Federal President is
a Christian Democrat. Horst Köhler resigned on May 31st, 2010, due to remarks he made concerning the military while speaking
before the troops in Afghanistan. He was replaced by Christian Wulff. On 17 February 2012, Wulff resigned as President of
Germany, facing the prospect of prosecution for allegations of corruption relating to his prior service as Prime Minister of Lower
Saxony. He was replaced by Joachim Gauck whom Wulff had defeated in the 2010 election. He won formal election in March
Source: Wikipedia: Politics of Germany
Source of precursor chemicals for South American cocaine processors; transshipment point for and consumer of Southwest
Asian heroin, Latin American cocaine, and European-produced synthetic drugs; major financial center
|HUMAN RIGHTS STATEMENTS, ANALYSIS AND CRITIQUES
|2011 Human Rights Report: Germany
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
May 25, 2012
Germany is a constitutional, parliamentary democracy. Citizens choose their representatives periodically in free and fair multiparty
elections. The head of the federal government, the chancellor, is elected by the Federal Parliament (Bundestag). The second legislative
chamber, the Federal Council (Bundesrat), represents the 16 states at the federal level and is composed of members of the state
governments. The most recent national elections for the Bundestag took place in 2009. Security forces reported to civilian authorities.
Right-wing extremist offenses were a source of significant public and official concern. In November police arrested persons linked to a
right-wing extremist group, the National Socialist Underground, for the killings of nine persons with Turkish or Greek backgrounds as
well as one policewoman over a period of 13 years. Members of the extreme right also perpetrated a number of anti-Semitic acts, the
most widespread of which were the desecration of Jewish cemeteries or other monuments with graffiti including swastikas and racist
slogans. Challenges facing persons with disabilities were the topic of public discussion: e.g., some nongovernmental organizations
(NGOs) questioned the practice of teaching children with disabilities in designated schools with special facilities, fearing that this
segregates the children from society and hinders their future integration as full members of society. Finally, there was also some societal
violence and discrimination because of sexual orientation.
Human rights problems during the year included the system of “subsequent preventative detention” that European and national courts
have ordered reformed. Citizens challenged the government’s collection of a vast amount of cell-phone data during demonstrations on
February 19, resulting in court decisions requiring the government to be more selective in its collection of information and to protect it
better. The government limited the freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and association of neo-Nazi and other groups it deemed
extremist. There were questions about whether the country’s “fast procedure” for determining the refugee status of asylum seekers gave
applicants a fair hearing. There were reports of societal violence against women, and sex and labor trafficking of women, men, and
children. The gender disparity in pay was significant, as women were concentrated in lower-paying jobs and in part-time work. Some
societal discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS was reported.
The government took steps to prosecute and punish officials in the security services and elsewhere in government who committed
abuses. There were no reports of impunity involving the security forces.
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2 November 2012
Human Rights Committee
Concluding observations on the sixth periodic report of Germany, adopted by the Committee at its 106th session, 15 October
to 2 November
2. The Committee welcomes the submission of the sixth periodic report of Germany which was drafted in line with the new
reporting guidelines. It expresses appreciation for the constructive dialogue with the State party’s delegation on the measures that the
State party has taken during the reporting period to implement the provisions of the Covenant. The Committee is grateful to the State
party for its written replies to the list of issues (CCPR/DEU/Q/6/Add.1) which were supplemented by the oral responses provided by the
delegation and for the supplementary information provided to it in writing.
B. Positive aspects
3. The Committee welcomes the following legislative and other steps taken by the State party:
(i) The adoption of the General Equal Treatment Act, on 18 August 2006;
(ii) The many legal and practical measures taken to address problems in nursing homes;
(iii) The measures taken in 2009 to include information on criminal offenses committed by police officers into the criminal
4. The Committee welcomes the ratification by the State party of the following international instruments:
(a) The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, on 13
C. Principal matters of concern and recommendations
5. The Committee regrets that the State party, despite its indicated willingness to consider withdrawing its reservation to article 15,
paragraph 1, as set out in paragraph 114 of its sixth periodic report (CCPR/C/DEU/6), has not yet taken the necessary steps to do so.
The Committee is concerned about the State party’s reservation to article 5, paragraph 2 (a) of the Optional Protocol to the Covenant
which restricts the Committee’s competence with regard to article 26 of the Covenant and which the State Party has ratified without any
reservation (art. 2).
The State party should give further consideration to withdrawing its reservations, in particular those to article 15, paragraph 1 of the
Covenant and to article 5, paragraph 2(a) of the Optional Protocol to the Covenant.
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Germany and Russia: The End of Ostpolitik?
Nov 13 2012 - 2:23pm
The American Interest
by Lilia Shevtsova & David J. Kramer
Germany’s role in the ongoing Euro crisis is a reminder of its economic superpower status in Europe. But Germany plays another
leading role: defining European policy toward Russia. Brussels and other European capitals often follow Germany’s lead when it comes
to dealing with Russia. And with the United States distracted with its recent election and other priorities, and with the reset not what it
used to be, Germany’s role in defining the “Eastern strategy”—and specifically the agenda toward Russia—is likely to increase (even if
Berlin tries to keep a low profile).
Until recently, the German-Russian relationship was viewed as the model of a happy, albeit weird, marriage of incompatible bedfellows.
No longer: German public opinion has grown increasingly critical of Vladimir Putin’s regime and its clampdown on human rights and the
political opposition. While this shift in public attitude has not had a major impact on the official Berlin line, it has reinforced the push by
some Bundestag deputies, especially the German Greens, the only party that has consistently raised the issue of human rights in Russia.
But things have started to change in Berlin. This summer the German special envoy for Russia on behalf of the ruling coalition, Andreas
Schockenhoff, prepared a critical motion on Russia (“The Civil Society and Rule of Law in Russia”), which sought to clarify Germany’s
position before the high level Russian-German government consultations and annual meeting of the St. Petersburg dialogue in November.
According to Sueddeutsche Zeitung, however, the German Foreign Affairs ministry, headed by the Christian Democrats’ partner Free
Democrats and its leader, Guido Westerwelle, substantially edited the motion. In fact, the ministry rewrote the key points, significantly
altering the main message of the motion. See for yourself. Schockenhoff’s motion started with the following:
The German Bundestag seriously worries that Russia will be facing stagnation instead of progress on its path toward building an open
and modern society due to the deficit of rule of law, investments and innovation
The German Ministry of Foreign Affairs changed that to say that Russia is “the key and essential partner of Germany and Europe . . . the
largest state in the world that stretches through two continents . . . and is the crucial energy supplier in Europe.” One might almost think
this was rewritten by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, not the German one. But there’s more: German diplomats added a line
stating that global problems could be solved only with Russia’s participation. The Foreign Ministry also took out the seemingly
innocuous phrase that Germany and Russia are “interested in a politically and economically modernized and democratic Russia.”
Apparently, the ministry did not like the Parliament’s mention of civic activism in Russia. They also took out the phrase, “After years of
managed democracy and apathy a lot of Russians are ready for greater activism in their country,” and erased another assertion that the
Russian “authorities view politically active citizens not as partners, but enemies,” broadening the gap between the authorities and the
society. While tweaking a Parliamentary motion is not unheard of in German legislative history, in this case the German Ministry of
Foreign Affairs turned the intent of the motion completely upside-down. This provoked a mini-scandal in a country where the political
elite tries to avoid scandals at any price.
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Germany: Submission to the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance on Germany
6 December 2012
Amnesty International submits this contribution to the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) on the occasion of
its fifth cycle country monitoring that includes the Federal Republic of Germany.
Amnesty International welcomes that Germany has requested ECRI to evaluate the situation experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals in Germany. Amnesty International believes that ECRI has a crucial role to play in
combating discrimination against LGBTI people in Europe. Some information pertaining to discrimination against transgender and
intersex individuals in Germany is therefore included in this submission.
Existing research shows that ethnic and religious minorities, including asylum seekers and migrants, are discriminated against and
targeted with violence in Germany. According to the EU-MIDIS research undertaken by the European Union Agency for Fundamental
Rights, 30 per cent of Turkish people and 21 per cent of persons originally from the former Yugoslav republics who were living in
Germany and who took part in the survey claimed having been discriminated against in the past twelve months. This research has also
highlighted that ethnic and religious minorities can be discriminated against on one or several grounds including their ethnicity, migrant
origin and religion or belief and that ethnic and religious minorities are more likely to experience multiple discrimination than the general
In 2012 the Human Rights Committee, in its concluding observations on Germany, expressed concerns on “the persistence of racially-
motivated incidents against members of the Jewish and Sinti and Roma communities as well as Germans of foreign origin and asylum
seekers in the State party” and on “the persistent discrimination faced by members of the Sinti and Roma communities regarding access
to housing, education, employment and healthcare”.2.
EXISTENCE AND IMPLEMENTATION OF LEGAL PROVISIONS
A. REGIONAL LEGAL INSTRUMENTS
Germany has yet to implement some of the recommendations put forward by ECRI on the occasion of the fourth monitoring cycle.
Germany has neither ratified Protocol 12 to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
(recommendation 3) nor the revised European Social Charter (recommendation 8).3 Moreover, Germany has not ratified the Council of
Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence. Amnesty International calls on
Germany to ratify these treaties without further delays.
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The Case against Killer Robots
19 NOVEMBER 2012
With the rapid development and proliferation of robotic weapons, machines are starting to take the place of humans on the battlefield.
Some military and robotics experts have predicted that “killer robots”—fully autonomous weapons that could select and engage
targets without human intervention—could be developed within 20 to 30 years. At present, military officials generally say that humans
will retain some level of supervision over decisions to use lethal force, but their statements often leave open the possibility that robots
could one day have the ability to make such choices on their own power. Human Rights Watch and Harvard Law School’s International
Human Rights Clinic (IHRC) believe that such revolutionary weapons would not be consistent with international humanitarian law and
would increase the risk of death or injury to civilians during armed conflict. A preemptive prohibition on their development and use is
A relatively small community of specialists has hotly debated the benefits and dangers of fully autonomous weapons. Military personnel,
scientists, ethicists, philosophers, and lawyers have contributed to the discussion. They have evaluated autonomous weapons from a
range of perspectives, including military utility, cost, politics, and the ethics of delegating life-and-death decisions to a machine.
According to Philip Alston, then UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, however, “the rapid growth of
these technologies, especially those with lethal capacities and those with decreased levels of human control, raise serious concerns that
have been almost entirely unexamined by human rights or humanitarian actors.”1 It is time for the broader public to consider the
potential advantages and threats of fully autonomous weapons.
The primary concern of Human Rights Watch and IHRC is the impact fully autonomous weapons would have on the protection of
civilians during times of war. This report analyzes whether the technology would comply with international humanitarian law and
preserve other checks on the killing of civilians.
Automatic Weapons Defense Systems
Automatic weapons defense systems represent one step on the road to autonomy. These systems are designed to sense an incoming
munition, such as a missile or rocket, and to respond automatically to neutralize the threat. Human involvement, when it exists at all, is
limited to accepting or overriding the computer’s plan of action in a matter of seconds.
Another example of an automatic weapons defense system is the NBS Mantis, which Germany designed to protect its forward operating
bases in Afghanistan. The “short-range force protection system will detect, track and shoot the projectiles within a close range of the
target base.” Within 4.5 seconds after detecting targets about three kilometers away, it can fire six 35mm automatic guns at 1,000
rounds per minute.34 The system has a “very high degree of automation, including automatic target detection and engagement processes
which the operator only has to monitor.”35 Sources were unclear whether “monitoring” also allowed the operator to override the
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Speech by Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel in the European Parliament in Brussels
Date Nov 07, 2012
Mr President, Martin Schulz,
Members of the European Parliament, ladies and gentlemen,
I am delighted to be able to speak to you today. This is my first opportunity to do so since the German Council Presidency in 2007. I
would like to use the opportunity to give you my slant on the State of the Union – not looking primarily at the Multiannual Financial
Framework but I’m sure we can come back to that in the discussion.
In two days it is 9 November which this year marks the 23rd anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. 9 November 1989 was a truly
wonderful moment in the history of Germany and indeed the whole of Europe. It marks the start of an era of freedom, unity and
democracy in Germany and all across Europe.
We Germans will never forget that the happy development of our country is inextricably linked to the history of the European Union. We
will never forget that we also owe a debt of gratitude especially to our eastern neighbours for their courageous yearning for freedom.
We Germans are aware of our responsibility for a bright future for the EU. It is in this spirit that the German Federal Government’s
policies are geared towards the interests of both our country and Europe.
I would like to recall a leitmotif today, a mainspring of European integration, namely the freedom that opens the way for a life in peace
and prosperity. It is this freedom in all its facets – freedom of expression, of the media, belief and assembly – that we have to work
tirelessly to defend. Without freedom there can be no rule of law. Without freedom there can be no diversity and no tolerance. Freedom
is the foundation for the united and determined Europe.
Particularly in this major test that Europe faces today, the power of freedom can help us lead Europe out of the crisis stronger than
before. After all, the power of freedom, I am convinced, also gives us the courage to change. It is precisely this courage to change that
we now need to show to assert the European Union in the international race that is the 21st century.
On my trips outside the European Union, for example to Asia, I have in recent years got to know many dynamic, ambitious countries
that are very much on the rise. There, people look with keen interest to us, the European Union. But the people there often ask me with
some scepticism: will the European experiment weather the crisis?
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Press Release: Monitoring Body to the UN CRPD urges resolute amend the Disability Discrimination Laws
Berlin - the monitoring body for the UN Disability Convention recommends the revision of the Disability Discrimination Laws of the
Federation and the Länder. "If you want that people with equal rights with disabilities can perceive with others their human rights, is a
further development of equality legislation on the basis of the UN Disability Rights Convention unavoidable," Valentin Aichele, Head of
Monitoring Agency said the UN Disability Convention, on the publication of "proposals to reform the disability Discrimination law in the
federal and state ".
Partially an amendment to the law was even mandatory, for example regarding the protection against discrimination. It would have an
understanding of the concept of accessibility and disability progressed, and the participation of people with disabilities. "These human
rights principles should be just in the disability-specific regulation works carried necessarily bill," said Aichele.
The Monitoring Agency further proposes to enhance the role and ministry of Disabled Persons. This would allow officers to control the
implementation of the CRPD and professionally accompany better. The Disability Equality laws are the legal basis for the work of the
The monitoring body for the UN Disability Convention, established the independent German Institute for Human Rights in Berlin,
according to the UN CRPD the job of promoting the rights of persons with disabilities within the meaning of the Convention and to
protect as well as the implementation of the Convention in Germany monitored.
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Barriers to international law on freedom of Expression
22 October 2012
In the media discourse are violent riots in connection with publication tions through which to see some Muslims hurt their religious
feelings, always as- constructed as a result of these publications. A recent example was the reporting tion of violent demonstrations in -
the actual or alleged - in response to the YouTube film clip "Innocence of Muslims". It is also always in the media discourse legal
arguments endeavor. The relationship between the right to free speech and the legal protection of religious feelings is, however, in
national legal systems under- seen differently. Even within the Western community of values differ about the positions of the United
States and Germany on this point evident. Against this background, is the universal, ie the world, applicable international law, another
perspective on the Thematics open.
On a universal level, Article 19 protects the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the right on freedom of expression. The article
includes the freedom of thought "through any media spread and regardless of frontiers. " And it is not artistic expression treated
differently than any other kind of thought. Article 29 of the Universal Declaration, he- enables legal restrictions that the "respect for the
rights and freedoms of others" or "The just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society "to
serve. Central importance for the international Have the protection of freedom of expression in addition to Articles 19 and 20 of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). You define the content and limits of free expression realizable. Artworks
are also determined explicitly as a form of expression. The ICCPR binds the exercise of the right to freedom of expression on duties and
responsibilities tion. Freedom may be restricted by law, if necessary, to protect the rights or reputation of others, or to protect public
safety, order To preserve health or morality. In addition, Article 20 requires the ICCPR states, War propaganda and "any advocacy of
national, racial or religious hatred, by that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence "to prohibit by law. Concretized
such barriers are the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations (MRA). This monitors worldwide implementation of the ICCPR,
decides on in dividualbeschwerden and explained the ICCPR by General remarks ("General Comment "). The MRA was several times the
opportunity to be tension to express between freedom of expression and the protection of religious feelings and thereby Outline
guidelines for dealing with the problem at the national level.
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President since 23 March 2012