Germany Human Rights

Refugees and asylum-seekers

The number of rejected asylum-seekers forcibly returned to Syria increased considerably after a German-Syrian re-admission agreement came into force in January. Following reports of returned Syrian asylum-seekers being detained, the government ordered a risk assessment re-evaluation and recommended a de facto moratorium on deportations to Syria in mid-December.

Khaled Kenjo, a deported Syrian Kurd, was detained 12 days after his arrival in Syria by the State Security, a Syrian secret service agency, on 13 September. After three weeks of incommunicado detention, during which he said he was tortured, Khaled Kenjo was charged with broadcasting "false" news abroad that could damage the reputation of the state. This charge by the Military Court in Qamishli was allegedly related to his political activities in Germany.

The government negotiated a re-admission agreement with Kosovo. Several federal states forcibly returned Roma to Kosovo despite the risks faced by Roma in cases of enforced return. In November, the Council of Europe Commissioner of Human Rights expressed concern at this practice.

Migrants' rights

Irregular migrants and their children had limited access to health care, education, and judicial remedies in cases of labour rights violations. Hesse Federal State was due to change its administrative practice on 1 January 2010 so that head teachers would no longer be required to report the identity of a child to the Aliens' Authority, where foreign nationals are required to register. The new regulatory rules governing the Aliens Act state that public hospitals are exempt from reporting the identity of irregular migrants in cases of emergency treatment.

Police and security forces

In December, the Federal Court of Justice held a public hearing on Oury Jalloh, who died in police custody in 2005 from heat shock caused by a fire in his cell. At the hearing, the Court criticized the investigations. The relatives of Oury Jalloh and the Public Prosecution Office lodged an appeal against the judgement of the Dessau Regional Court which had acquitted two police officers.

In May, the Federal Agency for the Prevention of Torture started its work, under Article 3 of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture. Concerns were raised that it lacked sufficient financial and human resources.

National scrutiny – Kunduz

The government and military came under pressure from the media and opposition parties following the general election for withholding information about a NATO airstrike near Kunduz, Afghanistan, on 4 September. Up to 142 people, including civilians, were killed (see Afghanistan entry). Consequently, three senior government and military officials were forced to resign in November. On 16 December, a parliamentary inquiry began its examination of the government's handling of the attack and its aftermath.

Economic relations and human rights

In July, the government withdrew the export credit guarantee that it had granted to a German company for its activity in the Il?su dam project in Turkey. The decision to withdraw was jointly taken with the Swiss and Austrian governments after independent experts concluded that the project would not meet agreed standards. The construction of the dam was expected to displace at least 55,000 people, and the resettlement policy did not meet international human rights standards.

Germany Newsroom

February 23, 2021 • Report

Vietnamese Activists Targeted by Notorious Hacking Group

Hacking group Ocean Lotus, which has been suspected of having links with the Vietnamese government, is behind a sustained campaign of spyware attacks on the country’s human rights activists, a new investigation by Amnesty Tech reveals, underscoring an intensifying assault on freedom of expression.

February 19, 2021 • Press Release

G7 Leaders Are Shooting Themselves in the Foot by Failing to Tackle Global Vaccine Access

Ahead of the virtual meeting of G7 leaders hosted by the UK government on Friday, February 19, Amnesty International has warned that failure to ensure global access to vaccines represents an abject moral failure that will ultimately harm rich countries.

April 22, 2020 • Press Release

Torture Trial in Germany a ‘Historic Step’ Towards Justice in Syria

The first trial of two former officials of the Syrian government’s security service charged with crimes against humanity marks an important step towards justice, Amnesty International said.

December 9, 2019 • Press Release

Generation Z Ranks Climate Change Highest as Vital Issue of our Time in Amnesty International Survey

Climate change leads as one of the most important issues facing the world, according to a major new survey of young people published by Amnesty International today to mark Human Rights Day.

June 7, 2019 • Press Release

Climate activists Greta Thunberg and the Fridays for Future movement honored with top Amnesty International award

Climate change activist Greta Thunberg and the Fridays for Future movement of school-children have been honored with Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2019, the human rights organization announced …

February 5, 2019 • Press Release

Yemen: UAE recklessly supplying militias with windfall of Western arms

An open source investigation published by Amnesty International today highlights a growing danger in Yemen’s conflict as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) recklessly arms militias with a range of advanced …

April 18, 2018 • Report

Trump threat puts European role in lethal US drone strikes under new scrutiny

As the Trump administration prepares to further expand the US’s lethal drone program, increasing the risk of civilian casualties and unlawful killings, Amnesty International is calling on four European countries …

June 8, 2016 • Report

Living in Insecurity: How Germany is Failing Victims of Racist Violence

Failed responses to the sharp increase in hate crimes across Germany – including attacks on shelters for asylum-seekers – expose the need to urgently step up protection and launch an independent inquiry into possible bias within the country’s law enforcement agencies, said Amnesty International in a report released today.

June 8, 2016 • Press Release

Germany failing to tackle rise in hate crime

Failed responses to the sharp increase in hate crimes across Germany – including attacks on shelters for asylum-seekers – expose the need to urgently step up protection and launch an independent inquiry into possible bias within the country’s law enforcement agencies, said Amnesty International in a report released today.

February 22, 2016 • Press Release

Amnesty International’s Annual State of the World Report Slams Governments, Including the U.S., for Global Assault on Freedoms

On the launch of its 2015 State of the World report, Amnesty International USA urged President Obama to use his last year in office to bring U.S. laws and policies in line with international human rights standards.