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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



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 to urgently overhaul the crucial operational and intelligence assistance they provide to the program. Amnesty International and others have documented cases, under successive US administrations, where …

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.

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.

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.

February 18, 2016 • Report

Amnesty International State of the World 2015-2016

International protection of human rights is in danger of unravelling as short-term national self-interest and draconian security crackdowns have led to a wholesale assault on basic freedoms and rights, warned Amnesty International as it launched its annual assessment of human rights around the world. “Your rights are in jeopardy: they are being treated with utter contempt by many governments around the world,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

February 18, 2016 • Press Release

Your rights in jeopardy, global assault on freedoms, warns Amnesty International

International protection of human rights is in danger of unravelling as short-term national self-interest and draconian security crackdowns have led to a wholesale assault on basic freedoms and rights, warned Amnesty International as it launched its annual assessment of human rights around the world. “Your rights are in jeopardy: they are being treated with utter contempt by many governments around the world,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

February 25, 2015 • Report

State of the World 2014/2015

This has been a devastating year for those seeking to stand up for human rights and for those caught up in the suffering of war zones. Governments pay lip service to the importance of protecting civilians. And yet the world's politicians have miserably failed to protect those in greatest need. Amnesty International believes that this can and must finally change.

May 20, 2013 • Report

Annual Report: Germany 2013

FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY Head of state Joachim Gauck (replaced Christian Wulff) Head of government Angela Merkel The authorities failed to establish an independent police complaints body and ensure that all police officers on duty wore identity badges. The National Agency for the Prevention of Torture remained severely under-resourced. The authorities continued to return Roma, …

December 13, 2012 • Press Release

Historic Ruling on Europe’s Role in CIA Renditions Is a Milestone in the Fight Against Impunity

Today’s ruling on the CIA’s detention and rendition of German national Khaled El-Masri is a historic moment and a milestone in the fight against impunity because for the first time it holds a European state accountable for its involvement in the secret U.S.-led programs, Amnesty International and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) said.

October 3, 2011 • Report

Campaign to silence Syrian protesters overseas revealed

Syrian protesters in Europe and the Americas have been systematically monitored and harassed by embassy officials and others believed to be acting on behalf of the Syrian regime, Amnesty International said today in a new briefing paper. The Long Reach of the Mukhabaraat includes cases of more than 30 activists in eight countries – Canada, …