,,Human rights world wide"

BERLIN |

BERLIN The Director of the German Institute for Human Rights has been forced to resign because he has been rather too active in defence of human rights in Germany - instead of providing useful material for Berlin's ,,ethically"based Foreign Policy. Other German human rights organisations meanwhile express ever sharper criticism of the abuse of basic human rights in Germany.

The German Institute for Human Rights was founded in March 2001 on the recommendation of the German Parliament which was falling in line with a demand of the United Nations of its members to set up independent national organisations to promote and protect human rights. According to Resolution 48/134 of the UN General Assembly of 1993 these organisations should concern themselves primarily with specific human rights situations in their own countries. The ,,independent"German Institute is financed by the German Ministry of Justice, the Foreign Office and the Ministry for Economic Cooperation. Its management board includes apart from representatives of these Government departments, MPs from the ruling coalition, the Berlin Human Rights coordinator Claudia Roth and the Chairman of the Heinrich Boell Foundation 1)(closely associated with the Green Party) Barbara Unmuessig.

,,International Debate..."

After serious disagreements with members of the management board the Director of the Institute, MacLean was forced to resign in January this year. MacLean had put special emphasis on the observance of human rights in Germany itself and had criticised serious problems particularly in Asylum and Social policy. He had demanded that Berlin should give up its reservations about the UN's convention on children's rights. Unmuessig had attacked MacLean for concentrating too much on the realisation of individual rights in Germany. The management board put more emphasis on the ,,observation and monitoring of the international debate"on human rights. MacLean has now demanded Unmuessig's resignation.

... instead of ratifying Conventions

While Berlin's Foreign Policy demands ,,the world wide realisation and securing of the full breadth of civil, political, economic, social and cultural human rights" 2)the Government comes under ever sharper criticism for the situation inside Germany. The German Government continues to refuse to put an EU directive on the prevention of racial discrimination into German Law and continues to have ,,reservations"about the UN convention on children's rights. Prominent politicians and jurists have in recent months even called in certain cases for the use of torture.

1) See earlier article ,,The Most Effective Instruments of German Foreign Policy"
2) Grundsaetze und Ziele der deutschen Menschenrechtspolitik; www.auswaertiges-amt.de

Sources:
Beitrag des Direktors des Deutschen Instituts für Menschenrechte, Percy MacLean, zum Tag der Menschenrechte; www.institut-fuer-menschenrechte.de 10.12.2002
Wenn einer zu viel Staub aufwirbelt. Das deutsche Institut für Menschrechte muss sich einen neuen Direktor suchen; Stuttgarter Zeitung 20.01.2003
Schreiben des Bundesfachausschusses der Richterinnen und Richter, Staatsanwaeltinnen und Staatsanwaelte in der Gewerkschaft ver.di an die Mitglieder des Kuratoriums des Deutschen Instituts für Menschenrechte; Berlin 24.02.2003
Alter Streit, neuer Chef. Wie unabhaengig ist das deutsche Menschenrechtsinstitut?; Tagesspiegel 02.08.2003