2. The Committee
welcomes the submission of the third periodic report, the first report
on the rights protected under the Covenant since the reunification
of Germany in October 1990. The report was submitted in general conformity
with the guidelines established by the Committee.
3. It notes
with appreciation that the report was presented by a high-level delegation,
which entertained an open and straightforward dialogue with the members
of the Committee. The delegation pointed out at the outset that the
new Government of Chancellor Schröder had a different agenda from
that of the former Government on a wide range of socio-economic issues,
and that it accorded high priority to job creation.
4. The Committee
notes that the report was prepared without the involvement of non-governmental
organizations. Their contributions were nevertheless valuable to the
Committee for the consideration of the State Party's report.
5. The Committee
notes that some of the replies given to questions raised in the following
areas lacked precision and detail:
in the new Länder;
of civil servants and professionals who were dismissed from their
posts in East Germany after the reunification of Germany;
of poverty-stricken people and social security recipients;
victims, the exploitation of women and child abuse;
B. Positive aspects
6. The Committee
welcomes the very positive attitude demonstrated by the delegation
in its introductory statements, which, together with the policy statement
made by the new Chancellor, on 10 November 1998, leads the Committee
to believe that the new Government intends to give added impetus to
the implementation of economic, social and cultural rights.
7. In this
connection, a visible shift in policy, reflected in the new policy
statement, could lead to the progressive realization of economic,
social and cultural rights to a fuller extent and could reduce the
still-existing economic gap between the old and new Länder, to the
particular benefit of the new Länder.
8. The Committee
notes with satisfaction that this policy will encompass:
and training programmes to assist young people in general and young
women in particular in finding employment, especially in the new Länder;
of the law on nationality to allow for dual nationality;
of an action plan aimed at ensuring equal opportunities to women at
of the Gender Equality Act;
of school and child-care systems that reflect the needs of family
of bills aimed at eliminating discrimination based on ethnic origin
and at prosecuting Germans for child sexual abuse they commit abroad;
of the pension system based on the national insurance scheme, company
pension schemes, a private pension scheme;
of employees in their companies' productive capital and profits;
of protective measures against dismissals, as well as the payment
of sickness allowances.
9. The Committee
notes the creation of the post of Minister of State for Cultural Affairs,
who will be responsible for implementing the federal cultural policy
and for liaising with the Länder. In this connection, it notes with
satisfaction that cooperation with churches and religious communities
will be part of that policy, which is intended to enhance the dialogue
between different religious communities and to reduce racial hatred
10. The Committee
takes note of the State Party's intention to establish an independent
parliamentary human rights commission and to create a "human rights
post" within the Foreign Ministry.
11. The Committee
welcomes the fact that the State Party is open-minded concerning the
elaboration of an optional protocol.
and difficulties impeding the implementation of the Covenant
12. The integration of East and West Germany remains only partly accomplished,
despite determined efforts to realize this objective. This lack of
full integration presents an obstacle to the full implementation of
the Covenant by the State Party.
subjects of concern
13. The Committee
expresses its concern about the status of the Covenant within the
domestic legal system of Germany and at the lack of court decisions
on the application of the Covenant.
14. The Committee
notes that unemployment is still particularly high in Germany and
that it is twice as high in the East as in the West. In this connection,
the Committee notes with regret that women and foreigners are most
affected by this high level of unemployment.
15. The Committee
also notes that no poverty line or threshold has yet been established.
Nor has the delegation of the State Party provided information about
people affected by poverty.
16. The Committee
also notes with alarm that only 12 per cent of public servants in
the science and technology sector of the former German Democratic
Republic, including teachers, scientists and professionals, have been
re-employed and that the rest remain without employment or adequate
compensation or a satisfactory pension plan. The Committee fears that
the majority of the affected people may have been dismissed from their
positions for political rather than for professional or economic reasons,
in violation of article 2.2 of the Covenant. It is noted in this connection
that the issue of discrimination in the employment of teachers in
the new Länder was raised in 1993 by the ILO Committee of Experts
on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations. Similar concerns
have been raised by German non-governmental organizations.
17. The Committee
is also concerned about the status of asylum seekers in Germany, especially
with regard to the length of time taken to process their application
for refugee status and with regard to their economic and health rights
pending the final decision.
18. The Committee
is further concerned about the plight of the Sinti and Roma (Gypsies)
in Germany and about their enjoyment of their rights to housing, education
and employment. The continued discrimination against the Gypsies calls
for immediate remedial policies and measures.
19. The Committee
notes that, with few exceptions civil servants in Germany do not enjoy
the right to strike, which constitutes a violation of article 8.2
of the Covenant.
20. The Committee
is particularly concerned about violence against women, especially
those who fall victim to marriage trafficking, trafficking for prostitution
and exploitation. Statistics are lacking on the number of persons
21. The Committee
is alarmed at the continued abuse of children and their sexual exploitation.
Widespread pornography is of particular concern as it seems to be
linked with the exploitation of children and women.
22. The Committee
notes with concern that tuition fees for university education are
increasing, despite the fact that article 13 of the Covenant calls
for the progressive introduction of free higher education.
23. The alarming
number of persons affected by HIV/AIDS in the territory of the State
Party also causes concern to the Committee. Lack of statistics on
the subject, especially with regard to the most vulnerable groups
of people residing in Germany, is of special concern.
24. The Committee
also expresses its concern about the plight of homeless people, the
actual number of whom is still unknown, as well as about the plight
of squatters in many parts of the country, especially in the new Länder.
25. The Committee
recommends that the State Party give more prominence to the rights
recognized in the Covenant whether by legislative or by judicial means
and/or practices. The policy statement of the new Chancellor presents
the hope that economic, social and cultural rights will be elevated
to new heights. The Committee recommends, therefore, that this new
policy be translated into deeds as soon as possible.
26. The Committee
requests the State Party to provide in its next report more precise
statistics and data regarding unemployment, especially in the new
Länder, and the number and situation of poverty-stricken people and
social security recipients.
27. The Committee
strongly recommends that the State Party promote discussion within
German society on social indicators or bench marks for the implementation
of the Covenant. It also encourages the Government to continue to
support the dialogue on the elaboration of an optional protocol to
the Covenant in order to lend greater support to the realization of
economic, social and cultural rights.
28. The Committee
requests the State Party to take immediate measures, legislative or
otherwise, to address and redress the situation of the various categories
of asylum seekers, in accordance with General Comment No. 4 of the
Committee. It also suggests that the applications of asylum seekers
be processed expeditiously and that refugees be accorded health, economic
and educational rights in accordance with the Covenant.
29. The Committee
urges the State Party to implement the various educational programmes
for young people and other vulnerable groups, especially those intended
to create employment and to improve the level of employment in East
plans and social security benefits need thorough revision to ensure
gender equality and fairness among all eligible beneficiaries in all
the Länder, in the East and in the West.
31. The Committee
recommends that civil servants not involved in essential services
be accorded the right to strike.
32. The Committee
calls on the State Party to take affirmative and effective measures
against trafficking in women and their exploitation for whatever purpose.
33. The Committee
also calls on the State Party to take effective measures to regulate
child labour, in compliance with the Covenant and the relevant ILO
34. The Committee
further calls on the State Party to make increased efforts to prevent
child abuse, child exploitation and child pornography.
35. The Committee
urges the State Party to provide more adequate assistance to persons
within HIV/AIDS, without any discrimination on the basis of race,
origin, nationality or gender.
36. As an
act of national reconciliation, the Committee calls on the State Party
to ensure that compensation will be provided to civil servants, professionals
and scientists associated with the old regime in the former German
Democratic Republic and to ensure that such compensation is both adequate
37. The Committee
recommends that the State Party avoid increases in university tuition
fees, in compliance with article 13 of the Covenant.
38. The Committee
urges the State Party to accelerate the integration of East and West
Germany on all fronts, with a view to reducing the gap that may still
exist between them.
39. The Committee
requests the State Party to disseminate widely its concluding observations
at all levels of society and to inform the Committee of steps taken
for their implementation. It also urges the Government to consult
with non-governmental organizations in the preparation of its fourth
periodic report, as German non-governmental organizations have made
a valuable contribution to making the Committee's dialogue with the
State Party delegation a more fruitful and significant one.