1. The Committee considered the fourth periodic report
of Germany (CCPR/C/84/Add.5) at its 1551st to 1553rd meetings, held
on 4 and 5 November 1996 (CCPR/C/SR.1551-1553), and adopted at its 1558th
meeting, held on 7 November 1996 the following observations:
2. The Committee welcomes the presence of a high level
delegation. It expresses its appreciation for the quality of the report,
and the detailed, frank and competent manner in which the delegation
answered written and oral questions. The Committee notes with satisfaction
that this information enabled it to engage in a highly constructive
and fruitful dialogue with the State party.
B. Factors and difficulties impeding the implementation of the Covenant
3. The Committee notes that the process of reunification
of Germany has posed particular problems for the uniform application
of the Covenant throughout the territory of Germany. The extension of
the political, economic, and social system of the western part of the
State to the territory of the former German Democratic Republic (GDR)
has posed novel, difficult and sensitive questions.
C. Positive aspects
4. The committee welcomes the fact that the reunification
of Germany has enabled people of the former GDR to enjoy many of the
rights and freedoms protected by the Covenant which were formerly denied
5. The Committee notes with satisfaction that Germany
has acceded to both Optional Protocols to the Covenant.
6. The Committee greatly appreciates the role of the Federal
Constitutional Court's role in protecting individuals against the violation
of their rights as established by the Basic Law and ensuring conformity
of legislation with the Basic Law.
7. The Committee welcomes the adoption of the Second Equal
Treatment Act to advance the interests of women in the federal public
administration, and the modification of the EC adaption law to ensure
that the ban on discrimination is more effectively applied.
8. The Committee appreciates the measures adopted for
granting compensation and providing rehabilitation to those who suffered
injustice at the hands of the Socialist Unity Party (SED) regime in
the former GDR.
9. The Committee welcomes the efforts made by the State
party to counter racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia, though it regrets
that this phenomenon is still persisting.
10. The Committee appreciates that Germany has provided
temporary residence to a very large number of refugees from Bosnia and
Herzegovina. The Committee welcomes the assurance given by the delegation
that the return of these refugees will be primarily through voluntary
repatriation and if any involuntary repatriation is made, it will be
only in coordination with the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina and
the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and
will be subject to challenge by judicial review. The Committee appreciates
the assurance that no repatriation will take place to minority areas
in Bosnia and Herzegovina or to majority areas which are not considered
D. Principal subjects of concern and suggestions and recommendations
11. The Committee expresses its concern that there exist
instances of ill-treatment of persons by the police, including foreigners
and particularly members of ethnic minorities and asylum seekers. In
this regard, it is concerned that there is no truly independent mechanism
for investigating complaints of ill-treatment by the police. The Committee
therefore recommends the establishment of independent bodies throughout
the territory of the State party for the investigation of complaints
of ill-treatment by the police.
12. Though the Committee finds that programmes of education
of young people and training of police officers concerning racism, anti-Semitism
and xenophobic attitudes have been started, it regrets that broader
educational and training programmes in human rights values does not
appear to have received the same level of support. The Committee also
expresses its concern that despite significant efforts by the Government,
racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism still persist among certain segments
of the population. The Committee thus recommends that efforts to educate
the youth and train the police that racism and xenophobia are violative
of basic human dignity, contrary to fundamental values and constitutionally
and legally impermissible, should be intensified and urges that such
education and training should be placed in the wider context of human
rights education and training. The Committee urges the Federal and Länder
Governments to introduce courses in human rights in school, colleges
and universities and also in police and defence academies with a view
to strengthening a culture of human rights.
13. The Committee is concerned that the definition of
minorities as "ethnic or linguistic groups who have a traditional area
of settlement in particular regions", as stated in paragraph 244 of
the report, is much too restrictive in terms of article 27 of the Covenant.
The Committee is of the view that article 27 applies to all persons
belonging to minorities whether linguistic, religious, ethnic or otherwise
including those who are not concentrated or settled in a particular
area or a particular region or who are immigrants or who have been given
asylum in Germany.
14. The Committee regrets that Germany has made a reservation
excluding the competence of the Committee under the Optional Protocol
with regard to violation of rights as protected by article 26 of the
15. The Committee expresses its concern that solitary
confinement can be imposed for a period of up to three months and can
be further extended by court order.
16. The Committee is concerned that membership in certain
religious sects as such may in some Länder of the State party disqualify
individuals from obtaining employment in the public service, which may
in certain circumstances, violate the rights guaranteed in articles
18 and 25 of the Covenant. The Committee also recommends the State party
to discontinue the holding of "sensitizing" sessions for judges against
the practices of certain designated sects.
17. The Committee expresses its concern that the criteria
used to evaluate for retaining or dismissing former GDR public servants,
including judges and teachers, are vague and leave open the possibility
for deprivation of employment on the basis of political opinions held
or expressed. The Committee therefore suggests that the criteria for
dismissing public servants of the former GDR be made more precise so
that no public servant will be dismissed on the ground of political
opinion held or expressed by him or her.
18. The Committee is concerned that there is an absolute
ban on strikes by public servants who are not exercising authority in
the name of the State and are not engaged in essential services, which
may violate article 22 of the Covenant.
19. The Committee is concerned that the State party has
not provided information in respect of the right to form and join trade
unions (art. 22 of the Covenant) or on aspects of the rights of children
(art. 24 of the Covenant) on the ground that information had been provided
to another treaty body. In this regard, the Committee reminds the State
party that reports under article 40 of the Covenant should provide information
in respect of all Covenant rights.