World Report 2010 - Germany
|Publisher||Human Rights Watch|
|Publication Date||20 January 2010|
|Cite as||Human Rights Watch, World Report 2010 - Germany, 20 January 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4b586cf2c.html [accessed 26 December 2014]|
Events of 2009
Angela Merkel was reelected chancellor in September elections that gave her center-right Christian Democratic Union and its new coalition partner the Free Democrats a majority in parliament.
A special parliamentary inquiry concluded in June that German authorities and intelligence agencies had no responsibility for the renditions by the United States and subsequent ill-treatment of Khaled el Masri, Murat Kurnaz, and Mohammad Zammar. A dissenting minority argued the federal government obstructed the investigation. The Constitutional Court ruled in July that the government, in having restricted the evidence it provided to the inquiry committee without giving sufficient justifications, had breached the constitution.
The federal government adopted new administrative regulations in September governing the Residence Act, endorsing the use of diplomatic assurances to deport individuals to countries where they face the risk of torture or ill-treatment. German courts have nonetheless struck down the use of such assurances, including in two cases in January and March.
The UN Human Rights Council under the Universal Periodic Review in March and the UN special rapporteur on racism in July drew attention to continuing problems of racism, xenophobia, and discrimination in Germany. Discrimination against migrants in housing and employment were identified as key concerns, with the special rapporteur on racism expressing his concern about overrepresentation of children with a migrant background in the lowest stratum of Germany's three-tiered education system.
A pregnant woman was stabbed to death and her husband seriously injured in a Dresden courtroom in July by the man she had successfully sued for calling her a "terrorist" and an "Islamist." The deceased, Marwa el-Sherbini, a German resident of Egyptian nationality, wore a headscarf. Her killer was sentenced in November to life in prison for murder, attempted murder, and grievous bodily harm; the prosecutor's office had cited hatred of non-Europeans and Muslims as the motive. The German Office for the Protection of the Constitution reported in May that right-wing extremist crimes rose significantly in 2008.
The UN special rapporteur on racism noted that bans on the wearing of religious symbols by public school teachers in some German states had a disproportionate impact on Muslim women who wear the headscarf. In August the Federal Labor Court ruled against a North Rhine-Westphalia educational social worker who had substituted her headscarf with a pink beret. The Court ruled the beret demonstrated the social worker's religious faith in contravention of North Rhine-Westphalia's 2006 law prohibiting teachers from wearing religious clothes and symbols in public schools.