Amnesty International Report 2006 - Germany
|Publication Date||23 May 2006|
|Cite as||Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 2006 - Germany, 23 May 2006, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/447ff7a43e.html [accessed 25 May 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
In breach of the absolute ban on torture under international human rights law, a court ruled that evidence that could have been extracted under torture or ill-treatment was admissible in legal proceedings.
On 14 June the Hamburg Supreme Court ruled that evidence possibly obtained under torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment was admissible in legal proceedings, a ruling that breached international human rights law. In the retrial of Mounir al-Motassadeq, who stood accused of membership of a "terrorist group" and aiding the attacks in the USA on 11 September 2001, the court accepted statements as evidence that had been provided by US authorities. The court argued that it could not be proven that the statements were obtained through torture or other ill-treatment, apparently ignoring the widespread evidence of torture and other ill-treatment in the network of detention centres around the world used by US authorities to hold terror suspects. The statements reportedly comprised summaries of interrogations of three people held by US authorities – Ramzi Binalshibh, Mohamed Ould Slahi and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
In November, 13 of the 16 Länder (regional states) agreed to the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture, while Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony), Sachsen (Saxony) and Sachsen-Anhalt (Saxony-Anhalt) refused to give their required approval.
Public debate continued on whether there are circumstances, including the threat of terrorism, that justify the use of torture by law enforcement officials.
Refugees at risk
The Federal Agency for Migration and Refugees continued to withdraw refugee status from individuals, in particular refugees from Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo. When considering withdrawal of refugee status, the Agency looked only at whether the situation in the country of origin had changed. It did not consider, as required by the UN Refugee Convention, issues such as whether the authorities in the country of origin could offer the returning refugees effective protection. After refugee status had been withdrawn, the residence permits of the individuals concerned were often cancelled, putting them at risk of deportation to their country of origin.
This policy began in 2004, when up to 16,800 refugees had their status withdrawn. In the first half of 2005, some 5,897 refugees lost their status, a slight drop on the rate of the previous year, but 7,346 cases were pending. In November the policy was confirmed by a Federal Administration Court decision.
The German authorities continued to deport foreigners to countries where the human rights situation was extremely fragile. The German Aliens Act allows authorities to stop deportations to certain countries or regions if the human rights situation is generally insecure. However, this provision was rarely implemented. There were deportations to places such as Afghanistan, Chechnya and Togo as well as deportations of members of ethnic minorities to Kosovo.
According to official statistics, the number of xenophobic and racist acts of violence continued to be high.
Anti-discrimination legislation passed by the Federal Parliament (Bundestag) on 17 June was rejected by the Federal Council (Bundesrat). The legislation was intended to incorporate European Union anti-discrimination guidelines into German law, the deadline for which was in 2003.