World Report 2013 - European Union: Germany
|Publisher||Human Rights Watch|
|Publication Date||31 January 2013|
|Cite as||Human Rights Watch, World Report 2013 - European Union: Germany, 31 January 2013, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/510fb4e923.html [accessed 23 April 2014]|
The Federal Constitutional Court ruled in July that asylum seekers and refugees should receive the same welfare benefits as German citizens, ordering retroactive payments starting from 2011 to approximately 130,000 people. The suicide of an asylum seeker in Würzburg in March launched a series of nationwide protests about conditions in reception centers, restrictions on freedom of movement, and obstacles to employment for asylum seekers.
German states, including Lower Saxony and Nordrhein-Westfalen, continued to deport Roma to Kosovo despite concerns about inadequate reception conditions, including problems accessing and integrating into the educational system.
Three senior intelligence officials resigned in July after repeated failures to correctly identify and investigate a neo-Nazi cell responsible for murdering nine immigrants and a policewoman. In October, a Frankfurt court upheld a 2002 ruling that awarded compensation to a man later convicted of murdering a child because a police officer had threatened violence during his interrogation.
At this writing, the lower house of parliament was examining two different bills to make racist motivation an aggravating circumstance during sentencing for criminal offenses, as well as a bill to introduce hate crimes as a specific category. In October, the Koblenz administrative appeals court ruled that it was unlawful and a violation of anti-discrimination law for German police to use racial profiling to conduct checks for irregular migrants, annulling an earlier February decision that had permitted the police tactic.
In September, the federal justice minister drafted legislation to clarify the legality of religiously motivated circumcisions, following a June Cologne court ruling that circumcising young boys amounted to criminal bodily harm. The ruling provoked considerable debate about freedom of religion and rights of the child.
The same month, Chancellor Angela Merkel called for greater tolerance towards Muslims.