Last Updated: Friday, 15 December 2017, 16:28 GMT

World Report 2009 - Germany

Publisher Human Rights Watch
Publication Date 14 January 2009
Cite as Human Rights Watch, World Report 2009 - Germany, 14 January 2009, available at: [accessed 17 December 2017]
DisclaimerThis 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.

Events of 2008

The German Constitutional Court gave important rulings in February and March that laws relating to surveillance and the storing of internet and telephone data disproportionately restrict the right to privacy. Changes to the law governing Germany's federal criminal police operations adopted by the Bundestag (lower house) in November would allow investigators to use intrusive surveillance techniques on terrorism suspects based on generalized suspicion; the changes are pending before the Bundesrat (upper house) at this writing. Employment-based restrictions continue on teachers and other civil servants wearing the headscarf, despite concerns that the measures discriminate on the grounds of religion, with courts in three states upholding headscarf bans for teachers since December 2007.

The European Centre for Constitutional Rights, an NGO, filed a lawsuit against the German government at the Berlin Administrative Court in June for its failure to formally request the extradition of 13 CIA agents who had been charged in Germany for involvement in the kidnapping of Khaled el-Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese descent apprehended in Macedonia and flown to Afghanistan, where he was imprisoned for five months and tortured.

An attempt by Germany to extradite to Turkey Hassan Atmaca, a refugee suspected of links to the Kurdistan Workers Party, using diplomatic assurances, is subject to a pending appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. Challenges in German courts to deportation proceedings against two Tunisian national security suspects using assurances are pending at this writing.

Following an August review of Germany, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination noted an increase in reported racism-related incidents against members of the Jewish, Muslim, and Roma and Sinti communities, as well as German nationals of foreign origin and asylum seekers (in particular Africans), and called for "more resolute action" to prevent and punish the perpetrators. Germany is due to be reviewed under the Universal Periodic Review mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council in February 2009.

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