KOK News

Human Rights Report Germany 2021

On 9 December 2021, the German Institute for Human Rights presented its sixth report to the Bundestag on the development of the human rights situation in Germany. In accordance with the Act on the Legal Status and Tasks of the German Institute for Human Rights (DIMRG), the Institute has submitted such a report to the German Bundestag annually since 2016.

Human Rights Report Germany 2021

The report covers the period from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021 and, on the one hand, presents developments in thematic areas of human rights relevance and, on the other hand, assesses important political and legislative measures from a human rights perspective and formulates recommendations. The report focuses on socio-legal challenges in the context of the Corona pandemic, but also on racism and right-wing extremism, family reunification of refugees, children's rights and human rights due diligence in supply chains, among others.

With regard to the approval of family reunification for refugees recognised in Germany and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection, the report identifies persistent legal and practical hurdles and problems. Although the right to a family is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and applications for family reunification by minors entitled to protection are to be processed expeditiously in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (Art. 10 UNCRC), in practice they are often rejected. The reunification of parents often fails due to lengthy and complicated visa procedures. The reunification of siblings with unaccompanied minor refugees is practically impossible. The report also criticises the quota of 1,000 visas per month for family reunification with beneficiaries of subsidiary protection, which has never been exhausted since its introduction in 2018.

Therefore, the Institute recommends lifting the quota of visas for family reunification with beneficiaries of subsidiary protection and regulating sibling reunification explicitly and comparable to parental reunification, specifically waiving the housing requirement and securing livelihoods in order to reduce the hurdles to family reunification.

Although forced labour is prohibited, according to the report, adults and children in the modern business world still have to work under partly exploitative and health-endangering conditions. Human rights are also violated in global supply and value chains for the German market. In addition to a consistent development policy geared towards children's rights, the report also calls for companies to be held more accountable. 

In its assessment, the report also points out that policy-makers need a nuanced view in order to identify the need for human rights action and to develop targeted measures. The perspectives and expertise of those affected are particularly important for this. Giving them space in the political discourse, especially in parliament, and dealing with them carefully is an imperative of human rights and political wisdom.

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