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FREEDOM



United Nations Condemns Germany Again

[Picture]British Human Rights Leader Drafts Report: Directs German Officials to Change their Ways

 G
erman officials have again been condemned, in the latest report of the United Nations human rights committee—drafted by the committee’s Special Rapporteur for Germany, Lord Colville.

     The 18-member committee, arguably the most prestigious human rights body in the world, published its report in November.

     The report is the result of a United Nations review of Germany’s compliance with the International Covenant of Political and Civil Rights—on which Germany is a signatory—which is conducted every four years. The completion of the review signalled certain broad areas of serious concern in Germany, including police brutality; inadequate education of children on the evils of anti-Semitism and xenophobic attitudes; a too-narrow definition of “minority”; and infringement of freedom of religion.

     Discriminatory efforts to restrict the rights of members of religious minorities, such as the Church of Scientology, are cited as matters of “serious” concern.

     “The Committee is concerned that membership in certain religious sects as such may, in some [districts] of the State, disqualify individuals from obtaining government employment in the public service, which may in certain circumstances violate the rights guaranteed in Articles 18 and 25 of the Covenant,” says the Committee. “The Committee thus recommends the State party to discontinue the holding of ’sensitising’ sessions for judges against the practices of certain designated sects.”

     This report comes at a time of growing recognition that the sources of the intolerance—politicians like Bavarian Minister of the Interior Gunther Beckstein—never provide more than political rhetoric to explain their hate campaigns.

     And it is not the first time that the United Nations has issued an international warning about intolerance in Germany.

     Here in the U.K., none can stand truly “on the sidelines.” If you have heard something about this ongoing situation, you have likely noticed that some have already taken sides in a country which has a long tradition of neutrality.

     Given our equally traditional position of supporting democracy and human rights, the sensible stance is to encourage such qualities in Germany. As the United Nations has made clear, these traits are lacking in the German treatment of Scientology. Just as efforts to marginalise a religious or ethnic group would be detested here, they must also be detested in Germany.

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