Germany (CCPR 30 November 2021)
The Committee considered the seventh periodic report of Germany at its 3801st and
3802nd meetings,2 held on 11 and 12 October 2021, in hybrid format owing to restrictions imposed in connection with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. At its 3828th meeting, held on 1 November 2021, it adopted the present concluding observations.
Concluding observations on the seventh periodic report of
C. Principal subjects of concern and recommendations
Hate speech and hate crimes
- The Committee welcomes the information provided by the State party about highlevel political commitment to addressing hate speech and hate crimes, including the formation of a Cabinet committee to combat right-wing extremism and racism and the Federal Government’s strategy to prevent extremism and promote democracy. Nevertheless, it remains concerned about continuing reports of hate speech, including verbal attacks, online hatred and hate speech in the context of political discourse, as well as about reports of a range of hate crimes, including violent attacks and the desecration of religious sites, committed against people of African descent, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons, Sinti and Roma persons, Muslims, persons of Jewish faith, refugees and migrants. It is also concerned by the State party’s statement that it is not considering legal amendments to remove the requirement to disturb public peace from the definition of incitement to hatred (arts. 2, 19–20 and 26).
- Recalling the Committee’s previous recommendation,8 the State party should:
(a) Improve data collection on online and offline hate speech and take effective measures to prevent and punish these phenomena;
(b) Consider legal amendments to remove the requirement to disturb public peace from the definition of incitement to hatred;
(c) Strengthen awareness-raising efforts aimed at promoting respect for human rights and tolerance for diversity, revisiting and eradicating stereotypical prejudices;
(d) Encourage reporting of hate crimes and ensure that all hate crimes are thoroughly investigated, that perpetrators are prosecuted and punished and that victims are provided with effective remedies;
(e) Reinforce cooperation among relevant stakeholders, including civil society, and provide adequate training to central and local authorities, law enforcement officials, judges and prosecutors on addressing hate speech and hate crimes and to media workers on promoting acceptance of diversity.
- The Committee is concerned about reports that intersex children have sometimes been subjected to invasive, medically unnecessary and irreversible medical procedures aimed at assigning them a sex. It is also concerned that such actions are often based on a stereotyped vision of gender roles, involve humiliating and painful procedures and are carried out before the affected persons are of an age to give their free and informed consent. It is further concerned that victims of such practices face significant barriers to accessing remedies, despite suffering lasting physical and psychological harm, including owing to statutes of limitations impeding child victims from seeking redress when they are adults, difficulties accessing health records and compensation not being available. The Committee commends the State party for introducing the Law on the Protection of Children with Variations in Sex Development in 2021. It nevertheless remains concerned by reports that the Law does not specifically restrict all problematic practices, establish criminal liability or effectively address all barriers to access to remedies for victims (arts. 2–3, 7, 17, 24 and 26).
- The State party should take all steps necessary to ensure that all acts relating to the assignment of a sex to intersex children performed without their free and informed consent are specifically prohibited, except in cases where such interventions are absolutely necessary for medical reasons and the best interests of the child have been duly taken into account. This should include the consideration of amendments to the Law on the Protection of Children with Variations in Sex Development of 2021 within the five-year period allocated for its review, if necessary. The State party should also ensure that all victims have access to remedies, including through a revision of the application of statutes of limitation for violations in childhood, taking steps to ensure that all victims have access to their health records and considering the establishment of a dedicated compensation fund.
D. Dissemination and follow-up
- The State party should widely disseminate the Covenant, its seventh periodic report and the present concluding observations with a view to raising the awareness of the rights enshrined in the Covenant among the judicial, legislative and administrative authorities, civil society and non-governmental organizations operating in the country, and the general public. The State party should ensure that the report and the present concluding observations are translated into the official language of the State party.
- In accordance with rule 75, paragraph 1, of the Committee’s rules of procedure, the State party is requested to provide, by 5 November 2024, information on the implementation of the recommendations made by the Committee in paragraphs 21 (intersex persons), 31 (institutional care) and 43 (right to privacy) above.
- In line with the Committee’s predictable review cycle, the State party will receive in 2027 the Committee’s list of issues prior to the submission of the report and will be expected to submit within one year its replies to the list of issues, which will constitute its eighth periodic report. The Committee also requests the State party, in preparing the report, to broadly consult civil society and non-governmental organizations operating in the country. In accordance with General Assembly resolution 68/268, the word limit for the report is 21,200 words. The next constructive dialogue with the State party will take place in 2029 in Geneva.