Ambassador Joachim Rücker, Germany’s permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, was elected as president of the Human Rights Council for the 2015 cycle. Germany has a very strong record in supporting the Council’s action on country situations, but should demonstrate greater leadership in mobilizing others to take up new situations.

Voting Record in 2016

Voting Record in 2015

2014 Analysis

Germany supported all country-specific resolutions put to a vote under the Council’s agenda items 2, 4 and 10 on Syria, Sri Lanka, North Korea, Iran, Ukraine and Belarus, as well as the joint statements on the situations in Bahrain and Egypt. Along with the rest of the EU, Germany voted in favor of four of the six resolutions focusing on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories (OPT). Regrettably, it abstained on the resolution voted on during the Council’s July 2014 special session on Israeli military operations in Gaza.

Germany is among the members of the Council that co-sponsored the highest number of country resolutions in 2014 – all under agenda Items 2, 4 and 10. Germany also intervened in most of the country-specific debates of the Council. Moreover, it signed the calls to convene the special sessions on the Central African Republic and on Iraq.

Although Germany is one of the strongest supporters for Council action on country situations, it fell short of taking a leadership role to ensure that the Council addresses new emerging or chronic situations of abuses. Germany should consolidate its engagement by assuming a greater leadership role in mobilizing action on situations that are not yet addressed by the Council.

Voting record in 2014

Support for key joint statements in 2014

2013 Analysis

Germany voted in favor of all country resolutions put to the vote under agenda items 2, 4 and 10, and signed onto all the key joint statements that were delivered on country situations. In 2013 Germany co-sponsored 19 country-specific resolutions under item 2, and 10.

Germany voted in favor of all the resolutions focusing on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories, except the resolution on the human rights situation in the occupied Syrian Golan on which it abstained.

Germany participated actively in many of the country specific-debates held at the Council. In a speech to the Council in February 2013, German President Joachim Gauck encouraged the members of the Council to live up to their mission by stating:

“The international community has entrusted you with the protection of the greatest good known to mankind, a good that is susceptible to injury. You have been charged to act, and act you must on behalf of all humanity, if states do not live up to their human rights commitments and their duty to protect their citizens.[1]

The German president's call should inspire Germany to go one step further in order to play a more active role in leading initiatives to ensure the Council engages on serious human rights situations it currently overlooks.

[1] Speech by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, H.E. Joachim Gauk at the High Level Segment of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, 25 February 2013.

Voting record in 2013

Support for key joint statements in 2013