Responses to allegations of ill-treatment remained inadequate. Several federal states continued to forcibly return Roma to Kosovo despite their need for international protection.
In February, the UN Special Rapporteur on racism recommended strengthening the mandate and increasing the resources of the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency; including an explicit reference to racism as an aggravating circumstance in the criminal code; developing specific training for police officers, prosecutors and judges on the identification of hate crimes; and adopting special measures to ensure adequate representation of people with a migration background in state institutions.Top of page
The authorities’ failure to ensure that allegations of human rights violations by the police were adequately investigated, insufficient information about procedures to file criminal complaints, and difficulties in the identification of police officers may have led to impunity for the perpetrators and jeopardized victims’ access to justice and redress.
Allegations of ill-treatment continued and independent police complaints bodies mandated to investigate allegations of human rights violations by law enforcement officials were not established. Only a few federal states provided information on their websites about how to complain about police misconduct.
Several federal states continued to forcibly return Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians to Kosovo despite the risk of persecution, and discrimination resulting in lack of access to education, health care, housing and social benefits on their return. However, North Rhine-Westphalia issued a decree on 21 September requiring an individual risk assessment to precede forcible returns of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians to Kosovo and on 1 December introduced a four-month moratorium on forced returns due to the cold of the Kosovan winter.
During the year, 55 asylum-seekers were transferred to Greece under the Dublin II Regulation, despite the lack of a functioning asylum system in that country. In several cases the Constitutional Court suspended transfers, pending a final decision.
On 15 July, the government informed the UN Secretary-General that it had withdrawn its reservations on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, insisting that no changes were required in its asylum legislation. As a result, children aged 16 and 17 continued to go through asylum procedures as adults, without the assistance of a guardian.
In February, a UN study on secret detention concluded that Germany was complicit in the secret detention of German-Syrian national Muhammad Zammar, who was unlawfully transferred to Syria in December 2001. Evidence before a parliamentary inquiry held from 2006 to 2009 confirmed that German agents had interrogated him in Syria in November 2002 and had also sent questions to the Syrian authorities for use in his interrogation. However, the June 2009 parliamentary inquiry report concluded that the German authorities were not complicit in any human rights violations related to this case. The authorities have since refused to commit to a new investigation into their role in renditions.
The government confirmed that it would continue to rely on “diplomatic assurances” to allegedly mitigate the danger of torture and other ill-treatment when returning people to their country of origin.