The Human Truth Foundation

Human Rights and Freedom in Germany

By Vexen Crabtree 2018


#equality #eu #freedom #Germany #human_rights #iraq #politics #syria #tolerance

Federal Republic of Germany

[Country Profile Page]
StatusIndependent State
Land Area 348 570km21
Population82.0m (2011)2
Life Expectancy81.09yrs (2017)3
GNI$45 000 (2017)4
ISO3166-1 CodesDE, DEU, 2765
Internet Domain.de6
CurrencyEuro (EUR)7

When it comes to ensuring human rights and freedom, Germany leads the world, setting excellent examples. Germany does the best in according to commentary from Human Rights Watch9. It does the second-best in its nominal commitment to Human Rights10. It comes in the top 20 in opposing gender inequality11, fighting corruption12, the year from which women could participate in democracy13, supporting personal, civil & economic freedoms14, its Global Peace Index rating15 and in supporting press freedom16. And finally, it does better than average in eliminating modern slavery17, LGBT equality18 and in fighting anti-semitic opinions19.

1. Politics and Freedom

#antisemitism #burundi #christianity #corruption #democracy #eritrea #france #freedom #Germany #human_development #human_rights #indonesia #israel #jordan #judaism #laos #mass_media #morocco #netherlands #pakistan #peace #philippines #politics #religion #religious_violence #saudi_arabia #slavery #spain #sweden #turkey #UK #vietnam

[In 2018] the Alternative for Germany (AfD) became the first far-right party to enter its parliament in decades. [...] Merkel's preoccupation with domestic politics, and her ongoing defense of her courageous 2015 decision to admit large numbers of asylum seekers to Germany, have ironically deprived Europe of a strong voice for the rights of refugees and immigrants [...]. Beyond the economically depressed eastern parts of the country where widespread racism and xenophobia has not been tackled since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the AfD gained the most votes in wealthy Bavaria, where Merkel's governing partner, the Christian Social Union, adopted far more of the AfD's nativist positions than did Merkel's CDU. Principled confrontation rather than calculated emulation turned out to be the more effective response.

"World Report 2018" by Human Rights Watch (2018)20

[In 2017] German authorities continued to investigate serious international crimes related to the conflict in Syria and Iraq. Trials for war crimes are underway or have been concluded against members of ISIS, former Jabhat al-Nusra members, and various armed groups opposed to the Syrian government.

"World Report 2018" by Human Rights Watch (2018)20

The EU has acted on behalf of its member states on many occasions to support, foster, fund and encourage human rights protections in every region of the world, with agreement of its member states through the European Parliament. The protections of workers' rights and their harmonisations (which stops companies moving staff to countries with the weakest laws) has had great effect in stopping workforce abuse21. According to Human Rights Watch's comprehensive review for the year 2017, in addition to vocal and public pronouncements on poor human rights records of many countries, the EU has also acted through economic sanctions, political pressure and used other means to incentivize the adoption of human rights protections, even if these measures harm EU trading22. It is to Germany's credit that it supports the EU in these actions.

Anti-Semite Opinions (2014)19
Pos.Lower is better
World Avg36.8

Anti-Semitism is the world given to irrational racism against Jews. It is not the same as anti-Judaism (involving arguments against the religion) nor the same as anti-Zionism (arguments against Israel). In history, influential Christian theologians concocted the arguments against Jews that led, very early on, to widespread Christian action against Jews23,24,25,26. As Christianity rose to power in the West and presided over the Dark Ages, there were widespread violent outbursts against Jews of the most persistent and horrible kind. The Crusades were frequently aimed at them and the feared Spanish Inquisition paid Jews particular attention. For a long time, anti-semitism remained an issue in Germany. Friedrich Nietzsche in (1886) said that "I have never yet met a German who was favorably inclined to the Jews"27 The horror of the holocaust instigated by German Nazis in the 1940s was followed (finally) by the era of European human rights and a movement against racism in general. Thankfully, things in modern Germany are massively improved.

The places that are the least anti-Semitical are a few countries of south-east Asia (Laos, the Philippines and Vietnam) and some of the secular liberal democracies of Europe (Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK). The worst countries for antisemitism are Islamic states of the Middle East28, which are undergoing their own Dark Age. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, Indonesia, Pakistan and Turkey see the most oppressive and violent actions towards Jews29,30. Jews in Muslim countries face a host of restrictions and "ceaseless humiliation and regular pogroms"31. In 2004 the European Union Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia reported on violent anti-Jew crimes in the EU and found that that largest group of perpetrators were young Muslim males32.

Corruption (2012-2016)12
Pos.Higher is better
Avg Score12
2New Zealand90.6
16Hong Kong75.6
World Avg43.05

Corruption is the abuse of public office for private gain33. There are many forms of corruption. Politicians can sometimes (1) steal money (theft or embezzlement), (2) accept bribes (such as backhanders for awarding government contracts to companies), (3) give bribes (i.e., for electoral support or support in the mass media), (4) improperly coerce others (extortion), (5) give positions of power to friends and family without fairly seeking other applicants for those jobs (cronyism), or (6) grant favours to friends and family (nepotism) such as buying services from them at inflated prices (graft). The least corrupt countries between 2012-2016 were Denmark, New Zealand and Finland and the worst were Somalia, N. Korea and Afghanistan.

Global Peace Index (2012)15
Pos.Lower is better15
2New Zealand1.24
World Avg2.02

"The 2012 Global Peace Index is the sixth edition of the world's leading study on global levels of peacefulness. The GPI ranks 158 nations using 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from highly respected sources, which gauge three broad themes: the level of safety and security in society; the extent of domestic or international conflict; and the degree of militarisation. By generating new information on the state of peace at the national and global level, the Institute for Economics and Peace hopes to make a valuable contribution to better understanding how civil society, researchers, policymakers, and government can create a more peaceful society"15. The most peaceable countries in the world are Iceland, New Zealand and Denmark and the worst are Somalia, Afghanistan and Sudan.

Human Rights Watch Comments (2017)9
Pos.Higher is better
World Avg-1.9

Human Rights Watch comments concentrate mostly on negative issues, however, they also make positive comments for those countries that engage in human rights defence around the world, or who make improvements at home. By adding up positive and negative comments (including double-points for negatives that involve large scales and crimes against humanity), the Social and Moral Index turns HRW commentary into quantified values. Some countries may be unfairly penalized because HRW have not examined them, and, some countries "get away" with abuses if they manage to hide it, or if it goes unnoticed - a negative point has been given for those countries in which HRW specifically state that access to investigators has been barred. The points were limited to a minimum of -10 because there are some points at which things are so bad, with abuses affecting so many, it is difficult to be more specific about the depths of the issues.

Nominal Commitment to HR (2009)10
Pos.Higher is better
3Costa Rica23
World Avg15.1

There are many international agreements on human rights, and, many mechanisms by which countries can be brought to account for their actions. Together, these have been the biggest historical movement in the fight against oppression and inhumanity. Or, putting it another way: these are rejected mostly by those who wish to oppress inhumanely. None of them are perfect and many people object to various components and wordings, but, no-one has come up with, and enforced, better methods of controlling the occasional desires that states and peoples have of causing angst for other states and peoples in a violent, unjust or inhumane way. Points are awarded for the number of human rights agreements ratified by the country, plus the acceptance of the petition mechanisms for disputes. The maximum possible score in 2009 was 24.

Personal, Civil & Economic Freedom (2014)14
Pos.Lower is better
1Hong Kong1
3New Zealand3
World Avg79.7

The Human Freedom Index published by the Fraser Institute is...

... a broad measure of human freedom, understood as the absence of coercive constraint. It uses 79 distinct indicators of personal and economic freedom in the following areas: Rule of Law, Security and Safety, Movement, Religion, Association, Assembly, and Civil Society, Expression, Relationships, Size of Government, Legal System and Property Rights, Access to Sound Money, Freedom to Trade Internationally, Regulation of Credit, Labor, and Business. [...]

The highest levels of freedom are in Western Europe, Northern Europe, and North America (Canada and the United States. The lowest levels are in the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. [...]

Countries in the top quartile of freedom enjoy a significant higher per capita income ($37,147) [compared with] the least-free quartile [at] $8,700). The HFI finds a strong correlation between human freedom and democracy.

"The Human Freedom Index" by The Fraser Institute (2016)34

Press Freedom (2013)16
Pos.Lower is better16
18Costa Rica1208
World Avg3249

The freedom to investigate, publish information, and have access to others' opinion is a fundamental part of today's information-driven world. Scores on the Press Freedom Index are calculated according to indicators including pluralism - the degree to which opinions are represented in the media, media independence of authorities, self-censorship, legislation, transparency and the infrastructure that supports news and information, and, the level of violence against journalists which includes lengths of imprisonments. The index "does not take direct account of the kind of political system but it is clear that democracies provide better protection for the freedom to produce and circulate accurate news and information than countries where human rights are flouted".

It must be noted that press freedom is not an indicator of press quality and the press itself can be abusive; the UK suffers in particular from a popular brand of nasty reporting that infuses several of its newspapers who are particularly prone to running destructive and often untrue campaigns against victims. The Press Freedom Index notes that "the index should in no way be taken as an indicator of the quality of the media in the countries concerned".

Slavery (2018)17
Pos.Lower is better
% Victims17
29Saudi Arabia0.19
31S. Korea0.19
World Avg0.65

The taking of slaves has been an unwholesome feature of Human cultures since prehistory35. Private households and national endeavours have frequently been augmented with the use of slaves. The Egyptian and Roman empires both thrived on them for both purposes. Aside from labourers they are often abused sexually by their owners and their owners' friends36. The era of colonialism and the beginnings of globalisation changed nothing: the imprisonment and forced movements of labour continued to destroy many lives except that new justifications were invented based on Christian doctrine and the effort to convert non-Christians. By 1786 over 12 million slaves had been extracted from Africa and sent to colonial labour camps, with a truly atrocious condition of life37. But they were not the only ones to blame; in Africa internal nations such as the Asantes sold and bought tens of thousands of slaves38.

The abolition of the slave trade was a long and slow process. Until a relatively modern time, even philosophers, religious leaders and those concerned with ethics justified, or ignored, the problem of slavery39. The first abolitionists were always the slaves themselves. Their protests and rebellions caused the industry to become too expensive to continue. After that, it was the economic costs of maintain slave colonies that led the British to reject and then oppose the slave trade globally. Finally, the enlightenment-era thinkers of France encouraged moral and ethical thinking including the declaration of the inherent value of human life and human dignity40. A long-overdue wave of compassionate and conscientious movements swept across the West, eliminating public support for slavery, until the industries and churches that supported it had no choice but to back down.

'Modern slavery' includes forced labour (often of the under-age), debt bondage (especially generational), sexual slavery, chattel slavery and other forms of abuse, some of which can be surprisingly difficult to detect, but often target those fleeing from warzones and the vulnerable.41. Some industries (diamond, clothing, coal) from some countries (Burundi17, Eritrea17, Indonesia42) are a particular concern. The Walk Free Foundation, say that in 2016, 40.3 million people were living in modern slavery43.

2. Gender Equality

#christianity #gender #Germany #human_rights #misogyny #politics #women

Gender Inequality (2015)11
Pos.Lower is better11
10S. Korea0.07
World Avg0.36

The UN Human Development Reports include statistics on gender equality which take into account things like maternal mortality, access to political power (seats in parliament) and differences between male and female education rates. Gender inequality is not a necessary part of early human development. Although a separation of roles is almost universal due to different strengths between the genders, this does not have to mean that women are subdued, and, such patriarchialism is not universal in ancient history. Those cultures and peoples who shed, or never developed, the idea that mankind ought to dominate womankind, are better cultures and peoples than those who, even today, cling violently to those mores.

Year Women Can Vote13
Pos.Lower is better
1New Zealand1893
World Avg1930

Women now have equal rights in the vast majority of countries across the world. Although academic literature oftens talks of when a country "grants women the right to vote", this enforces a backwards way of thinking. Women always had the right to vote, however, they were frequently denied that right. The opposition to women's ability to vote in equality with man was most consistently and powerfully opposed by the Catholic Church, other Christian organisations, Islamic authorities and some other religious and secular traditionalists.

Germany is notable for its equality between the sexes and this has been a feature of the country's culture for quite some time.


3. LGBT Equality and Tolerance

#equality #Germany #homosexuality #human_rights #intolerance #sexuality #tolerance

LGBT Equality (2017)18
Pos.Higher is better
World Avg12.6

Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) folk is rife across the world. Legal restrictions co-exist alongside social stigmatisation and physical violence44. LGBT tolerance and equal rights have been fought for country-by-country across the world, often against tightly entrenched cultural and religious opposition. Adult consensual sexual activity is a Human Right, protected by privacy laws45. Despite this, homosexual activity is outlawed in around 80 countries44. The Social & Moral LGBT Equality Index was created to compare countries and regions, granting points to each country for a variety of factors including how long gay sex has been criminalized and the extent of LGBT legal rights. Graded negative points are given for criminality of homosexuality, unequal ages of consent, legal punishments and for not signing international accords on LGBT tolerance. The signs in many developed countries are positive, and things are gradually improving. Europe is by far the least prejudiced region (Scandinavia in particular being exemplary). The Middle East and then Africa are the least morally developed, where cultural bias goes hand-in-hand with state intolerance, all too often including physical violence.

On June 30, 2017, Germany became the 15th European country to enact legislation allowing same-sex couples to wed despite the formal stance of the Christian Democratic Union against the move46.

4. Germany Overall National and Social Development

#Germany #human_development

Social & Moral
Development Index
Pos.Higher is better
11New Zealand81.0
World Avg55.3

The Social and Moral Development Index concentrates on moral issues and human rights, violence, public health, equality, tolerance, freedom and effectiveness in climate change mitigation and environmentalism, and on some technological issues. A country scores higher for achieving well in those areas, and for sustaining that achievement in the long term. Those countries towards the top of this index can truly said to be setting good examples and leading humankind onwards into a bright, humane, and free future. See: What is the Best Country in the World? An Index of Morality, Conscience and Good Life.

Current edition: 2018 Nov 11
Parent page: Germany (Federal Republic of Germany)

All #tags used on this page - click for more:

#antisemitism #burundi #christianity #corruption #democracy #equality #eritrea #eu #france #freedom #gender #Germany #homosexuality #human_development #human_rights #indonesia #intolerance #iraq #israel #jordan #judaism #laos #mass_media #misogyny #morocco #netherlands #pakistan #peace #philippines #politics #religion #religious_violence #saudi_arabia #sexuality #slavery #spain #sweden #syria #tolerance #turkey #UK #vietnam #women

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References: (What's this?)

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Anti-Defamation League. (ADL)
(2014) ADL Global 100, Executive Summary. Accessed on on 2017 Jan 02. The numbers given are of those who state that racist stereotyped statements about Jews are true; they have to agree to 6 or more of the 11 statements to be counted. An example statements is "Jews are hated because of the way they behave". The data was collected from 53,100 interviews across 101 countries plus the West Bank and Gaza. The global average is 26%.

Bawer, Bruce
(2006) While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within. Published by Broadway Books. A paperback book.

Beetham, David
(2005) Democracy: A Beginner's Guide. Published by Oneworld Publications, Oxford, UK. A paperback book.

Casely-Hayford, Gus
(2012) The Lost Kingdoms of Africa. Published by Bantram Press. A hardback book.

Crabtree, Vexen
(2019) "What is the Best Country in the World? An Index of Morality, Conscience and Good Life" (2019). Accessed 2019 Mar 03.

Donnelly, Jack
(2013) Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice. 3rd edition. Published by Cornell University Press.

The Fraser Institute
(2016) The Human Freedom Index. Published by The Cato Institute, The Fraser Institute and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom. Covers data up to 2014. On

Harris, Sam
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Heywood, Andrew
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Human Rights Watch
(2018) World Report 2018. Covering the events of 2017.

Klein, Naomi
(2004) No Logo. Originally published 2000, HarperCollins, London, UK. A paperback book.

Kressel, Neil
(2007) Bad Faith: The Danger of Religious Extremism. Amazon Kindle digital edition. Published by Prometheus Books, New York, USA. An e-book.

McCall, Andrew
(1979) The Medieval Underworld. 2004 edition. Published by Sutton Publishing. A paperback book.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. (1844-1900)
(1886) Beyond Good and Evil. Published by AmazonClassics. Translated from German to English by Helen Zimmern (1846–1934). An e-book.

Pew Forum
(2017 Aug 08) Gay Marriage Around the World.

Russell, Bertrand. (1872-1970)
(1946) History of Western Philosophy. 2000 edition. Published by Routledge, London, UK. A paperback book.

Thomson, Oliver
(1993) A History of Sin. Published by Canongate Press. A hardback book.

UK Govt
(2010 Aug 12) The Benefits and Achievements of EU Single Market. Date last accessed 2016 Mar 01. Published by The Department for Business and Innovation Skills and accessed via a page archive dating from 2010 Aug 12 but the original text may be older.

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(2011) Human Development Report. Published by the UN Development Programme. This edition had the theme of Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All. Available on UN Development Program: About the Human Development Index.
(2017) Human Development Report. Published by the UN Development Programme. Data for 2015. Available on

Walk Free Foundation
(2018) Global Slavery Index. Published on


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