Joint Appeal to the German Federal Government

Berlin, 23 July 2015 – Protection against discrimination is a fundamental right that is derived from the principle of equality under both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as German Basic Law. In the 1997 Amsterdam Treaty, Germany and the other member states have committed themselves and the European Union as a whole to the principle of protecting people from discrimination based on sex, ethnic origin, religion and belief, disability, age, and sexual orientation. The General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) ensures these protections in labour law and civil law in Germany. But such comprehensive protections do not exist everywhere in Europe.

For example, it is still legal in many European countries to:
  • Deny people with disabilities access to premises,
  • Deny gays and lesbians a hotel room,
  • Refuse to rent a car to individuals due only to their age, or
  • Refuse to rent an apartment to individuals due to their Muslim or Jewish faith.
Such inconsistencies in the levels of protection against discrimination should not exist in Europe. This is important not only for people in the countries concerned, but also for inhabitants of Germany, should they move to another EU country. It was therefore right and necessary that the European Commission presented a draft for a new, comprehensive Equal Treatment Directive in 2008, which would extend the level of protection against discrimination beyond employment, while also taking into account the requirements of the UN Disability Convention, which is already binding for Germany. As the Member State with the largest population in the European Union, Germany has a particular responsibility. It is therefore unfortunate that the German federal government has blocked negotiations within the Council of the EU regarding the draft directive, and has so far refused to hold a substantive debate on this topic, which 27 out of 28 EU member states are willing to have. Germany is taking a position that is, in light of its existing domestic laws, rationally untenable. The signatories appeal to the German federal government:
  • To remove its fundamental opposition to the draft directive,
  • To re-enter into negotiations,
  • To work together with its EU partners, the European Commission, and the European Parliament on strong protection against discrimination in all fields of life that applies to all people across Europe, and
  • To enter into a dialogue with the signatories as soon as possible.
AGE Platform Europe Aktionsbündnis gegen Homophobie ABiD – Allgemeiner Behindertenverband in Deutschland Amnesty International advd – Antidiskriminierungsverband Deutschland Arbeiterwohlfahrt Deutschland BAG Selbsthilfe BAGSO – Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft der SeniorenOrganisationen Bundesinitiative Daheim statt Heim Bundesverband für körper- und mehrfachbehinderte Menschen Bundesverband Selbsthilfe Körperbehinderter Bundesvereinigung Lebenshilfe BUG – Büro zur Umsetzung von Gleichbehandlung DaMigra – Dachverband der Migrantinnenorganisationen Der Paritätische Gesamtverband Deutscher Behindertenrat Deutscher Blinden- und Sehbehindertenverband Deutscher Bundesjugendring Deutscher Frauenrat Eurochild European Disability Forum ENAR – European Network Against Racism ENORB – European Network on Religion & Belief European Women’s Lobby European Youth Forum IBIS – Interkulturelle Arbeitsstelle IGLYO – The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Queer Youth Organisation ILGA Europe Interessenvertretung Selbstbestimmt Leben Lesbenberatung Berlin LesMigraS LSVD – Lesben- und Schwulenverband National Coalition Deutschland – Netzwerk zur Umsetzung der UN-Kinderrechtskonvention Social Platform SoVD – Sozialverband Deutschland Sozialverband VdK TGEU – Transgender Europe TrIQ – TransInterQueer Türkische Gemeinde in Deutschland Weibernetz – Bundesnetzwerk von FrauenLesben und Mädchen mit Beeinträchtigung Zentralrat deutscher Sinti und Roma Manfred Bruns Dr. Ilja Seifert Equinet – European network of equality bodies Antidiskriminierungstelle des Bundes

Attached documents


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