“Section 2.1 of DIMRG law states that ‘[t]he German Institute for Human Rights (registered association) shall inform the public on the situation of human rights in Germany and abroad and shall contribute to the prevention of human rights violations and the promotion and protection of human rights’.
The SCA acknowledges that the GIHR interprets its protection mandate broadly and undertakes protection functions for example through investigation and monitoring, holding of hearings, submitting amicus curiae briefs to the Constitutional Court, and publishing research and recommendations on various human rights issues, including on racial discrimination and the rights of refugees and migrant workers.
Further, the SCA acknowledges that the GIHR informed the SCA that it has taken steps to strengthen its monitoring function in specific areas, as well as to enhance the general monitoring and investigation capacities of the GIHR.
The SCA also notes that the Monitoring Mechanism for the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child within the GIHR has been made permanent and that the GIHR has received an additional State-level mandate to monitor the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). In addition, two National Rapporteur Mechanisms have been established within the GIHR, one on trafficking in human beings and one on gender-based violence.
The SCA further notes that the GIHR has received a 66% increase of its annual budget from 2021 to 2022, currently amounting to €5.17 million (USD 5.4 million). This increase allowed for the strengthening of its monitoring and investigation capacities regarding key human rights issues in Germany, including forced evictions, older persons, children, homeless persons, racism, the situation of asylum seekers and migrants, actions of security forces, and business and human rights.
The SCA acknowledges that the GIHR has developed an advocacy strategy for amending the GIHR Law. Further, that it has commissioned a legal opinion to analyse how the GIHR protection powers would have to be designed and the relevant constitutional requirements associated with strengthening the GIHR’s protection mandate, including its capacity to monitor and access places of deprivation of liberty.
The SCA acknowledges that the GIHR has made use of its current mandate to protect human rights in practice but notes that the protection mandate of the GIHR could be further strengthened.
The SCA is of the view that an NHRI’s mandate should be interpreted in a broad and purposive manner to promote a progressive definition of human rights, which includes all rights set out in international, regional, and domestic instruments, including economic, social, and cultural rights.
Specifically, the mandate should:
– extend to the acts and omissions of both the public and private sectors;
– provide the authority to address recommendations to public authorities, to analyse the
human rights situation in the country, and to obtain statements or documents in order to
assess situations raising human rights issues;
– authorize unannounced and free access to inspect and examine any public premises,
documents, equipment and assets without prior written notice; and
– authorize the full investigation into all alleged human rights violations, including the military,
police and security officers.
The SCA reiterates that the GIHR should continue to advocate for appropriate amendments to its enabling law to strengthen its protection mandate, including its investigation function and its powers to access information and data, as well as to monitor places of deprivation of liberty.
The SCA also recommends that the GIHR continue to advocate to ensure that the National Rapporteur Mechanisms on trafficking in human beings and on gender-based violence established within the GIHR be made permanent.
The SCA notes that the responsibilities of NHRIs shall include the submission to the Government, Parliament and any other competent body, on an advisory basis either at the request of the authorities concerned or through the exercise of its power to hear a matter without higher referral, opinions, recommendations, proposals and reports on any matters concerning the promotion and protection of human rights. The SCA also refers to the ‘Belgrade Principles on the relationship between national human rights institutions and parliaments’, which state that parliaments should ensure participation of NHRIs and seek their expert advice in relation to human rights during meetings and proceedings of various parliamentary committees, and that NHRIs should advise and/or make recommendations to parliaments on issues related to human rights, including the State’s international human rights obligations.
The SCA encourages the GIHR to strengthen and seek formalization of its engagement with the Federal Parliament including participation in Parliamentary hearings.
The SCA refers to Paris Principles A.1, A.2, and to its General Observation 1.2 on Human rights mandate’.”