Grandstanding rather than credibly standing up for human rights

UN Security Council: One month under German presidency

After one month holding the presidency of the UN Security Council, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) takes stock and finds Germany wanting. The human rights group says Germany has been grandstanding for the most part with uncontroversial topics to improve its image in the United Nations, while dramatic crises such as the situation of the civilian population suffering in the contested South Kordofan region in Sudan are largely ignored. " Germany joined the UN Security Council to improve the protection of women and children in war, but they refuse to agree to an investigation, to be undertaken by other United Nations bodies, of possible war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against women and children in Burma," criticized Ulrich Delius of the STP on Friday in Göttingen. "Germany is losing its credibility in the worldwide struggle for human rights."

In Burma, primarily women and children in ethnic minority groups are suffering under massive human rights abuses. The US, along with Great Britain, France, and ten other states in the European Union (EU) are calling on the UN to form an international investigative commission to look into this situation. Germany has so far refused to join this call, thus preventing the united EU front in the UN General Assembly that could empower such a commission. In the Nuba Mountains (South Kordofan) in Sudan, too, women and children are now suffering under the effects of an escalating war. The Sudanese air force keeps bombing villages in that region, killing civilians. Some 70,000 Nuba are basically cut off from access to famine aid. "We had hoped that Germany would make a greater international issue out of this explicit case of arbitrary attacks on women and children, and bring the entire weight of the UN Security Council to bear in working towards an end to the food blockade and to the fighting in South Kordofan," said Delius.

The commitment to ensuring better protection of women and children in the war zone was a core issue for the German presidency of the UN Security Council. Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle personally attended the session of the UN Security Council in New York on 12 July 2011, when Resolution 1998 for better protection of children in armed conflicts was passed.