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General human rights

German engagement in partner countries


A boy drinks water from a large water tank at Mazraq camp in Hajjah province, Yemen.

Respecting, protecting and safeguarding human rights are among the criteria that determine the nature and extent of Germany's de­vel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion with a partner coun­try. Through the human rights strategy it published in May 2011, the BMZ is operationalising the human rights-based approach systematically in its work. In accordance with the strategy, human rights standards and principles are included when preparing sector, regional and coun­try strategies, as well as joint donor strategies. Germany is thus an in­ter­national leader in this field.

In partner coun­tries human rights are promoted systematically in the various priority areas, including democracy, civil society and public administration, health, education, and water supply and sanitation, to name but some examples.

Promoting human rights through policy dialogue and programme work

In dialogue with partner-coun­try governments the BMZ calls for comprehensive compliance with human rights. Progress and deficits are discussed, and de­vel­op­ment strategies and programmes are adjusted to match the actual situ­a­tion. At the same time particular care is taken to ensure that the de­vel­op­ment measures themselves do not have any negative impacts on the human rights situ­a­tion in the partner coun­try.

Human rights-based de­vel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion promotes non-discrimination and equality of opportunity, participation by civil society and trans­pa­rent governance. This is how the BMZ supports the governments of its partner coun­tries for instance in improving governance and implementing legal reforms. It is also im­por­tant in this context to generate results at the subnational level, because it is in the provinces and municipalities that state structures and the popu­la­tion come into closest contact.

De­vel­op­ment measures provide targeted support to disadvantaged groups such as women, children, persons with disabilities, religious, ethnic and sexual minorities and indigenous peoples. They are empowered to participate actively in political and societal life, and claim their rights.

Promoting economic, social and cultural rights

A large proportion of Germany's de­vel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion programmes and projects promote the realisation of economic, social and cultural rights, either directly or indirectly. The BMZ is for instance involved in building more conducive frameworks and improving lives and livelihoods in the sectors of education, health, social protection, rural de­vel­op­ment, food security, business, energy and the en­vi­ron­ment.

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