On Human Rights Day: Germany is concerned about human rights in other countries - but a right is also threatened here

Today is International Human Rights Day.

On Human Rights Day: Germany is concerned about human rights in other countries - but a right is also threatened here

Today is International Human Rights Day. Most Germans should have little or no interest in such data – myself included. "International Days for XY" are so inflationary that they are no longer anything special. Of course, that comes at the expense of days like this. In any case, human rights usually only become an issue of excitement and politics when civilians are attacked in wars (Ukraine), minorities are politically persecuted (Uyghurs in China), refugees are turned away at borders (Mediterranean) or people in other countries are exploited (Qatar).

There is no question that those affected are people like you and me, who are entitled to the same rights as all of us. It is therefore also right that Germany, as a member of the United Nations, works internationally for these people. Against this background, it is also legitimate for politicians to show solidarity with the protesters in Iran, for example. However, this should fall within the remit of Annalena Baerbock with her feminist and value-based foreign policy - and not that of Interior Minister Nancy Faeser.

Faeser would have enough choice to position herself as interior minister within the framework of her office. For example, alongside those citizens who can no longer afford groceries and are therefore dependent on the food banks. The number of customers there has doubled in some cases. Many institutions have therefore imposed a freeze on admissions. Homeless people in Germany would certainly appreciate a little more attention from the German interior minister. According to a survey by the Federal Office for Labor and Social Affairs, 37,400 people are homeless - according to estimates, the number of unreported cases is even higher. In the two years before the corona pandemic alone, the number of homeless people rose by eight to nine percent.

It is not the case that human rights are trampled on in Germany, as is the case elsewhere - far from it. Nevertheless, it is not enough to scold autocrats and dictators across national borders when things are going wrong at home. The best example at the moment: our healthcare system.

This may surprise you, but the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights provides for the right to health. In concrete terms, this means good food, clothing, housing, medical care and necessary social services. If you google “right to health”, you will quickly end up on the website of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. There is a breakdown of how Germany is involved, for example in Africa, in aid work and in reducing child and maternal mortality. Most commendable.

But with all due respect: Where is the commitment for the German doctors and nurses who work to the limit every day to ensure that patients in Germany get well again? At least since the corona pandemic, it has been clear that something has to be done. But since the virus has taken a back seat, medicine hasn't even been applauded. Recently, the reform plans of Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach caused a stir. But because he can't (or doesn't want to?) make the urgently needed money available, one has to assume that German politicians can't really be serious about the human right to health.

Health is the basis for functioning and economically strong societies. According to Techniker Krankenkasse, the number of sick days in Germany reached a high in the first quarter of 2022. During the pandemic, we've all seen what happens to large economies like China when staff are absent due to illness. The whole world feels that.

It is well known that patients in this country sometimes have to wait months for psychotherapy, cures or normal family doctor appointments because the facilities are overflowing. But the fact that hospital places for the smallest and youngest in our society are now becoming scarce is the height of the impossible.

The right to health only exists on paper, but it would be the task of the traffic light government to change that. Because it is primarily responsible for Germany. This has nothing to do with nationalism and does not mean that German politics should ignore human rights violations in other countries. But we cannot always point to autocracies and dictatorships when it comes to precisely these transgressions. True, they are not comparable to each other in terms of severity. But in all cases, rights are violated. That must not happen in a country that prides itself on being a democracy and wants to pursue a moral and value-based foreign policy.

Especially since it would certainly be easier to promote the human right to health in this country than to educate stubborn autocrats to be advocates of human rights.