At UN, Humanists call for strengthened access to abortion in Germany

  • post Type / Advocacy News
  • Date / 26 March 2024

In a joint statement made at the UN Human Rights Council, Humanistischer Verband Deutschlands and Humanists International have commended Germany for its stated commitment to reproductive rights, but urged decriminalization of abortion in the country.

The statement was delivered by Katrin Raczynski, board member and representative of Humanistischer Verband Deutschlands (Humanist Association of Germany), a member organisation of Humanists International. Raczynski made the intervention via video at the 55th session of the Human Rights Council during the adoption of Germany’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR)* report.

The organizations welcomed Germany’s stated intention to strengthen women’s rights to self-determination and create secure access to abortions, but they also highlighted the need for progress.

Katrin Raczynski delivers her statement via video at the UN Human Rights Council

The statement pointed out that there is a need for decriminalisation of abortion; the German Criminal Code currently states that anyone who terminates a pregnancy is punished with up to three years in prison. Raczynski said, “we remind the government that abortion is not a crime, but a right women have that is protected under a variety of international human rights instruments.”

At present there is a government commission in the process of examining “regulations for abortion outside the criminal code.” In its report to the Council, Germany stated that the “Commission’s final report, due in April 2024, remains to be seen.”

The statement commended Germany’s acceptance of a recommendation from Canada that the government should continue its efforts to promote ​​sexual and reproductive health and rights and comprehensive sexuality education, as well as the right to safe and legal abortion.

*The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a UN process which involves a periodic review of the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States, by each other. It is a unique human rights mechanism in so far as it addresses all countries and all human rights. The Working Group on the UPR, which is composed of the Human Rights Council’s 47 Member States and chaired by the Human Rights Council President, conducts country reviews. Humanists International supports its members in engagement with the process.

Featured photo by Maheshkumar Painam on Unsplash

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