145.In April 2013 the European Commission published its first European Union-wide report on human trafficking. It contains comparable figures for all European Union Member States, including Germany.
146.The Act to Implement Directives of the European Union on the Law of Residency and Asylum of 19 August 2007 added a new section 25 (4a) to the Residence Act in 2007. The provision introduces a temporary right of residence for victims of human trafficking. On 3 December 2014, the Federal Cabinet adopted a draft law on redefining the right to stay and the termination of residence. The draft proposes making three key improvements to benefit the victims of human trafficking:
•Section 25 (4a), first sentence Residence Act (residence permits for victims of human trafficking) is changed from a discretionary into a directory provision. This increases legal certainty and clarifies that people cooperating with the criminal prosecution authorities generally have a right to a residence permit;
•Section 25 (4a), third sentence Residence Act introduces the possibility of extending a residence title for humanitarian or personal reasons or in the public interest after the victim is involved in the criminal proceedings against the perpetrators. This creates legal certainty for victims;
•Subsequent immigration of dependents will be permitted.
147.Other amendments have also been proposed: The duration or the extension of the residence title during the criminal proceedings shall be increased to one year; following the end of the proceedings the title shall be granted or extended for two years in each case. Likewise, this increases legal certainty for victims. The special right of revocation set out in section 52 (5) No. 3 Residence Act (revocation upon termination of the criminal proceedings) will be deleted. Therefore, in those cases in which no criminal proceedings were initiated although the person concerned cooperated with criminal prosecution authorities (e.g. the accused fled) victims shall be granted a residence permit:
•Victims of human trafficking with a residence title granted in accordance with section 25 (4a), third sentence Residence Act will be entitled to take part in an integration course;
•Finally, victims of human trafficking will be protected against expulsion if there is a (especially) serious interest for them to remain.
148.The Act to Amend the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act and the Social Courts Act of 1 March 2015, further improve the legal situation for those holding a residence title according to section 25 (4a) Residence Act. Henceforth, they will not be covered by the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act. If they still qualify for assistance, they will instead be covered by the Second and Twelfth Book of the Social Code, which guarantee more comprehensive assistance.
149.The Coalition Agreement also stipulates that “action will be taken against those who knowingly and willingly exploit the plight of victims of human trafficking and forced prostitution and abuse them to carry out sexual acts”. The relevant assessment is still ongoing; possible solutions are discussed in the political, specialist and social realm. The Länder have numerous programmes for preventing human trafficking, helping victims and convicting perpetrators (see Länder exhibit and 2014 Beijing Report).
Recommendation 50: Exploitation of prostitution
150.The Federal Government already stated in its report on the impact of the Prostitution Act (BT-Drs. 16/4146) that a more broad-based approach needs to apply to prostitution. It must consistently incorporate the combating of human trafficking, forced prostitution and prostitution of minors and must aim to provide the greatest protection possible to prostitutes against violence and exploitation.
151.Therefore, a series of measures were introduced in 2007 to improve the combat against and criminal prosecution of human trafficking and of minors suffering sexual abuse in prostitution. Additionally, the expert public and political debate about measures to improve conditions for legalized prostitution has accelerated recently. For instance, BMFSFJ published the results of an expert event “Regulation of Prostitution and Places of Prostitution — A Practicable Way to Improve the Situation of Prostitutes and Combat Human Trafficking?”
152.The Federal Government will present an ambitious package of measures for combating human trafficking and forced prostitution more effectively and imposing stricter regulations on legal forms of prostitution. Core elements of the planned legislation are the need to obtain a licence for places of prostitution, a background check for those operating prostitution businesses, and minimum health and safety requirements for prostitutes. Business models which violate human dignity or are directed at exploiting prostitutes, such as “flat-rate brothels”, will not be granted a licence. Prostitutes will be obliged to register their activity and to present proof they have undergone medical consultation. At the same time this provides opportunity to inform prostitutes about their rights and support available.
153.Besides legislative measures, target group-specific advice and counselling are important when supporting those involved in prostitution and the victims of human trafficking. Therefore, Germany has been promoting a model project since 2009 to support those wishing to drop out of prostitution, which is being conducted at various locations. The results of the academic support, expected to be published in autumn 2015, will provide valuable insights into what kind of support this specific target group needs that can be provided by the Länder and municipalities.
154.A number of advice centres across Germany with different specializations are geared to the psychosocial or health needs of people working in prostitution. Responsibility for the existence of and resources available in the advice centres, drop-out programmes for prostitutes and specialist advice centres for the victims of human trafficking lies with the Länder and municipalities. Federal funding provided to the KOK e.V. contributes to the national networking and quality development of specialist advice centres for the victims of human trafficking. The nationwide helpline for women victims of violence (08000 116 016) is also available to victims of human trafficking, their friends and families. It represents a nationwide, multilingual, anonymous and easy-to-access initial counselling service. Each year the BKA compiles a National Situation Report on Human Trafficking, which includes human trafficking cases (of all types, including sexual exploitation) reported to the police. See also remarks concerning recommendation 48.
155.The Länder are developing both programmes and strategies for preventing women from entering prostitution, support and advice to make it easier and encourage women to leave.
Recommendation 52: Security Council resolution 1325
1.Implementation of Security Council resolution 1325
156.The Federal Government adopted its First National Action Plan to Implement Security Council resolution 1325 (NAP 1325) on 19 December 2012 and passed it to the German Bundestag. The Action Plan covers the period 2013 to 2016. Together with the Action Plan for Civilian Crisis Prevention and the Development Policy Gender Action Plan, the NAP 1325 considers the role of women and girls in conflict-prone regions. Therefore, Germany has more firmly established “women, peace and security” as a cross-cutting issue in its foreign, security and development policy and created a uniform frame of reference for all its measures. It hopes this will lead to more synergy and mobilization effects.
157.In analogy with the phases of a conflict, NAP 1325 sets six priorities when planning and implementing relevant measures: prevention, mission preparation (basic, advanced and continuing training), involvement, protection, reconstruction and criminal prosecution. When elaborating the NAP 1325 ideas provided by civil society (by the “Allianz 1325”) were incorporated, especially regarding the priority areas “mission preparation” and “criminal prosecution”.
158.Six federal ministries are involved in implementing NAP 1325. The chapter “Mission Preparation; Basic, Advanced and Continuing Training” includes concrete goals for raising awareness of gender-specific issues for all training courses. The courses in particular teach participants about the causes of conflicts, their course, and the social, political and cultural situation on the ground. Measures to protect people against sexual offences, their rights and, particularly, the needs of women and children are addressed.
2.Mission preparation training courses
159.The Federal Ministry of Defence (BMVg) attaches particular importance to gender-related aspects within the context of intercultural and cultural preparations for foreign missions. Taking a gender perspective while actively participating in national and international peace-keeping and peace-making activities undertaken by the Federal Government, is a basic part of mission and operational planning for German personnel.
160.Suitable cross-ministerial advanced training measures organized by those funding the training preparatory to a mission ensures that gender-specific aspects are incorporated into the basic, advanced and continuing training of teaching staff and simultaneously harmonises the training. For instance, in July 2012 the Centre for International Peace-Missions, the police and the Federal Armed Forces for the first time ran a training course on “Women, Peace and Security” at the Police Academy in Baden-Württemberg. This course is open to participants from civil society, the Federal Armed Forces and the police. It focuses primarily on gender-specific needs in conflicts.
161.Police officers are also prepared for their foreign missions as part of the standardized United Nations pre-deployment training, which includes training modules on the Code of Conduct and “Women, Peace and Security”.
162.The Act on the Legal Status of Soldiers already contains comprehensive provisions applicable to military staff in the area of responsibility of the BMVg. Soldiers are informed about their rights and duties at the beginning of their military training. Monitoring compliance with these regulations is the task and obligation of all superiors in the context of their supervisory duty. It is enshrined in the Act on the Legal Status of Soldiers and common practice. Consequently, introducing a special “national code of conduct” or a special, strict “national monitoring system” is not necessary in our opinion.
163.Germany endeavours to guarantee efficient criminal prosecution of any criminal offences committed by German soldiers on a foreign mission. In accordance with section 1a (2) Military Criminal Code, German criminal law also applies, irrespective of the law of the place of commission, to acts committed by soldiers during a period of service abroad or in relation to service abroad. In order to guarantee efficient criminal prosecution where German soldiers do in fact commit criminal offences while on a foreign mission, section 11a Code of Criminal Procedure of 1 April 2013, created a special jurisdiction with the court competent for the City of Kempten for soldiers of the Federal Armed Forces under special deployment abroad.
Recommendation 54: Health
164.The following questions arise regarding gender-specific health policy:
•What makes women and men healthy and what makes them ill?
•What does that mean for prevention and for diagnosis, treatment or rehabilitation in case of illness?
165.The Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) has taken up these questions regarding men and women. As regards women’s health it looks at health risks and illnesses which only or more frequently affect women or have a more serious disease course. Moreover, it looks at the influence of social factors on health. The different phases and stages of men’s and women’s lives are addressed. Gendered approaches to prevention, health promotion and health care are also supported by regular women’s and men’s health conferences to disseminate these approaches and encourage new activities in this field. Challenges as regards exercise, addiction prevention, statutory health insurance and in-company health promotion are addressed and gender-sensitive preventive and health promotion methods are presented and discussed.
166.Several of the Länder have adopted a gendered approach in their health policy (see Länder Exhibit).
2.Women in leading positions in the health sector
167.In 2014, the share of women working as physicians was approximately 45 per cent and 26 per cent of leading positions in German hospitals were held by women; the share of female head physicians was estimated between 8 and 10 per cent. Implementation of the equal participation of women in leading positions in the health sector is generally the responsibility of local funding bodies. Since the number of female students of medicine exceeds that of male students and women in leading positions and reconciling work and family life are now discussed across society, it is expected that in the future more qualified women will obtain positions of leadership in the health sector. The Federal Government thus hopes that the Act on the Equal Participation of Women and Men in Leadership Positions in the Private and the Public Sector will have a positive impact (see remarks concerning recommendation 38).
168.Germany’s HIV strategy is based on a positive understanding of sexuality and has for years been incorporating HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. As part of the Action Plan to Combat HIV/AIDS the reach of HIV prevention campaigns has been further extended in recent years in Germany and prevention activities have been expanded. Gender-specific education measures for various age groups in the general population and for especially vulnerable groups, such as sex workers, are implemented as part of mass and individual communication. Women-specific help and support has become an established part of advisory services, testing, treatment and self-help in Germany.
169.Annual studies prove that public knowledge about transmission risks and protection methods has continuously risen and reached a very high level recently. The use of condoms has increased considerably since HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns were first launched: In 1988, 67 per cent of women had experience of using condoms; in 2011 that figure had risen to 91 per cent. The graph in Annex 2 illustrates this development in detail.
170.The high-quality health care available in Germany means that fewer people are dying of AIDS. According to estimates, in late 2012 78,000 people in Germany were HIV positive, 15,000 of them women. The share of HIV-positive women (19 per cent) has remained practically constant in recent years. The estimated number of new infections in women in 2012 (410), shows that the share of women out of total new infections is still very low (12 per cent). In 2008, the number of new HIV infections in women was 350, i.e. approximately 12 per cent of all new infections. Since 2007 the annual number of new HIV diagnoses in women has varied between 402 and 465. Annex 2 includes a list of statistical data for the period between 2003 and 2012.
171.Since 2008 all women are offered a free HIV test as part of prenatal care. In 2012, the mother-child transmission rate amounted to less than 10 cases. Since 2010, HIV-positive spouses have been able to claim statutory health services for artificial insemination measures. Guidelines were drawn up regarding HIV treatment during pregnancy, new-borns exposed to HIV, and on the diagnosis and treatment of couples with HIV who wish to have children. This is evidence of the successful implementation of the HIV strategy, the high level of which has been safeguarded for more than 25 years by means of sustainable financing, and of the good cooperation between governmental and non-governmental actors and strong commitment from the voluntary sector.
4.Pregnant women in conflict situations and reproductive medical treatment
172.The Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA) has the legal mandate to draw up and disseminate free sex education and family planning strategies for various ages and groups of people in order to prevent pregnant women finding themselves in conflict situations. Current strategies include “Migrants as a Target Group of Sex Education and Family Planning” and “Sex Education for People with Impairments”. They aim to support girls and boys in a gender-sensitive and age-appropriate manner in finding their own way of dealing responsibly with love, relationship and sexuality. Other measures cover topics such as relationship, parenthood and infertility, based on the framework-strategy on sex education drawn up by consulting the Länder and representatives of family counselling centres. All strategies apply the gendered approach and are based on key findings of scientific evaluations, such as the BZgA’s study on sexuality of adolescents.
173.According to official abortion statistics, 99,715 abortions were performed Germany in 2014. Continuing the downward trend, this is the lowest figure since the law was amended in 1996. The number of underage abortions has also dropped steadily: In 2014, there were 3,560 abortions by girls under the age of 18, which are less than half the figure for 2005 (7,247). A study called “women’s lives 3”, commissioned by BMFSFJ and compiled by BZgA showed, that a stable relationship and a woman’s professional and financial security are key factors when those dealing with an unwanted pregnancy ultimately choose to have the child. The legal survey characteristics in official statistics do not refer to features such as origin, nationality and ethnicity. The Länder also recognize that pregnancy and reproductive medicine are key elements (see Länder Exhibit).
5.Health of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers
174.Based on select health indicators, such as the rate of staff sickness, obesity, smoking behaviour and causes of death, the Federal Government’s Social Report 2013 comes to the conclusion that in all sections of the population, including migrant women, a person’s social situation is a key determinant of their general health and health-related quality of life. Migrants are not generally at a disadvantage regarding their health. Concerning prevention in particular, studies prove that migrants take advantage, i.e. of vaccinations and prenatal care equally as frequently as people without a migration background. Projects run by Germany, measures taken by the Länder, municipalities and voluntary organizations aim to improve health-care provision for refugees and immigrants.
175.Before the end of the current legislative term, health-care services set out in the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act will be improved for especially vulnerable persons in particular, thereby implementing European Union-Directive 2013/33/EU of 26 June 2013 that requires standards for the reception of applicants for international protection (known as the “Reception Directive”). People being especially vulnerable include, for example, women victims of violence.
176.BMG will examine, in cooperation with the Länder, how interested non-city Länder can be helped to introduce the electronic health card for asylum seekers. This would give those entitled to health services easier direct access to doctors.
Recommendation 56: Economic consequences of divorce
177.The Federal Government believes that the law of maintenance, which is as a matter of principle gender neutral, does justice to today’s understanding of the gender roles of men and women in modern German society. Apart from those provisions which concern the specific protection afforded to women in their role as mothers (see section 1615 (1) of the German Civil Code), the law of maintenance has therefore consciously been worded in a gender-neutral manner. Promoting self-reliance after divorce has been a feature of German divorce law since 1977; the reform of 1 January 2008 did not change this basic principle. In accordance with section 1570 of the German Civil Code, a divorced spouse may demand maintenance from the other for the care and the upbringing of a child for at least three years after the child’s birth. The duration of the claim to maintenance is extended as long as and to the extent that this is equitable. Account must be taken of the concerns of the child and the existing possibilities of childcare. The duration of the maintenance claim is further extended if this is equitable, taking into account the arrangements for childcare and gainful employment in the marriage and the duration of the marriage.
178.A large proportion of single mothers are in employment: 70.4 per cent of all single mothers were in gainful employment in 2013, 42.1 per cent of them in full-time jobs. Single working mothers (to lesser extent single fathers) are in effect subject to stresses and strains on account of raising their children, which the law of maintenance generally neither reduces nor can reduce.
179.The statutory matrimonial property regime of the community of accrued gains, takes account already of the distribution of roles between spouses especially in the case of divorce and provides for financial compensation in favour of that spouse who had less opportunity during the marriage to accrue wealth. This rule represents a matrimonial property regime of separate property and the equalization of accrued gains upon termination of the matrimonial property regime (section 1371 et. seq. German Civil Code). The regulations were reformed and expanded by means of the Act to Amend the Law of the Equalization of Accrued Gain and of Guardianship of 6 July 2009 in order to improve the protection of that spouse who is in a structurally weaker position.
180.The Federal Government is in continuous contact with practitioners. BMJV is aware, based on its diverse contacts, reports, conferences etc., what impact the reform of 2008 has had on all practitioners, and most especially on those affected. The Ministry receives a few hundred letters and petitions every year on this matter. It not only answers but also evaluates them. The Ministry intends to continue this close contact with practitioners and is always willing to react to difficulties when they arise.
Recommendation 58: Vulnerable groups of women — girls in the juvenile justice system
181.The German criminal justice system already guarantees the international minimum standards and regulations concerning juvenile justice referred to in the recommendation. Reference is in particular made to the special Youth Courts Act, which has provisions on the special courts responsible for criminal proceedings against juveniles, special provisions applicable to criminal proceedings involving juveniles (considering age, developmental state and need for protection of juvenile offenders) and on the sanctioning and restricting of deprivation of liberty, whose main goal is not to punish wrongs committed but reintegration and prevention of reoffending.
182.As regards the recommendation to take all necessary means that persons below 18, including girls, are deprived of their liberty only as a last resort, even before 2007 under the Youth Courts Act a youth custody sentence could only be imposed as a last resort: It represents the upper end of the range of sanctions under the law applicable to juvenile offenders, and pursuant to section 5 (2), section 13 (1) and section 17 (2) Youth Courts Act, it may only be imposed in cases where more ancillary educational measures and educationally-oriented disciplinary sanctions without a penal nature do not suffice. Furthermore, some 70 per cent of all criminal proceedings involving juveniles in Germany are closed without a conviction. Even where convictions are made, only a small proportion of the juveniles receive a sentence of detention in a youth facility, which is often suspended on probation in the judgment.
183.As regards the penal system for young female detainees in the Länder Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Bremen, Hesse, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia, the family problems described by the Committee do not hold true. On the contrary, the Länder provide for generous visiting rights in order to foster young detainees’ relationships with their families. This applies especially where girls and young women from Hamburg, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein are placed in a central facility (Vechta Prison in Lower Saxony) to serve youth custody sentences. Absolute numbers as regards detained young female detainees are consistently low, which shows that deprivation of liberty is used only as a measure of last resort. The juvenile justice system applies an educational, gender-specific and age-appropriate approach.
184.Under Germany’s federal structure the 16 Länder are responsible for prison system legislation and its implementation. An overview of the diverse and individually tailored measures and programmes for (continuing) education, treatment, reintegration, sports and leisure-time activities for young female detainees available in the Länder is provided in Annex 3.
Recommendation 60: Immigrant, refugee, asylum-seeker and minority women
1.Promoting integration and interests
185.The Coalition Agreement sets out migrant women’s organizations to be increasingly included as partners promoting integration, particularly national organizations active across Germany by means of training courses for multipliers and financial support for their establishment. BMFSFJ organized two national conventions for migrant women and their organizations Germany which looked into various key issues, e.g. equal opportunities in the labour market. The events were primarily geared to women with a migration background planning to get involved in a migrant women’s organization. The convention offered up to 300 participants the opportunity to improve their qualifications and to network.
186.Following the second convention BMFSFJ, in cooperation with the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, launched a three-year model project in November 2013 which supports DAMIGRA regarding its establishment, development and professionalization. The project goals include promoting the legal, political and social equality of migrant women, as well as representing migrant women in politics, in public and in the media. DAMIGRA was founded to engage in lobby and public relations work at federal level (See also recommendation 38). The online forum for migrant women (www.migrantinnenforum.de), which BMFSFJ made available between December 2012 and 2014 and which DAMIGRA has now taken over, offers interested migrant women the possibility to network, to learn about new developments and to provide information about their own organization.
2.Protection against violence
187.The Action Plan II to Combat Violence against Women focuses in particular on women and girls with a migration background. Measures to protect migrant women against violence are increased. Special measures are being implemented regarding human trafficking, especially for the purpose of sexual exploitation and work exploitation, and for FGM. The social and political participation of women with a migration background is promoted in order to strengthen their autonomy and to thus prevent violence. Germany supports the fight against forced marriage through targeted projects (see also the remarks concerning recommendation 41). Networking offices supported by BMFSFJ, as the Shelter Coordination, the Federal Association of Women’s Advice Centres, Women’s Helplines and KOK e. V. also provide continuous measures for this target group.
188.The “Violence against Women” helpline is also available to migrant women (see recommendation 44). For migrant women to access the helpline’s support, it is available in 15 different languages and takes account of their particular situation. Where required, the women are referred to facilities which can provide support via local contacts.
189.Furthermore, the Act to Combat Forced Marriage and to Better Protect Victims of Forced Marriage and to Amend Other Provisions of Asylum and Residence Law of 2011 created a separate offence against forced marriage. Additionally, it introduced a separate right of return for the victims of forced marriage into the Residence Act.
190.Finally, the new directives on asylum known as the Common European Asylum System (CEAS), especially the Reception Directive and the Asylum Procedure Directive contain additional provisions considering the specific situation of vulnerable persons upon reception and during implementation of the asylum procedure. “Vulnerable persons” include pregnant women, single mothers with children under the age of 18, and those who have suffered torture, rape or other serious forms of violence, including FGM. The directives are implemented in German law by July 2015.
191.The Federal Government funds low-threshold courses to integrate immigrant women (“women-courses”). They target immigrant women with a permanent residence title who need to integrate and who are difficult to reach by means of other integration services. These women are empowered to fulfil their function as bridges between their families and society, and they are informed about integration and counselling services.
192.Since their introduction in 2007, these courses have addressed prevention of violence, especially protection against domestic violence. However, this sensitive issue needs an atmosphere of trust. The topic of “non-violent communication in the family” is used to discuss different roles of women, questions regarding their rights, conflicts in the family and suitable conflict resolution strategies. The women teaching these courses take advanced training courses on domestic violence and forced marriage so they can refer victims to qualified advice centres and other assistance. The concept was updated in 2012 to include also “protection against domestic violence”. Information materials, e.g. a flyer about forced marriage and online searches for specific counselling offices and shelters, were included. In 2012, information on forced marriage was offered to integration courses (German and orientation courses).
3.Measures to integrate migrant women into the labour market
193.Promoting the integration of migrant women into the labour market and simultaneously countering discrimination are matters of great concern to the Federal Government. Emphasis is given to the national ESF-programme for job-related language courses for people with a migration background, launched in 2007 and. The share of women taking part in the programme is 60 per cent, which shows that it especially attracts women. Moreover, the national programme on labour market support for asylum seekers and refugees aims to integrate asylum seekers and refugees without a permanent residence title into the labour market (term: 2008-2014). Gender mainstreaming is respected when implementing these programmes.
194.Furthermore, the “Integration through Qualification (IQ)” programme, initiated by BMAS and implemented in cooperation with the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the BA, has become one of Germany’s key labour market policy instruments. The focus during the current phase of the programme is on qualifying migrants under the Federal Recognition Act. The training courses on intercultural openness and diversity available under the programme consider gender-specific factors and are therefore particularly relevant in improving the situation of migrant women in the labour market. The employment rate of women with a migration background (between 20 and 64) rose from 54.8 per cent in 2007 to 60.4 per cent in 2012. Their employment rate is thus lower than that of men with a migration background (2007: 72.7 per cent; 2012: 77 per cent) and of women in general (2007: 66.7 per cent; 2012: 71.5 per cent). Nevertheless, it rose comparatively strongly by 5.6 percentage points.
195.The new ESF-programme “Strong Careers — Mothers with a Migration Background Start Out” that establishes career opportunities for women and helps them transition into the workforce, also contributes to integrating mothers with a migration background into the labour market. It focuses on better coordinating access to available measures and support to the individual needs of this group and to close gaps in the integration process (see also recommendation 38).
196.Unlike other groups of migrants, e.g. those from the European Union, asylum seekers and tolerated persons are subject to a waiting period during which they are not permitted to work in Germany. In November 2014 this waiting period was reduced to three months (compared to one year previously, then nine months, for asylum seekers and one year previously for persons with discretionary leave to remain). The “priority check”, where the BA examines whether a particular position can be filled with someone who is entitled, is dropped after 15 months.
4.Statistics and data
197.In order to find out more about migrant women’s organizations and their needs, BMFSFJ commissioned the “Migrant Women’s Organizations in Germany”, which was published in November 2010. It presented various types of self-organizing bodies: education-oriented, politically-oriented, professional and leisure-time oriented. The study also provides information about the structure, tasks and members of the organizations. Furthermore, it shows that migrant women’s organizations often provide support to overcome discriminatory structures and build bridges to other parts of society.
198.With BMFSFJ study “Forced Marriage in Germany — Number and Analysis of Advice Centres” the knowledge available in counselling facilities across Germany was for the first time surveyed and systematically analysed regarding people who are vulnerable to or victims of forced marriage. Moreover, funding was provided to an intercultural online advice for victims of forced marriage. The project evaluation contains important information on the new instrument.
199.The Länder are extremely interested in protecting and better integrating minorities into society.
Recommendation 62: Dialogue with NGOs regarding Intersexual and Transsexual People
200.Germany complied with the Committee’s request to social dialogue on intersexuality and transsexuality. Reference is made to the interim report which Germany already submitted to the Committee. On 17 December 2010 the Federal Government commissioned the German Ethics Council with drawing up a report on the situation of and challenges faced by intersex people. The Opinion, which the German Ethics Council published on 23 February 2012 (Bundestag Printed Paper 17/9088), was written with the participation of and after hearing experts and relevant organizations of intersex people. It deals comprehensively with the specific situation of intersex people in Germany. The Opinion summarises the current state of research and makes recommendations which the German Ethics Council feels would be suited to improving the situation of intersex people overall.
201.BMFSFJ has continued its dialogue with non-governmental organizations and in May 2013 organized a conference on “Living between the Sexes” together with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. A total of 80 medical experts, political actors and intersex people were able to exchange their views on the German Ethics Council’s Opinion at this event.
202.In response to the recommendations made by the German Ethics Council, the Federal Government, in a first step, amended the Civil Status Act in 2013. According to a new regulation, when registering a birth, parents need not enter the child’s sex if this cannot unequivocally be established. The provision aims to relieve parents of the pressure of having to establish the sex of their child immediately after birth and thus of carrying out sex reassignment surgery hastily.
203.Under the Coalition Agreement it is agreed that this amendment to the law of civil status in favour of intersex people will be evaluated, possibly extended and the specific situation of transsexual and intersex people emphasized.
204.Hence, an Inter-Ministerial Working Group on Intersexuality/Transsexuality was founded in September 2014, for which BMFSFJ has overall responsibility. The Working Group will look in great detail into the demands of the German Ethics Council and resolutions drawn up on its basis (resolution of the Conference of Ministers of Health of 26 June 2013, motion of the German Bundesrat of 14 March 2014, resolution of the Conference of Ministers of Youth and Family Affairs of 22/23 May 2014, resolution of the Conference of Ministers an Senators Responsible for Gender Equality of 1/2 October 2014), it will involve organizations of intersex and transsexual people and, if necessary, propose corresponding legislative amendments.
In a working arrangement the Working Group agreed to successively address the following:
•Development and consolidation of counselling, educational and preventive structures;
•Examination of necessary legislative amendments;
•Analysis of the factual and legal situation of transgender persons.
205.In addition, BMFSFJ will be promoting several projects on combating transphobia and homophobia as part of its national “Living Democracy” programme.
Recommendation 63: Implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action
206.The Platform for Action and its follow-up documents represent an important guideline regarding gender equality policy in Germany and the European Union. Its comprehensive approach is implemented by means of measures, legislation and activities. The Federal Government completes the Economic Commission for Europe Questionnaire on the Implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action every five years. In the last questionnaire, submitted in June 2014, Germany reported on detailed progress made (Annex 1).
207.Furthermore, the various presidencies of the Council of the European Union have since 1999 developed quantitative and qualitative indicators for 11 out of the 12 areas of concern referred to in the Platform for Action in order to monitor progress made on implementing the goals of the Platform across the European Union. Each year, the Council has accepted the conclusions on these indicators. The European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) was founded in 2006 with key involvement of Germany as chair of its management board until 2012. The task of EIGE is, inter alia, to develop methods for improving the comparability and reliability of data related to gender equality. Since 2010 EIGE has given key support to the Council of the European Union and its presidencies regarding the follow-up measures to the Beijing Platform for Action by reviewing the area of concern selected by each respective presidency.
Recommendation 64: Millennium Development Goals
208.Germany has adopted the Millennium Declaration and undertaken to implement the Millennium Development Goals. German development policy makes important and substantial contributions to achieving the Goals. Promoting gender equality and empowering women is a binding goal and consistent principle applied to German development cooperation. All the measures implemented regarding gender equality and empowering women thus contribute directly or indirectly to achieving the Goals.
209.Germany is actively committed to improving the employment situation and working conditions of women (Goal 1 and Goal 3), access for girls and women to education (Goal 2 and Goal 3), reducing maternal mortality and improving access to healthcare services (Goal 5). Additionally, strengthening the participation generally and in decision making as well as the representation of women, reducing school drop-out rates for girls, promoting the realization of sexual and reproductive rights, and supporting measures for preventing and combating gender-specific violence are key matters of concern for Germany.
210.In Guinea, for instance, Germany is involved in enabling socially disadvantaged girls in rural regions to successfully complete their primary education. They are given remedial lessons in French, mathematics and health education. Additionally, advanced training courses for teachers and better teaching materials contribute to girls and boys equally exercising their rights to education.
211.Germany is helping to improve the employment situation of women in the MENA region. Young women e.g. receive professional orientation support through mentoring projects in order to prepare their transition from higher education to working life.
212.Germany is committed to a transformative and human rights-based post-2015 agenda. It advocates a target system which systematically and consistently enshrines gender equality and implementation of the rights of women and girls in the post-2015 agenda for sustainable development. This includes combating gender-specific violence and realizing sexual and reproductive health and rights for women and girls. The Federal Government’s report on Germany’s position in negotiations on the post-2015 agenda was published in December 2014. It sets out that Germany will advocate maintaining the substance of the current proposal put forward by the Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals: an independent gender goal and gender mainstreaming in other target areas.
Recommendation 65: Ratification of other conventions
213.Germany has already ratified the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance on 24 September 2009 and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on 24 February 2009.
Recommendations 11, 66: Dissemination of the concluding observations
214.The concluding observations were forwarded to all the relevant federal and Land ministries. The Convention, its Optional Protocol, the Committee’s general recommendations and the other documents to which the Committee refers are widely disseminated by BMFSFJ via its website and brochures about the Convention. BMFSFJ also has new general recommendations made by the Committee translated and makes these translations available to non-governmental organizations. The Federal Government also provides financial support to the German Institute for Human Rights, which maintains a detailed website with links to all important documents relating to the Convention.
Recommendation 67: Follow-up to the concluding observations
215.Germany sent the Committee its interim report on 5 August 2011. The recommendations made by the Committee on 4 November 2011 were taken into account and commented on in the present report.