German foreign minister says rights under pressure worldwide

BERLIN (dpa)- Human rights are under pressure across the world, including in western countries, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told parliament in Berlin on Thursday.
Speaking during a debate on the government's report on its human rights policy, Maas noted that prisoners were being tortured to death in Syria, more than 1 million Uighurs were detained in camps in China and that opposition leaders in Venezuela were being persecuted.

"We are sometimes subject to dangerous illusions when we talk about progress," Maas told the Bundestag. "There is no automatic mechanism for progress in human rights."
Noting current setbacks, he called on Germany's partners in the European Union to act in unison to increase their leverage.
Globalization, digitalization and climate change had all impacted human rights, Maas said. The government report showed that Germany could not rest on its laurels.
"An assessment of the national plan of action for business and human rights made clear than most companies do not yet fulfil the plan's programme," he said, as under a fifth of all companies were currently implementing the duty of care provisions.

Thursday, December 12th 2019

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