Germany: Embrace the power of diversity, says UN expert

Berlin/Geneva, 9 December, 2022.- Germany must embrace its rich cultural diversity and act more firmly to enable those marginalised to fully participate in shaping society, a UN expert said today.

At the end of a 13-day official visit to the country, the UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Alexandra Xanthaki, welcomed the richness of diversity supported by a very active civil society but was concerned that state structures, in public and cultural life, do not fully endorse and promote such diversity consistently.

In her end of mission statement, the UN expert commended the State’s support of forward-looking initiatives addressing the exclusion of marginalised individuals and groups from cultural life, but highlighted that such initiatives have to be coordinated and mainstreamed. “Recent successes on promoting LGBTIQ+ rights could act as a guide for other excluded groups, including migrants and persons facing intersectional discrimination,” the expert said.

Xanthaki said that many long-term migrants are not guaranteed equal access and effective participation in the cultural sector, services and institutions. “The state must ensure better awareness, understanding of and interaction with migrant cultures, values, visions and histories.”

The Special Rapporteur welcomed initiatives for the restitution of colonial cultural objects and the ongoing discussion on how to better address colonialism.

“The implementation of cultural rights within the state will benefit from greater awareness of the international human rights State obligations,” Xanthaki said.

During her visit, the UN expert met Government officials, at the federal, regional and local levels, members of Parliament and representatives of cultural institutions and agencies, civil society, artists, academics and representatives of cultural communities, as well as the German Institute for Human rights and representatives of the international community. She visited museums and memorialisation sites dedicated to the history of migrations.

The Special Rapporteur will submit a full report on her visit to the Human Rights Council in March 2024

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