German human rights policy under scrutiny

In HSFK-Standpunkt 03/2013 Jonas Wolff deals with the question to what extent the internationally codified human rights actually serve as the basis for German foreign policy

German foreign policy asserts the claim to be both value-oriented as well as directed by national interests. Whether one argues about the balance between the two, partially conflicting, principles or about the strategic options of cooperation with versus confronting the “villains” – the normative criteria that are invoked are not at issue.


Jonas Wolff in HSFK-Standpunkt 03/2013 Von Werten und Schurken. Menschenrechte, Demokratie und die normativen Grundlagen deutscher Außenpolitik identifies the German foreign policy’s conception of human rights as a classic liberal and thus a particular one as compared with the United Nations human rights pacts. This results in discrepancies between the political decisions and the internationally codified norms that are referred to as their basis of legitimacy. The author analyzes the consequences that a broad conception of human rights bears for the assessment of German politics, as well as the implications for the future orientation of foreign affairs.


This HSFK-Standpunkt is available as a free PDF download (in German).