Projects of the 9th Cycle of HLCMR (2017/18)

Project 1: International Criminal Law and Legal Responsibility – Legal reconditioning of crimes of dictatorships in Chile (Colonia Dignidad)

Cooperation partner: European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)

Since 2011 ECCHR has been working to address the human rights violations at Colonia Dignidad and the sect’s collaboration with the Pinochet dictatorship. The primary aim is to support the judicial proceedings in Chile through legal action in Germany. Colonia Dignidad, founded by the German Paul Schäfer in 1961, was a fortress-like German settlement in central Chile, where grave human rights violations were committed over several decades. Opponents of the Pinochet regime (1973-1990) “disappeared”, were tortured and murdered in the enclave. The former doctor of the settlement Hartmut Hopp was the leader’s right hand and represented the Colonia Dignidad in external affairs. On 14 August 2017 the District Court of Krefeld made the overdue decision to enforce the judgment of Chilean courts against Hopp in Germany.

Now it is a matter of urging the German investigative authorities to investigate Hopp’s role as a contact person during the military dictatorship, to analyze the (criminal) law and if necessary also to act against potential accomplices in Germany.

Project 2: The influence of gender stereotypes in criminal proceedings on sexual violence – a violation of human rights

Cooperation partner: JUMEN e.V. (Legal human rights work in Germany) in cooperation with the Federal Association of Women’s Advice Centers and Women’s Emergency Response Women against Violence e.V. (bff)

In the 2016/2017 cycle, two HLCMR students (together with JUMEN and the bff) conducted trial observations at the Criminal Court in Alt-Moabit. This project follows on from the findings.

The project has the following aims:
1. Using the existing human rights conventions to identify what is defined as gender stereotypes in the judiciary and how they are legally classified.

2. It will be investigated which procedures are available on a national, European and international level, which requirements exist for their admissibility and which (practical) advantages and disadvantages from a strategic litigation perspective appear to be linked to the individual procedures.

Project 3: Development of a guideline for consultants of Amaro Foro

Cooperation partner: Amaro Foro

In order to develop competences for legal means of action, the social counselors and anti-discrimination advisers of Amaro Foro e.V. require basic knowledge in the area of ​​criminal law and anti-discrimination law.

The internship takes place within the framework of the projects “Contact point for European Roma and non Roma” and “Documentation of anti-Gypsy motivated incidents”. On the basis of the daily counseling cases and the recorded anti-gypsy incidents, a counseling guide on basic knowledge in the area of ​​criminal law and anti-discrimination law is to be developed and used within the counseling work.

Project 4: An anti-discrimination law is born

Cooperation partner: Senate Department for Justice, consumer protection and anti-discrimination

The project supports the plan to get the draft of an  Anti-Discrimination Law for Berlin (LADG) to be approved by the Senate and brought into Parliament within the next six months. Following the last law clinic cycle, in which two students contributed to the drafting process, the aim is to review and evaluate the statements of associations, parliamentary parties and other Senate Administrations. This is done in close coordination with the State Office for Equal Treatment – Against Discrimination (LADS) and the head of the senator’s office Alexander Klose, who the intern will work with.
If all goes well, there may be a brief “comment” on the LADG at the end of the project, which will hopefully just have come into effect by then.

Project 5: The right to birth registration

Cooperation partner: Monitoring body for the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child of the German Institute for Human Rights

With the increase in numbers of refugees in Germany in 2015 and 2016, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child has received reports of problems with the issuing of birth certificates for German-born children of refugees. If the parents do not have sufficient proof of identity, e.g. no own birth certificates, the registry offices do not issue birth certificates for their newborn children.

Within the framework of the cooperation, the monitoring body UN Convention on the Rights of the Child would like to have a wording proposed for changes to the existing provisions in the PStG and in the PStV. For this purpose, a discussion on the topic of birth registration and personal status law as well as the problems occurring in practice should take place first. Subsequently, concrete drafting proposals should be worked out and weighed against each other, in order to improve the current situation.

Project 6: Claim for non-discriminatory legal education

Cooperation partner: Deutscher Juristinnenbund e.V.

“On average, women have better final grades than men, but perform significantly worse in the legal exam. The reason for this is difficult to identify. Some suspect that it might be because of women being too well- rated in high school. Others raise the question of whether women are discriminated against in the exam. These questions have not yet been considered in the current discussions on the reform of legal education. Discrimination and inequalities have so far not been discussed in this matter. It is time for a change in order to make law studies non-discriminatory and inclusive.” What is said here on the topic of sexism can be transferred onto other types of discrimination, such as racism. In addition, discrimination often happens intersectionally.

Against this background, it is the task of the project to check the following:
1. Can a claim to non-discriminatory legal education be made in a state-monopolized training program such as law school?
2. Which legal counterarguments exist?
3. Which possibilities of law enforcement are there?

Project 7: Human remains – claims for the return of human bones brought to Germany during colonial rule

Cooperation partner: Berlin Postkolonial e.V.

In German universities, museums and inter alia in the depots of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (SPK) numerous bones of people from former European and especially from German colonies are still stored. These human remains have generally been brought to Germany for anthropological-ethnological and “racial-scientific research purposes”.The “procurement” took place in different ways (acquisition of “trophy heads”, grave robbery, removal of the bones of the deceased and killed, etc.). In part, this was done on behalf of state museums and directly through the colonial “Schutztruppen” (meaning: protection force).

The project aims to investigate the extent to which repayment claims for human bones exist in international law, which can be made 1.) by the Source Communities and 2.) by relatives / descendants of individually identifiable dead (such as the Tanzanian resistance leader Mangi Meli).

Project 8: The (legal) responsibility of health insurance companies for medically unintentional interventions on intersexual infants

Cooperation partner: Paritätischer Wohlfahrtsverband – Gesamtverband e.V.

From both, the perspective of intersex people and of human right committees, medically unnecessary interventions on intersexual infants and children without explicit and informed consent are inhumane treatments and harmful practices that must be stopped.

In recent years, primarily the responsibility of parents and the “treating” doctors has been discussed, however, the question of whether health insurance companies should not be  allowed to cover such interventions and are therefore responsible for services they assume costs of, has not been raised. This question could be dealt with by the Humboldt Law Clinic regarding basic and human rights.

The first results of the expertise can be presented and discussed at the workshop on the life situations of intersexual people in Germany at the Paritätischer Verbandstag 2018 (meaning: equal association conference). In this sense, the internship is embedded in the annual campaign “man you are right” and this year’s Association Day of the Joint Welfare Association on the topic of human rights.

Project 9: Access to justice for minors, child-friendly justice, UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Cooperation partner: Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk e.V

The Children’s Rights Coordination Unit of the German Children’s Fund, together with the Monitoring Center UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (DIMR), would like to draw attention to the needs of children in the justice system and the remaining gaps – with the aim of implementing the Council of Europe’s guidelines to support child-friendly justice through analyses and impulses for action.

The Coordination Center is now planning a conference on child-friendly justice. At this conference, the situation of children in the justice system in Germany will be presented. Existing child-legal deficiencies will be discussed. The conference will focus on children’s barriers to the justice system, the implementation of their right to participate and the consideration of their interests in the justice system. As a result concrete recommendations for action are to be worked out for different actors.

Projects of the 8th Cycle of HLCMR (2016/17)

Project 1: Triangle constellations:  Discrimination by colleagues and third parties – an examination of legal possibilities for the handling of employees

Cooperation partner: contact point for anti-discrimination and diversity in schools (ADAS)

The AGG basically only applies between contract partners. But discrimination also takes place through third parties. § 12 para. 4 AGG provides for further protection. It is controversial and unclear to what extent employers are liable for their own organizational violations and for violations of their obligation to intervene in accordance with § 12 AGG or for third-party behavior attributable to the general provisions of the BGB. §§ 19 ff. AGG contain no regulation for the liability of third parties. Organizational duties e.g. of landlords are not included in the civil law part of the AGG. Only the general attribution regulations come into consideration here: a violation of contractual obligations to protect and thus a liability under § 280 BGB or tortious organizational duties that trigger liability under § 823 paragraph 1 BGB to protect against discrimination by third parties. In this context, there is considerable uncertainty in the application of the AGG as to which basis for claim and attribution regulations apply.

In this project, a legal opinion on the basis of claims and attribution rules in connection with triangular constellations according to the AGG was drawn up based on specific cases to be selected together with the ADS.

Project 2: Lonmin, BASF and the massacre of Marikana – Liability for human rights violations of german companies in the lobal south according to § 823 BGB

Cooperation partner: European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)

The “Business and Human Rights” program area focuses on the search for legal opportunities to hold transnationally operating companies in their home countries in Europe, North America etc. responsible for their direct or indirect involvement in human rights violations. It can be about labor rights, land grabbing, health problems, water pollution, displacement, or even the violent suppression of the resisting victims.

This project was about German and European arms exports. The students have identified links to concrete human rights violations and searched for possible criminal and administrative measures or other means of holding them liable.

Project 3: Gender stereotypes and rape myth in criminal proceedings

Cooperation partner: JUMEN e.V. (Legal human rights work in Germany) in cooperation with Bundesverband Frauenberatungsstellen and Frauennotrufe Frauen gegen Gewalt e.V. (uff)

In the summer of 2016, the German parliament passed a fundamental reform of criminal law relating to sexual offences. Beyond the formally established law, the impact of rape myths and cultural stereotypes on “typical” female and male sexual behavior as well as on “typical” behavior of victims played and plays a very important role in practice. In the framework of this project, it was 1. investigated on an empirical level at which specific moments of the processes taking androcentric interpretative patterns as a basis and stereotypes discriminating women poses a problem (qualitative interviews with trainees, process observations), and 2. legally analyzed whether and to what extent joint plaintiffs in criminal proceedings (also against the background of the decisions of the CEDAW Committee and the ECtHR), they can defend against the reproduction of rape myths and stereotypes discriminating against women. Depending on the outcome of the analysis, it should be examined whether it is possible to file a constitutional complaint before the Federal Constitutional Court.

Project 4: Human rights violations against disabled migrants and asylum seekers in Germany

Cooperation partner: Federal office of Representation of interests self-determined life in Germany e. V. (ISL)

Disabled migrants and asylum seekers belong to several disadvantaged groups, those with a migrant background, refugee status and special status in terms of residence legislation and disabled people. As a result, they are affected by multidimensional discrimination. There are various causes for this: stereotypes and prejudices in the German population, information deficits and racist, ableistian and social Darwinistic discourses. However, there are also legal disadvantages that contradict the human rights obligations of the Federal Republic of Germany. With the new Federal Law on Participation, benefits of the integration assistance should even be expressly withheld from asylum seekers (§ 100 draft of a law to strengthen the participation and self-determination of people with disabilities).

In this work, the discriminatory legal provisions, which violate the human rights of disabled migrants and asylum seekers, were put together in an overview. The need for reform was clarified with as concrete recommendations as possible.

Project 5: BACK ME UP! The Rights of Transgender Children in Accessing Healthcare under the UN Convention of Childrens Rights

Cooperation partner: Transgender Europe (TGEU)

TGEU’ s work on the representation of trans people and the advocacy of their human rights. Primarily, it addresses the European Union like the European Union and the European Union, and thus has a research project and cooperates on a global level. Currently, EU law covers people in the fields of employment, access to goods and services and as victims of crime and asylum seekers. However, in many other areas trans peoples’ rights need to be enforced. Several measures could help to improve the situation of people living in Europe, as well as the introduction of an EU Roadmap on LGBTI equality to strengthen equality as well as the adoption of an internal human rights strategy adoption of a comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation. This project is about to become a legal problem concerning trans people’s human rights.

Project 6: Born, registered – and then? Problems with birth registration of refugee children in Germany and their consequences

Cooperation partner: Monitoring body for the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child of the German Institute for Human Rights

As the national human rights institution of Germany in accordance with the Paris Principles of the United Nations, the German Institute for Human Rights has the task of contributing to the protection and promotion of human rights in Germany. Accordingly, it advises politics and civil society on issues of human rights obligations of the German state. In addition, the institute operates and promotes human rights education in Germany, disseminates information about human rights and strengthens civil society in the use of national and international procedures for the implementation and protection of human rights. The monitoring body for the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child was newly established in the summer of 2015 at the institute. Its task as an independent body is to observe and monitor the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in Germany and to act at the interface between legislation and the reality of children’s lives.

Project 7: Red-red-green internal and legal policy in Berlin – half-year results

Cooperation partner: Fraction Bündnis 90/Die Grünen in the Berlin House of Representatives

SPD, Die Linke and Bündnis 90/Die Grünen have agreed in their Berlin coalition agreement to the fact that the protection of fundamental rights for them in the next five years will be paramount. A state anti-discrimination law, a representative for the Berlin police, the reform of the protection of the constitution, the prohibition of racial profiling and the revocation of powers of intervention are only a few concrete projects, on whose implementation this claim of the coalition will have to be measured.

The task of the project was to examine, based on selected topics in the area of ​​domestic and legal policy, which changes are required from a fundamental and human rights perspective, which challenges in political and regulatory practice exist and which steps are taken during the first six months.

Project 8: Equal rights for children of EU citizenship from Bulgaria and Romania

Cooperation partner: Amaro Foro

In this project, a legal opinion has been prepared, which includes the following questions:

1. What are the benefits of EU citizens, including children who are legally resident in Germany, according to the current legal situation (child allowance, “Kitagutschein”, etc.) depending on the right of free movement in the context of the principle of equal treatment pursuant to Article 24 para. 1 of the directive 2004/38 / EC ( Free Movement Directive) and Article 4 of regulation 883/2004 on the coordination of social security systems
2. What are the requirements for authorities / offices to handle applications for family benefits from EU citizens?
3. Is the establishment of an extra family fund for EU citizens in Nuremberg lawful?
4. Are the recommendations of the documents adopted by the Federal Government in 2014 »Interim Report of the Secretary of State Committee on Legal Questions and Challenges in the Use of Social Security Systems by Members of the EU Member States« and the corresponding final report lawful? If not, how can legal action be taken against them? With which resource applications and prospects of success?
5.  Are the described discriminatory practices unlawful? If so, how can legal action be taken against them?

In particular, the following were examined: UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, EU Law, Basic Law (especially Art. 3 GG), § 33 c SGB I.

Projects of the 7th Cycle of HLCMR (2015/16)

Project 1: Business and Human Rights – Feminization of Textile Industry in Bangladesh

Cooperation partner: European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)

The program “Business and Human Rights” ECCHR deals with the search for legal ways to make transnationally operating companies accountable in their home countries (Europe, North America etc.) for their direct or indirect involvement in human rights violations. Topics cover labor rights, land grabbing, health, water pollution, displacement or even violent repression of struggling victims. This year’s project is about the feminization of the textile industry in Bangladesh and evolves around the legal evaluation of this phenomenon on the basis of human rights and feminist perspectives.

Project 2: Yogyakarta Principles for Inter*!

Cooperation partners: Hirschfeld-Eddy-Stiftung und RA Dirk Siegfried
The aim of the project is the discussion about a reformulation of the Yogyakarta principles, based on difficulties for inter*persons. First, experiences of inter*people are being gathered, recorded and presented in order to clarify to what extent the Yogyakarta Principles did not give thought to inter*. In addition, it is planned to organize an event on the subject and to publish an article in an English-speaking magazine making the discussion visible in Germany and contributing to the international debate on human rights for inter*.

Project 3: Police Complaints Bodies

Cooperation partner: RA Carsten Ilius
The aim of the project is to develop the legal and political offered requirements for competencies and obligations of an independent police complaints body for police authorities of federal / state governments. These should include, in particular independent, public and stakeholder involvement. It shall take the experience in other European countries, especially the United Kingdom, into account.
As Carsten Ilius is accessory prosecutor in the NSU process, there ist he possibility of taking a look at the trial, particularly regarding structurally racist police investigations.

Project 4: Access to Justice – For Children!

Cooperation partner: Monitoring-Stelle zur UN- Kinderrechtskonvention des Deutschen Instituts für Menschenrechte
Students are asked to identify in which of the legal complaint bodies, there is particular need for information of children and young people regarding access to the respective appeals.
Finally, the students will develop – in collaboration with a graphic design agency – short explaining video clips (or other child- and youth-friendly information channels). The video clips will be presented through a consultation with various stakeholders in this field at the end of the project and therefore facilitate access to justice for children and young people.

Projekt 5: Trans Children and the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Cooperation partner: Transgender Europe (TGEU)
TGEU´s work focuses on the representation of trans people and the advocacy of their human rights. Primarily, it addresses European institutions (p.e. the Council of Europe), but the general aim is to advance trans peoples’ rights not only in Europe, but globally.
Transgender children and minors are often target of violence, discrimination an stigmatization. On a regular basis they face unsettling challenges, particularly, during their school years, when trying to achieve legal gender recognition or when gaining acces to transrelated health services. The Convention on the Rights of a Child (UN-CRC) states child-specific rights (p.e. the freedom of expression, or the right of protection against the interference with their privacy) as well as obligations for member states to ensure these rights (p.e. measures to ensure protection and care as necessary for a child’s wellbeing).
The objective of this year’s project is to point out the relevant UN-CRC rights and states‘ obligations for transgender minors as well as to demonstrate how these rights can actually be enforced and exercised.

Project 6: Responsibility of Service Providers for the Establishment of Accessibility

Cooperation partner: Landesbeauftragter für Menschen mit Behinderung und ambulante dienste e. V. in Berlin
With the 2001 summary of the severely disabled and rehabilitation law in SGB IX, a common legal basis for almost all performance areas of rehabilitation and participation was created and evolved into a right to equal participation of people with disabilities in social life. Through the commencement of the UN CRPD, the legal framework has changed.
Against this background, the students deal with the following questions:

  1. If the manufacture and supply of accessible social services can not be ensured at the level of the Joint Federal Committee or at the state level, can a direct obligation be derived of UN CRPD? What would it mean in concrete problem situations for the responsible service providers?
  2. How can the framework of the UN CRPD look like in legal arrangements between state level and service providers?

Project 7: Legal and Refugee Policy in Berlin

Cooperation partner: Fraktion Bündnis 90/Die Grünen im Abgeordnetenhaus von Berlin
In legal policies of the states, the penal system plays an important role. Even more so as Parliament in the course of the federalism reform in the coming year will adopt its own penal code in Berlin. to criticism from fundamental and human rights perspective is i.a. the obligation to work of prisoners and their right to unionize.
In the area of refugee policy, topics range from type and level of benefits for refugees, especially for unaccompanied minors, to questions of accommodation and medical (minimum) supply and the access to education.
The aim of the project is to develop a fundamental and human legally sound answer in the form of a Parliament request, a position paper or discussion points.

Project 8: Immunity of Diplomats as an Obstacle to Law Inforcement for Victims of Human Trafficking and Slavery

Cooperation partner: Ban Ying e.V.
Diplomats in Germany enjoy immunity under international law. This makes it difficult for diplomat’s domestic workers to assert their rights against them as employers. Criticism of the diplomat’s status is aimed primarily against the abuse of diplomatic privileges in connection with the business and private use of these privileges in traffic, with thefts of goods in shops, department stores and gas stations and with the duties of a diplomat as employer. In different countries of the EU and the Council of Europe, people who have been subject to human traficking have filed criminal action.
In the project, these judgments are to be collected and compiled in an overview. The aim of the project is to develop a counseling guide that is specifically tailored to BanYing’s clients.

Project 9: Discrimination in Labor Migration of EU Officials

Cooperation partner: Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund (DGB)
In the course of European integration, but also economic crises, civil servants from EU countries are increasingly searching for professional prospects in Germany. Labour migration into German civil service is hampered by bureaucratic procedures and ineffective implementation of EU legislation.

Students are – involved in the preparation of strategically important appeals – in consultation with the affected labor union. Students are also involved in providing the legal and political transfer to other union branches and to other unions sure, for example by products for member magazines and blog posts. In addition, the students are involved when it comes to formulating legal policy demands for the systematic elimination of discrimination in employment law.

Project 10: Discrimination in Schools

Cooperation partners: Anlaufstelle Antidiskriminierung und Diversity an Schulen (ADAS) und RAin Hannah Bischof
The students’ task will be to create a legal guide for school counseling work after evaluating the counseling cases received by contact point and clearing rounds. The focus should be on discrimination at school. This makes it necessary to take into consideration – in addition to the protection against discrimination established in the Basic Law – the Berlin school law. An abridged version of these guidelines should be provided for victims as an information brochure.

Project 11: Counseling in Cases of Racial Discrimination

Cooperation partner: Antidiskriminierungsberatung Brandenburg bei der Opferperspektive e.V.
The need for support in cases of discrimination is high everywhere in Germany. In Brandenburg, in comparison to other provinces, there are less refugees, migrants and people with migrant backgrounds and those are widely scattered. They all have different origins and stories. What is common is that they often live isolated in a white majority German environment and experience everyday, structural and institutional racism (and multidimensional) discrimination in many areas of their lives.
Students will assist the advisor in legal issues and create several short legal opinions in discrimination-related issues.

Projects of the 6th Cycle of HLCMR (2014/15)

The sixth cycle of Humboldt Law Clinic Grund- und Menschenrechte started in the winter term 2014/15. 20 students of Law or Gender Studies are working with us and our partners in different projects on cases from the area of fundamental and human rights.
The cycle is supervised by Dr. Sarah Elsuni, Doris Liebscher, Juana Remus and Alexander Klose and consists of three elements: the foundational course (BZQ), a four-week internship, and the in-depth seminar.

Project 1: Business and Human Rights

Cooperation partner: European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)
In cooperation with the ECCHR students examine the tortious liability of companies in different countries, in particular the question whether and how human rights-principles could  be implemented in the interpretation and application of norms of torts.

Project 2: The Religious Privilege in § 9 General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) on the Test

Cooperation partner: Büro zur Umsetzung von Gleichbehandlung e.V. (BUG)
This project focusses on § 9 II AGG. According to this norm, discrimination on grounds of religion does not restrict religious communities and their associated facilities if these require a loyal and righteous behaviour from their employees – in terms of the respective self-image of the religious community. Based on a substantive legal analysis – carried out by students of the Law Clinic in 2011/12 – students of this year’s cycle will update, complete and prepare these informations for a possible legal dispute. This includes – in close coordination with the concerned lawyer – procedural and process-strategic considerations as well.

Project 3: Who is Protected by the General Equal Treatment (AGG)? A Theoretical-Legal Dogmatic Analysis of the Discrimination Categories: “Race and Ethnic Origin”

Cooperation partners: Antidiskriminierungsnetzwerks Berlin (ADNB) of the Türkischen Bundes (TBB)
Students examine the question of who being protected by the discrimination categories of § 1 AGG. What categories/features are symmetrical and protect both marginalized and privileged positions and which of these are asymmetrical. Special attentation is paid to the features of “race and ethnic origin”, and the question of “hostility against Germans” and discrimination on grounds of religional origin within Germany as discrimination by the AGG.
Furthermore, students developed the parallel report for the TBB to the National Report of the Federal Government to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Project 4: Jurisprudential Analysis on Harassment/Sexual Harassment and the General Equal Treatment Act (AGG)

Cooperation partner: Antidiskriminierungsstelle des Bundes (ADS)
In this project, existing jurisprudence of labour courts concerning harassment/sexual harassment since the entry into force of the AGG is being critically examined.

Project 5: “Assistance in Hospitals”?

Cooperation partner: Interessenvertretung Selbstbestimmt Leben in Deutschland e.V. (ISL)
The students’ task is a jurisprudential overview and analysis of cases when people wanted to bring their assistance under the law governing the assistance care needs in hospitals and this assistance was provided by a home care service – as well as an evaluation in light of CRPD and the constitution.

Projekt 6: Psychiatry in legal gender recognition procedures in Europe

Cooperation partner: Transgender Europe (TGEU)
For this project, students examine the legal situation in Europe concerning the role of psychological treatment in the sex determination of trans*people. The project takes place in English.

Project 7: The Protection of Victims and Periods of Reflection and Stabilization

Cooperation partner: Ban Ying e.V.
Two students examine how the protection of victims by periods of reflection and stabilization in accordance with §59 VII Residence Act (AufenthG)  is ensured for people situated in Germany who are identified as victims of trafficking due to concrete indications.

Project 8: The Use of V-People in the Far-Right Scene – Rule of Law Considerations by the Example of the NSU-Complex

Cooperation partner: Attorney-at-law Carsten Ilius
The students’ task will be to examine which fundamental and human rights standards exist and how these – regarding their failure in the non-disclosure of the NSU. Furthermore, with regard to the special operating conditions and the experience in other countries, students will pursue the question of what improvements are required for the control of investigative techniques.

Project 9: Individual Complaints Procedure to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child or Action to the European Court of Human Rights – Illustrated by the Access to Health Services for Refugee Children

Cooperation partner: Bundesfachverband Unbegleitete Minderjährige Flüchtlinge e.V.National Coalition Deutschland – Netzwerk für die Umsetzung der UN-Kinderrechtskonvention e.VKindernothilfe e.V.
The projects aims to show whether the path of the individual complaints procedure to the UN committee on the rights of the child or of an action to the european court of human rights would be more promising and effective – illustrated by the example of access to health services for refugee children.

Project 10: Parenthood of Trans* People

Cooperation partner: Attorney-at-law Inken Stern
Working closely with Inken Stern, students will develope a legal report whether trans* women – regardless of their sexual orientation – can receive parental rights in their gender identity and if so, how this can be implemented. This report is based on the recent judgements of the Federal Constitutional Court and shall outline the scope of protection for parents. Furthermore, the report will discuss – under the observance of the child’s best interest- recognition as a parent in their own gender and registration as such in the birth certificate taking into account the child’s best interests.

Projects of the 5th Cycle of HLCMR (2013/14)

Project 1: Business and Human Rights

Cooperation partner: European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)
In cooperation with the ECCHR and local NGOs students examined how to proceed against human rights violations of a transnational company.

Project 2: Discrimination und hate speech on the Internet

Cooperation partners: Antidiskriminierungsstelle des Bundes (ADS) and
In cooperation with students participating in the Humboldt Law Clinic Internetrecht students examine legal questions concerning right to privacy in the context of discriminatory actions on the Internet. In the course of the project guidelines were developed explaining whether there are legal claims and to show legal measures and possibilities out of court. Students developed a Policy Paper illustrating the need for action of legal policy.

Project 3: Justice of Gender and Family

Cooperation partner: Zentrale Frauenbeauftragte der Humboldt Universität zu Berlin
Subject of this project was the examination of temporary contract law in science regarding gender and family justice. Students developed recommendations of a possible revision.

Project 4: Racial Profiling and Strategic Litigation

Cooperation partner: Büro zur Umsetzung von Gleichbehandlung e.V. (BUG)
Students examined the discriminatory police practice of racial profiling and the connected problems in law enforcement. They developed propositions concerning strategic litigation from a human rights perspective.

Project 5: “Reasonal accommodation” in the Context of the General Act for Equal Treatment

Cooperation parter: Interessenvertretung Selbstbestimmt Leben in Deutschland e.V. (ISL)
Students examined the legal requirements for access to education and work for people with disabilities in the context of the General Act for Equal Treatment.

Project 6: Duty of Disclosure in the Right of Residence

Cooperation partner: Ban Ying e.V.
The students examined from a legal perspective to what extent courts have a duty of disclosure to immigration authorities, for example in cases of labor claims and if this duty is conforming to european and international law.

Project 7: Discrimination on the Grounds of Age or Disability

Cooperation partner: Lebenshilfe für Menschen mit geistiger Behinderung e.V. Landesverband Berlin
After examining previous consulting cases of the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency, students developed legal guide lines for the Agency’s advisory work. These guide lines focus on discrimination on grounds of age and disability.

Project 8: Deportation

Cooperation partners: Papatya – anonyme Kriseneinrichtung für junge Migrantinnen, Berlin and lawyer Sonja Schlecht
Students dealt with the legal situation of girls and women who had faced or were threatened of deportation in Germany.

Project 9: „Aceess to justice” in cases of sexualised violence

Cooperation partner: Deutsches Institut für Menschenrechte
Students researched whether the legal means of amicus curiae-letters in the area of sexualised violence had ever been made use of, consulted these persons and organisations and collected their experiences.

Project 10: Institutional and structural discrimination: theoretical, sociological and legal term definition

Cooperation partner: Attorney-at-law Carsten Ilius
The students’ task was to exmine which possibilties of intervention against structural and institutional racism on grounds of present anti-discrimination law. This required an in-depth term definition that brought together social and legal stocks of knowledge.

Project 11: Parenthood of trans* people

Cooperation partners:  TransInterQueer e.V. (TrIQ) and Attorney-at-law Barbara Wessel
Students examined in a report whether trans* women and men could obtain parental rights regardless of their sexual orientation and legal sex and if so, how these could be implemented.

Projects of the 4th Cycle of HLCMR (2012/13)

Project 1: Development of a Dossier on a Suspect War Criminal in Southeast Asia

Cooperation partner: European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)
Students developed a dossier on a suspect war criminal based on testimonies and extensive research on the Internet. This dossier will be used in the field of universal justice/international criminal law. If you have reasonable interest in this dossier, you can contact:

Projekt 2: Business and Human Rights

Cooperation partner: European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)
Students developed an OECD complaint to a national contact point to demand compliance to the OECD standard in Uzbekistan as part of the cotton crop and demanding actions from transnational companies trading cotton. I you hace reasonable interest in the complaint, you can contact:

Project 3: Guideline for Compensation Payments in Different Constellations of Discrimination

Cooperation partner: Antidiskriminierungsstelle des Bundes (ADS)
A criminal or misdemeanor sanctioning of discriminations is not provided in the General Equal Tretmen Act (AGG). There is, amongst others, the possibility of suing for damages and compensation (§§ 15, 21 AGG) in case of unjustified unequal treatment or harassment. Thus, crucial prerequisite for the effectiveness of non-discrimination is a reasonable amount of this compensation. Students conducted research and developed a table with reasonable proposals for compensation in different discrimination situations that could serve as a guideline for courts regarding the sanctioning of AGG-violations (§§ 15, 21 AGG).

Project 4: Art. 8 ECHR and the Church’s Right to Self-Determination

Cooperation partner: Deutsches Institut für Menschenrechte (DIMR)

Students examined how the autonomy of religious communities (Art. 140 Basic Law (GG) in conjunction with Art. 137 III Weimar Constitution (WRV), Art. 9 in conjunction with Art. 11 ECHR) behaves regarding the fundamental and human rights of ecclesiastical employees, in particular the right to privacy and family life (Art. 8 ECHR), and gave instructions for lawyers pratice for complaints against wrongful dismissals.

Project 5: Adoption Law in Same-Sex Partnerships

Cooperation partner: Lesben- und Schwulenverband in Deutschland (LSVD)
Students developed a legal report regarding adoption rights of same-sex partners. In particular, the different legal situation was compared and discussed in same-sex and mixed-sex partners in various constellations of adoption.

Project 6: The Civil Prohibition of Discrimination in the General Equal Treatment Act (AGG)

Cooperation partner: Rechte behinderter Menschen (rbm)
Students examined the civil prohibition of discrimination in AGG, paying special attention to the need, effectiveness, limits of justification according to § 20 AGG, enforcement and legal consequences.

Project 7: Legal Opinion on the Legality of the German Residence Arrangements

Cooperation partner: Kontakt- und Beratungsstelle für Flüchtlinge und MigrantInnen e.V. (KuB)
Students wrote a legal opinion on the legality of residence rights in an international comparison and compared them with higher-ranking law, as well as with European regulations. In particular, the practice of “repeated toleration certificates” (Kettenduldung) was examined and proposals for a humane right of residence were made.

Project 8: International Legal Justification for Integration Assistance Unrelated to Income and Assets on the Basis of the UN Sidability Rights Convention

Cooperation partner: Interessenvertretung Selbstbestimmt Leben in Deutschland e.V. (ISL)
Students examines the German legal situation regarding integration assistance for persons with disabilities and justified why this assistance should be granted unrelated to income and assets. Accordingly, the current practice of income and wealth crediting in the integration assistance for people with disabilities is inconsistent with UN CRPD and contrary to the Constitution.

Publications, press conference and use in court
The legal opinion was used by disability organisations as part of the current campaign for a law on social participation. The report can be found here. It was also published in the journal Sozialrecht aktuell 2/2014.
Recently, the report was introduced to the press in cooperation with the German government’s commissioner for the interests of the disabled. Read more here.
In addition, it was used by plaintiffs in a trial to the Landessozialgericht (LSG) Stuttgart,

Project 9: Development of a Legal Opinion on the Issue of Compensation Claims due to Surgery to Intersexual Children Diagnosed in Germany

Cooperation partner: Intersexuelle Menschen e.V.
After having reviewed many interventions on intersexual diagnosed children to determine a unique sex, the UN Committee stated these as a violation of the UN Convention Against Torture (CAT) (Clinic-Project “Intersexuality” of the first cycle). Now the question arises whether and to what extent individuals may file individual damages or compensation claims against the Federal Republic of Germany. Students developed a legal report and made recommendations for legal changes, for policies and the medical practice.
On the basis of this review, students also developed an essay: In the journal „Forum Recht“ 2/2014, Franziska Brachthäuser and Theresa Richartz analyse and criticize the change of the Personal Status Law, entered into force on 01.11.2013, titled “Das Nicht-Geschlecht”.
In June 2014 they presented their work in London at the international conference “Gender and „the law“ – Limits, Contestations and Beyond“. The lecture entitled “Intersexuality and Violence” on dealing with intersexuality in Germany was accepted with great interest.

Project 10: Anchoring the Issue of Equal Participation in the Berlin Higher Education Act

Cooperation partner: Zentrale Frauenbeauftragte der Humboldt Universität zu Berlin
Students examined § 59 of the Berlin Higher Education Act (BerlHG) which regulates the responsibilities of the women’s representative on changing needs and potentials as well as the possibilities of going beyond these principles anchoring the issue of equal participation in the BerlHG. They compared different regional regulations and developed a draft for a reform of § 59 BerlHG.

Project 11: Racial Profiling

Cooperation partners: Büro zur Umsetzung von Gleichbehandlung e.V. (BUG) and Kampagne für Opfer rassistischer Polizeigewalt (KOP)
Racial profiling (or ethnic profiling) describes the discriminatory use of attributes (such as skin color, ethnic/religious affiliation, origin or language) as the basis for creating suspect profiles, identity checks and searches without concrete evidence by the police (or security staff). Students examined these as a form of partice called institutionalized racism. They listed arguments of the authorities for such a pratice, analysed the state and federal statutory legal bases, discussed the control measures in the US and UK and examined the transferability to the German legal area.

Publication in the Juridicum.
On the basis of the review, Sarah Lisa Washington developed an essay which was published in the Juridikum 1/2014.


Projects of the 3rd cycle of HLCMR (2012/13)

Project 1: Extraterritorial Application of the ECHR

Partner: European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)
Students examined the applicability of the ECHR to out-of-area operations of the German army and chances for success of law suits in concrete cases.

Project 2: Business and Human Rights

Partner: European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)
The Clinic before the US Supreme Court
A team of the Humboldt Law Clinic was involved in the redaction of an amicus curiae brief which supports the claimants in the case of Kiobel v Dutch Petroleum in the US Supreme Court.
In this case, Nigerian claimants seek to bring the Dutch oil company Shell to justice for grave human rights violations committed in the Niger Delta. They base their claim on the Alien Torts Statute (ATS) which allows for aliens to bing tort claims in US courts. Governments from Great Britain, Denmark, and Germany had questioned the jurisdiction of US courts. The Supreme Court therefore exceptionally called for a second oral hearing on the question of jurisdiction for cases without relation to US territory.

Project 3: Surgery and forced sterilization of transsexuals

Partner: TransInterQueer e.V. (TriQ)
Since the Federal Constitutional Court declared unconstitutional the requirement of surgery for the chance of legal sex under the Transsexuals Act (TSG), students examined possible claims for damages of individuals affected by this requirement.

Project 4: Amicable settlement in discrimination conflicts

Partner: Antidiskriminierungsstelle des Bundes (ADS)
Students developed a manual for extrajudicial amicable settlement procedures of the Federal Anti-Discriminiation Agency in discrimination cases.

Project 5: Ethnically segregated classes

Partner: Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI)
Students developed a litigation strategy against the segregation of classes on the basis of native language or ethnicity in German schools as a violation of the constitutional prohibition on discrimination.

Project 6: Institutional racism in the German police and judiciary

Internship with: Deutsches Institut für Menschenrechte (DIMR)
The failure of the German authorities to discover the “NSU murders” – a series of ten killings and a bomb attack, committed by an underground Nazi cell between 2000 and 2007 – because of racist stereotypes against the victim community raised questions of institutional racism. The students drafted a background paper that provides an overview of the debate and recommends measures to combat institutional racism.

Project 7: Equal Opportunities at Universities

Partner: Landeskonferenz der Frauen- und Gleichstellungsbeauftragten (LAKOF)
Since 2011, the Berlin Universities Act (BerlHG) demands that all Berlin universities have by-laws on equal opportunities. The students developed a draft with a focus on structural and individual discrimination, sexualized harassment and violence, as well as mobbing and stalking.

Project 8: UN Handicap Convention and German assistance law

Partner: Paritätischer Wohlfahrtsverband – Gesamtverband e.V.
Students produced an expert opinion on the conformity of s. 1903 of the German Civil Code (BGB) with the new UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. S. 1903 BGB stipulates that individuals placed under care require their guardian’s consent for legal declarations of intent. The Opinion finds a need for reform in accordance with the Convention, in particular with respect to the practice.

Project 9: Racist admission policies: Disco Testings in court

Partner: Antidiskriminierungsbüro Sachsen (AdB)
Testings conducted by the AdB-Sachsen in 2011 showed that six out of eleven nightclubs in Leipzig denied entry to young non-German men. Students developed a brief to support the plaintiffs’ attorney in damages proceedings for discrimination.

Projects of the 2nd cycle “Exclusion and Discrimination” (2011/12)

Project 1 “Addressing Trans*Individuals at Work”

Partner: Schwulenberatung Berlin

Project 2 “Homosexuality as Grounds for Dismissal in Church Employment”

Partner: Lesben- und Schwulenverband in Deutschland (LSVD)
Students examined the ways to enforce the human right against discrimination on the basis of sexual identity for employees of a Church under the German General Equality Act (AGG), the EU antidiscrimination directives and the CJEU’s jurisprudence.

Project 3 “Disability Discrimination in Private Insurance”

Partner: Rechte behinderter Menschen gGmbH
Students prepared a law suit – ultimately successful – demanding the conclusion of an insurance contact that had been denied to visually impaired individuals for discriminatory reasons. They further developed a manual for future similar law suits in different constellations.

Project 4 “Non-admission to Nightclubs and Multiple Discrimination”

Partner: Büro zur Umsetzung von Gleichbehandlung e.V.
The students examined the issue of damages amounts for discrimination in relation to multiple discrimination, e.g. when racist, sexist and age-related discrimination intersect in the case of non-admission to a nightclub.

Projects of the 1st cycle “Human Rights” (2010/11)

Project 1 “Intersexuality”

Partner: Verein Intersexuelle Menschen e.V.
The Humboldt Law Clinic at the UN Committee Against Torture
The Humboldt Law Clinic can celebrate a great success: its parallel report, developed in collaboration with the Verein intersexuelle Menschen e.V., put the rights of intersexed individuals on the Committee Against Torture’s agenda. In November 2011, a delegation of the Clinic and the Verein travelled to Geneva to present the report to the Committee.
Click here for a PDF of the Parallel Report (in English).
Parallel Report to the UN Human Rights Council
In Summer 2012, the Clinic and the Verein Intersexuelle Menschen e.V. were also involved in the drafting of a parallel report for the second Universal Periodic Review 2013. The UPR is a reporting procedure of the Human Rights Council, the UN’s main universal human rights forum, to which Germany is reporting for the second time in 2013.

Project 2 “African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights”

Partner: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
The students developed a manual for potential plaintiffs and their lawyers before the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) of the African Union. The main issue was the requirement of the exhaustion of remedies.

Project 3 “Hermes Guarantees”

Partner: Amnesty International
Students developed a background paper on the question of how human rights can be secured when issuing so-called Hermes guarantees for German private investments abroad.

Project 4 “Unfair competition”

Partner: European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)
Students examined the chances of success for a lawsuit under s. 6 UWG (Unfair Competition Act) against the textile corporation “KiK”. The main issue was whether it constitutes unfair competition for the company to advertise a code of conduct for working conditions in its supply chain which is not being implemented.

Project 5 “Human Trafficking”

Partners: Ban Ying e.V. and Deutsches Institut für Menschenrechte (DIMR)
Students developed a case-law database on human trafficking from domestic and international sources. Moreover, they summarized the factual and legal background as well as the main findings of their research for the database in an academic paper.

Project 6 “Terrorism”

Partner: European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)
The Clinic at the UN Security Council
Students supported efforts to strike individuals from the so-called UN terror lists, and analyzed a proposal from “like-minded states” in relation to the ECHR. Their findings were used by an ECCHR representative in his lobby work at the UN Security Council.