Protection from discrimination in Germany

Article 3(3) of the Basic Law

‘No person shall be favoured or disfavoured because of sex, parentage, race, language, homeland and origin, faith, or religious or political opinions. No person shall be disfavoured because of disability.’

In Germany, a multidimensional protection from discrimination is in place, which consists of international obligations, the Basic Law (constitution) and European directives and any resulting national legislation.

Article 3 of the German Basic Law, which guarantees the principle of equality, grants a general protection from discrimination. The constitutional protection from discrimination in article 3, paragraphs 2 and 3 is a principle of the rule of law which applies in all legislative areas. It applies vertically (between the state and individuals) as well as horizontally (between individuals).

Moreover, comprehensive protection is offered under the General Equal Treatment Act (AGG), which was created to implement the European equality directives. Discrimination on the basis of ethnic background, religion, gender, age, disability or sexual orientation is prohibited. Ethnic profiling, however, is not specified.

For this reason BUG calls for the inclusion of ethnic profiling as a separate offence in s. 3 of the AGG, to create legal certainty.

In addition, the Schleswig-Holstein State Police Act was amended in order to minimise opportunities for identity checks without suspicion based on racial profiling. Regarding this, you can access a statement of BUG.

© Büro zur Umsetzung von Gleichbehandlung e.V. 2011