Strengthening Human Rights
Chancellor Schröder meets the “women of Srebrenica” – survivors of the massacre that occurred there – in 2005. The failure of the international community to prevent the massacre was a reason for the military intervention that took place in 1998 (photo credit: DPA).

During Schröder’s chancellorship German foreign policy championed the peaceful and multilateral resolution of international conflicts and sought to strengthen the United Nations, international law, and human rights. Schröder’s administration established the first-ever committee for human rights in the Bundestag, founded the German Institute for Human Rights, established a human rights officer at Germany’s Foreign Office, and submitted a national plan for human rights. Internationally, the federal government actively supported reforms to the United Nations aimed at providing fairer representation among its members, especially developing countries. Germany also pushed for the consistent prosecution of international law violations, advocated the creation of an International Criminal Court, and showed its willingness to intervene militarily when it came to protecting human rights, as in Kosovo. In its bilateral relations Germany created institutions to help strengthen democratic ideas and actions, such as the Rule of Law Dialogue it started with China in 1999.