Frequently Asked Questions


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Frequently Asked Questions

The following pages give concise answers to frequently asked questions regarding human rights protection in general and the human rights based approach to development cooperation, in particular. Each answer suggests links and reading for deeper examination of the respective question. You may download all questions and answers as a PDF.


Are human rights universal?

Do regional human rights treaties contradict the universality of human rights?

What is the difference between signing and ratifying a treaty?

How many states have ratified human rights treaties?

How are human rights implemented and how is this monitored?

What is the role of the United Nations for the monitoring of human rights?

Can a state denounce a human rights treaty it has ratified?

What are Concluding Observations?

What are General Comments?

Is it not sufficient to refrain from committing human rights violations?

How to evaluate the implementation of human rights obligations in practice?

What are Germany’s human rights obligations as a donor country in bilateral development cooperation?

Are poor countries obliged to implement human rights, too? 

What is discrimination?

How do human rights relate to the Millennium Development Goals?

Are states obliged to provide social services free of charge to the poor?

Do human rights permit support to better-off regions/ groups?

May a state prioritise a specific sector of development cooperation?

What are reservations to human rights treaties, and what do they mean?