Even in times of war, crisis or threat of terrorism, human rights and the rule of law need to be respected both in domestic and foreign policy. Some human rights norms, such as the prohibition of torture have the status of absolute norms which can never be restricted. Other human rights can only be restricted if the special requirements of the relevant human rights norm are met and if the restriction is proportionate to the legitimate aim thereby pursued. The German Institute for Human Rights rejects the common assumption that there is a general contradiction between security considerations and human rights norms. Moreover, the protection of human rights is both the goal and the precondition of an enlightened security and defence policy based in the trust and the civic commitment of the people. The active participation of women must be a defining principle of such a policy.
The Institute works on human rights requirements of national and international Security Policy, it researches and comments especially on the following topics: