At the request of green politicians and human rights organizations, the German Ministry of Justice has proposed to remove the word race from the country’s constitution.
Article 3 of Article 3 of the Basic Law of the German Constitution states, “No one shall be harmed or supported by their gender, their descent, race, language, nationality and origin, their faith or their religion or politics.”
But some activists point out that the use of the word “race” in the passage implies the existence of different types of people, and that the use of this word undermines another important section of the basic law: “before all people were equal law”.
According to the proposal of the Ministry of Justice released this Wednesday (03/02) the area can be changed from “race” to “for racial reasons”. The draft proposal was sought for comment by several organizations on Tuesday.
Basic law was enacted after World War II and the Holocaust, thus trying to prevent the heinous crimes of the Nazi regime from recurring. The passage reflects other shocks in the passage by barring “positively” other than someone trying to combat suffering by their origin or “race,” because the Nazis promoted the false ideal of hierarchies between “races”.
“Basic law, therefore, uses the word not to recognize racial ideologies, but to distance itself from them,” the ministry wrote in its format. “However, due to the very use of this word, it is correct that the ideologies associated with it may continue, even if they are rejected by the basic law.”
The debate over changing the text is not new. Ten years ago, a human rights NGO in Berlin already proposed this change. Some German countries followed suit and changed the wording of the constitution. At the federal level, in 2012 parliament debated a plan from the opposition left, but there was no support for change.
Last year, the debate was renewed following calls by Green delegates to remove the word race from the federal constitution. “We have to learn racism,” said Robert Hebeck, co-chair of the Green Party, and Aminata Toure, vice-president of the party in the state of Shelswick-Holstein. “The word race should be removed from the basic law. There is no race, only people.”
But the debate over which word can change the word race is still ongoing. Alternative Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht has rejected a call to change “race” to “race.” This is because the word “race” cannot be clearly defined.
“On the other hand, the term race can promote the notion that population groups can be clearly separated from one another,” the folder estimates.
A constitutional amendment to change the text would require the support of a two-thirds majority in the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament and the upper Bundesraet.
jps (dpa, dw)