Germany has thoroughly transformed, from a country which had experienced centuries of autocracy, Nazi regime 1933-1945, and communism in its eastern part 1945-1989, into one of the freest countries of the world, where human rights are highly protected. Through both formal and informal (such as via political “Stiftungs”) education, a notion of human rights such as life, security and safety, freedom, individual autonomy and responsibility, property, information, voluntary association, or other, is embedded in society and political culture. In some areas Germany has emerged as a “conscience of the EU”, e.g. in its treatment of refugees. Not least that the gates were opened to the victims of wars or dictatorships but considerable efforts and resources were put into their integration.
For instance, recent data show high level of their integration into the labor market, while there are deportations of rejected asylum-visa seekers. Opposition to such attitude has, however, also increased during the past year. There is a lot of hate speech against certain religious or ethnic groups, as well as attacks on asylum seekers (more than a thousand in 2017), while an anti-immigrant political party AfD has entered Bundestag at the last general election. Online fake news mainly target immigrants. Populism is in the rise and its narrative is highly visible in public. Meanwhile, strong efforts are put to curb human trafficking of all kinds. LGBT citizens enjoy equality in ever more fields. First same-sex marriages were concluded in October 2017. Under-representation of women in politics (in spite of a woman Chancellor), again demonstrated at general elections 2017, as well as a formidable gender pay gap, are tried to be overcome by quotas. Citizens of immigrant background are still seriously under-represented in high politics. Taken the 20th century history, various hate speech is outlawed, but critics find some limitations excessive, such as the obligation of social networks to do the censorship. The law allowing secret services to use spyware against encrypted electronic messages was criticized as too broad and has been challenged at the Federal Constitutional Court.