One of the participants on the transitional justice study tour that the FNF hosted from the 6th till the 12th of November in Brussels and Berlin was Zimbabwean human rights lawyer, David Coltart. Coltart, who is also a founding member of the political party ‘Movement for Democratic Change’ (MDC), is well-known for the sterling work he did as Zimbabwe’s Minister for Education, Sport, Arts and Culture from 2009 to August 2013.
Coltart had had the good fortune of visiting Berlin before the study tour and has a real soft spot for the city. He now has what he can call a ritual – on each visit to the German capital, Coltart celebrates the fall of the wall by straddling the cobblestones which mark where it once stood and divided people. Doing this, he says, reminds him that tyrants do fall. This is particularly poignant given the book Coltart published earlier this year: The Struggle Continues: 50 Years of Tyranny in Zimbabwe. Living in Zimbabwe, Coltart recounts, one must remind oneself that tyrannies do eventually come to an end.
The study tour, comprising of six strategically selected participants – two from Zimbabwe, two from Tanzania and two from South Africa, started in Brussels with a broad overview of ‘transitional justice’, a field that has been receiving growing attention mainly since the mid-80s and is thus still considered relatively new.
Wikipedia usefully defines the term as follows:
“Transitional justice consists of judicial and non-judicial measures implemented in order to redress legacies of human rights abuses. Such measures “include criminal prosecutions, truth commissions, reparations programs, and various kinds of institutional reforms”. Transitional justice is enacted at a point of political transition from violence and repression to societal stability and it is informed by a society’s desire to rebuild social trust, repair a fractured justice system, and build a democratic system of governance. The core value of transitional justice is the very notion of justice—which does not necessarily mean criminal justice. This notion and the political transformation, such as regime change or transition from conflict are thus linked toward a more peaceful, certain, and democratic future.”
Each country represented has a unique past (or present) of injustice with which it must grapple. The idea behind the study tour was to expose participants to transitional justice measures implemented in dealing with, in particular, Germany’s Third Reich and German Democratic Republic past. The group was also briefed, from a European Union perspective, on the events in the Western Balkans giving rise to the need for very particular transitional justice there. Of course, while each situation is unique, there are many similarities in the types of atrocities committed and so much space for sharing experiences, both around the awful events that unfolded as well as around corresponding transitional justice measures. Ultimately, and very importantly to note, the human experience of suffering is universal.
In Berlin, the tour met with government institutions that deal with the compensation of victims of injustice not only for the loss of property, but for the loss of loved ones (lives lost) as well as for lost freedoms (concentration camps, emprisonment). We also learned about compensation for various consequences injustices have had on the mental and physical health of victims as well as how compensation was and is calculated in addition to such technical intricacies as evidentiary burdens.
Complimentary to the above were our meetings with with organisations involved in what are often termed ‘softer’ (and consequently erroneously underrated) measures such as school curricula and how society more broadly remembers the past (memorials, days of remembrance, public art, museums etc) so that it never repeats itself. Of particular interest was our meeting with the Foundation for Remembrance, Responsibility and Future which fosters a very bottom-up and personal approach to dealing with the past, emphasising the need to ‘dig where you stand’, i.e. to uncover and reflect upon the stories in one’s own neighbourhood.
All in all, the tour offered profound insights and lessons for the study tour group from a multitude of perspectives (the state, civil society and individuals). Of course, members of the group were also able to share their own experiences with the organisations in Brussels and Berlin and, importantly, with each other.
- – FNF Africa
- – Stiftung EVZ (Foundation “Remembrance, Responsibilty, Future”)
- – Memorial site Hohenschönhausen (former Stasi prison, Berlin)
Exposure Program to Germany
An increasing number of people, devices, and sensors are nowadays connected by digital networks which have revolutionized the ability to generate, share, and access information. Data create enormous value for the global economy, driving innovation and growth. At the same time the ever growing amount of data presents a formidable challenge to the privacy of citizens.
In order to better understand the potential of big data for both citizens and organizations while addressing the challenges to individual privacy the Regional Office of Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) organized a study tour to Germany. Digital rights activists, researchers and representatives of business associations from Pakistan, India, Bhutan, and Bangladesh spent one week in Hamburg and Berlin speaking to data protection agencies, think tanks, data scientists and information and communication technology (ICT) companies.
During official appointments participants discussed latest technological developments, how a modern data protection framework should look like, and which ideas could be translated into initiatives in South Asia. The recent European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation which for the first time creates pan-european standards for data protection and a level playing field for companies targeting European citizens made the participants particularly interested.
“The different perspectives presented during the study tour were eye opening and I strongly believe some ideas can be implemented in South Asia to combine openness for innovation and safeguards for individual privacy” said Ruben Dieckhoff, Project Manager South Asia who organized the tour together with FNF’s International Academy for Leadership (IAF).
How to Negotiate, Manage and Consolidate Coalitions – Programme for Political Partners from West Africa
Not long ago, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom welcomed a West African delegation from Senegal and Cote d`lvoire who wanted to be informed about how coalitions are negotiated, managed and consolidated in North Rhine-Westphalia. The programme aimed at giving the delegation members, who mostly had already attended a coalition training seminar in Dakar, some insight into the German political landscape and to exchange their views regarding the factors for stable coalitions with experienced liberal politicians.
The program started in Brussels a few days earlier, where the group met several representatives, who have been dealing with that subject at the European level. >> Read more about it here.
In Germany the group had its first meeting in the town hall of Leverkusen. Monika Ballin-Meyer-Ahrens, chairwoman of the Leverkusen FDP-council group, took her time to show the delegation the council’s meeting room. She then shared her experience with multi-party coalitions at the local level, using the example of the so-called Jamaica Coalition.
The German political system and coalition-building in Germany were the main subject of the workshop with Roland Werner, former Deputy Minister and State Secretary in the Saxon State Ministry. Topics of the workshop included human factors in coalition negotiations, different conditions in the new and old German states, channels of communication and the position of the FDP.
A special highlight was the visit to the regional parliament in Düsseldorf. Being guests at the plenary meeting, the participants had the opportunity to listen to the national chairman and regional chairman of the FDP in NRW, Christian Lindner addressing the low economic growth in North Rhine-Westphalia. His speech was followed by a heated debate about the root causes, as NRW currently ranks lowest among the German states. Angela Freimuth, vice chairman of the FDP’s parliamentary group in the regional parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia shared her experience in working in a government coalition with the delegation. A tour of the parliamentary building rounded off the visit.
At the Theodor Heuss Academy in Gummersbach the delegation had the opportunity to discuss the subject of future coalition-building with Jan-Frederik Kremer, Regional Director of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation. In 2015 the Selfkant-opposition consisting of SPD, Pro Selfkant, FDP and Bündnis 90/Die Grünen had appointed Mr. Jan-Frederik Kremer as their joint candidate for the mayoral election in Selfkant. That coalition process was discussed lively.
The questions of liberalism at the international level, the history of Germany and why another political landscape has established in Germany were in the focus of the workshop with Wulf Pabst, seminar leader of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation.
On the last day the delegation visited Ralph Sterck, leader of the FDP group in the Cologne Council. Being a long-time liberal politician, he was able to talk about many coalition-building processes of the FDP in Cologne. The delegation was particularly interested in the alliance formed between the CDU and the Greens to support the election of the current mayor Ms. Henriette Reker. When taking a look at the campaign publications, the participants got an idea of the different interests, needs and sensitivities of the allies. The alliance is still working successfully. Finally Mr. Sterck showed the delegation the town hall and the council’s meeting room.
The delegation had the opportunity to exchange views on the various types of coalitions with liberal politicians of the regional and municipal level. The fact that the meeting partners had different backgrounds was very helpful for the Delegation’s understanding of the federal system of Germany and to take home many new ideas.
A delegation consisting of seven representatives from the Tunisian liberal party “Afek Tounis” recently came to Germany to participate in a study trip on “New perspectives for Tunisia – EU/Germany relations”. The aim was to discuss the international relations with Tunisia with German experts in order to establish new contacts and networks for future cooperation.
The program covered several visits to institutions and think-tanks in Brussels and Berlin. At the German Federal Foreign Office the group met with Barbara Wolf, director of the Maghreb-division, to discuss the current state and future of German foreign policy towards Tunisia. Among the focal points in the debate were initiatives like the partnership for transformation and Germany’s diplomatic reactions to the revolution. This topic drew lots of questions from members of the delegation who were questioning Germany’s foreign policy strategy in comparison to the U.S. or Great Britain.
At the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development the delegation had the chance to exchange information and experiences with Christiane Bögemann-Hagedorn, Deputy Director General for North Africa, Middle East, South Eastern and Eastern Europe and Latin America. Dr. Martin Henkelmann, director of the German Chamber of Commerce abroad in Tunisia and his colleague, Philipp Simon Andree, head of division for North Africa at the Federation of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), analyzed the pitfalls and potentials for ever closer economic relations between Germany and Tunisia during a working lunch. The topic was continued during a discussion with the experts Alexander Knipperts, Patrick Meinhardt and Rainer Ptok from the trade association (Unternehmerverband Deutschland).
German, European and American policy towards Tunisia was intensively examined from a scientific perspective during a meeting with Isabelle Werenfels, director of the study group on the Middle East and Africa at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, SWP).
Ulrich Niemann, head of the international division of Friedrich-Naumann-Foundation for Freedom and Beate Apelt, director of regional division North Africa, Middle East and Eastern Europe, welcomed the group in the FNF-headquarters and gave a presentation on the international work of FNF in North Africa and in the world.
Berlin, Cologne, Aachen amd Düren – these were the stations of the visiting program titled “Transparent, accountable urban governance and administrative systems”. The aim of the one-week program was to showcase how health, transport and finances are handled on the municipal level in the Federal Republic of Germany. “Respect for the rule of law is a main reason why German municipalities succeed in spite of financial deficits”, said Anjali Srivastava, Program Officer at Praja Foundation from Mumbai. She, together with her fellow travelers, enjoyed the meetings with German officials and experts and also the sightseeing like here at the historic Cathedral of Cologne.
More information on our work in Southasia:
As you can see on the following 95 pages, you – as a free, emancipated and confident citizen with the right to determine your own life – are the focus of our continuous engagement both in Germany and around the world. We as a liberal foundation have been standing by your side for more than 57 years, to protect personal life choices, to ensure a free business environment and to make our society more open and tolerant. A democracy needs democrats, in the same way that freedom needs freedom fighters, to be safe from those who despise it.
In 2014, we recalled the lessons learnt from German history and reassured ourselves of our responsibilities. Our Foundation is a consequence of the realisation that freedom and democracy have to be defended every day anew, and that teaching the value of freedom and democracy is the most effective way to advocate a free, democratic and tolerant society. We encourage you to continue working with us in our efforts to achieve an open-minded, free and tolerant Germany, and to help us to bring these values to other parts of the world. Please participate in one of our many events that take place at ten locations in Germany and more than 60 countries worldwide, as well as virtually at www.freiheit.org.
The annual report 2014 [download pdf] gives you a broad overview of our projects and the wide range of our activities. Welcome to the Foundation for Freedom!
A delegation consisting of eleven representatives from the Public Relations Bureau of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights went to Germany on a Study Trip on “Democracy, Rule of Law and Human Rights: German International Cooperation”.
After arriving in Germany the delegation was greeted with an opening dinner attended by H.E. Dr.-Ing. Fauzi Bowo, the Indonesian Ambassador to Germany. The Ambassador welcomed and supported the study trip as Indonesian trade with Germany is one of the most active one to date.
The program covers visits to the German Federal Ministry of Justice, the Berlin Constitutional Court, the Head Office of Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung für die Freiheit in Potsdam, a dialogue with the Indonesian diplomats at the Indonesian Embassy in Berlin, a discussion with a former German Human Rights Commissioner, and a city tour of Berlin.
At the Federal Ministry of Justice, the delegation was greeted by the Head of a Department at the Ministry, Mr. Mathias Hellmann, followed by a dialogue on the topic of ‘International Legal Cooperation and Rule of Law.’
At the Berlin Constitutional Court, the delegation had a discussion with the Vice-President of the Berlin Constitutional Court Dr. Robert Wolfgang Seegmüller on the topic of ‘The Role of the Judiciary: How to Ensure the Rule of Law’.
During the visit to FNF Head Office, the delegation was greeted by the Desk Officer for Southeast Asia, Mr. Wolfgang Heinze, who gave a presentation on the international works of FNF in the world and in Asia.
The Dialogue with the former German Human Rights Commissioner, Mr. Markus Löning, focussed on the how Germany maintains its fulfilment of citizen rights, including safeguarding tolerance and pluralism. This is a topic that drew lots of questions from members of the delegation who were curious about how Germany manages religious tolerance.
The study trip is one of the activities set out in the cooperation between Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung für die Freiheit and the Ministry of Law and Human Rights of the Republic of Indonesia, and was the first activity within the scope of the cooperation this year.
Jakarta, 19 May 2015
An international delegation of young leaders from politics, media, academia and civil society visited the Deutsche Welle in Bonn.
There, the participants in the momentarily ongoing IAF seminar “Freedom of the Press”, which is being held from 19 April until 01 May 2015 in Gummersbach, had the opportunity to meet with a larger group of members of the Deutsche Welle.
The group was welcomed by Klaus Bergmann, Deputy Head of International Relations, and received an interesting overview to the upcoming Global Media Forum 2015 by Ralf-Werner Nolting and Annelie Gröniger, both Manager Global Media Forum.
Ingo Mannteufel, Head of DW Department for Europe and Russia, Philipp Bilsky, Head of DW Chinese service, and Nina Wieczorek, Assistant DW Sales and Distribution introduced the visiting group to a variety of issues, such as the program activities, the language services, the media offers and distribution strategies, giving them a detailed insight to the DW’s role and mission in the world.
The seminar participants were thrilled to hear more about the DW Academy projects from Holger Hank, Head of DW Akademy Digital Innovation & Knowledge Management, and Andrea Küppers, DW Akademy Training and Communications, such as the Media Freedom Navigator (soon to be launched). The visit was concluded by a lively Q&A, a quiz and …many new and personal contacts to be followed up on.
- – Deutsche Welle
- – Global Media Forum: GMF Conference “Media and Foreign Policy in the Digital Age”, 22-24 June 2015, Bonn, Germany
From October 11 to 18, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom organized an information program in Germany (Hamburg and Berlin) for Turkish journalists named “Freedom of media – legal, institutional and economic fundaments”.
Participants in this program were: Sevgi Akarçeşme (Zaman & Today’s Zaman), Yonca Poyraz Doğan (independent journalist), Ahu Özyurt (CNN Türk), Müjde Yazıcı (Milliyet), İpek Yezdani (Hürriyet), Lora Sarı (Agos) and Ayhan Aktar (Taraf and Bilgi University).
Three priority subjects were the basis of this program:
1. Journalism/structure/outlook/freedom of media
2. Foreign policy
3. Turkish community
Professor Dr. Steffen Burkhardt, Director of the International Media Center (Hamburg), was in charge of the introductory section of the seminar that lasted one day. Subjects such as laws and institutions of the German media and communication system were addressed, as well as the principles and structure of media freedom and self-control; media protagonists and the ombudsman concept; media independence mechanisms and contents in the digital transformation era. Through this crash course, broad and greatly informative, participants acquired a general overview on the German media history, structure and principles, which eventually proved to be a solid foundation for future program phases.
Based on this seminar, the delegation had meetings (in Hamburg) with stern.de and Spiegel editors; (in Berlin) with members of the metropolitan studio of the ARD channel and ZEIT newspaper, among others. Also with the German Association of Journalists, the German Newspaper Editors Federation and the German Journal Council.
Regarding the second subject, the delegation had the opportunity to have conversations with two members of the German Parliament: Özcan Mutlu from Alliance ‘90/The Greens and Matern Freiherr Marschall von Bieberstein (CDU). First of all, foreign policy topics were addressed, such as the relationship status between Turkey and the European Union, the civil war in Syria and the international coalition battle against IS.
Also, Turkey’s internal policy subjects were addressed, such as the increased restriction on free opinion and media, the allegations of corruption against members of the ACP government and –as a consequence– the massive lay-off of police officers, judges and district attorneys, etc.
Another meeting related with the second subject was carried out with Dr. Günther Seufert, Turkey expert of the Foundation for Politics and Science (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, SWP). After sharing summarized information on the structure and function of the SWP, the conversation focused on the Turkey/EU relationship and the future of the adhesion negotiations.
Conversations were held with the Turkish-German Center directorate (Berlin-Neukölln) regarding the third priority subject (Turkish community in Germany) and with Kamuran Sezer, Director of the futureorg Institute (Dortmund), an institute dedicated to applied, prospective and organizational research. On one hand, everyday and integration problems were addressed; on the other hand, issues concerning the political orientation of German citizens with immigrant (Turkish) background.
The visit to the FNF main office in Potsdam helped the delegation gain insights on the broad international activities of the Foundation. Turkish guests also showed great interest in the location and facilities of the Foundation’s headquarters.
The visiting program ended with a public round table, to which selective guests with priority interest in Turkey were invited. Time was insufficient and only the following subjects were addressed: “Freedom of the media in Turkey” and “Civil war in Syria – The Kurd issue in the IS”. Journalists faced competent questions asked by the guests.
It has been forecasted that in the following two decades there will be a strong increase in energy demand in Southern Asia. In the largest countries, energy supply is critical. India alone, with its high demographic increase and stable economic growth, develops an increasing and permanent demand of energy. Daily power outages are today a reality in the cities and in extensive parts of the country. Many towns and regions are not connected to the power supply system.
The chronic lack of electric and gas power in Pakistan has become an everyday experience for the population and economy. Even in the capital of Islamabad, most of the time the heating system is defective during winter. Consequently, gas cut-offs occur. When gas is flowing, lack of pressure in the pipelines is hardly enough to cook. Gas stations that provide natural gas –fuel that is most commonly used– only open a few days per week due to lack of supply. Furthermore, there are outages that last hours. When spring arrives, shortage of electric power worsens with heat.
As a result, the following questions arise: Can the Southern Asian countries benefit from the German experiences regarding the use of new and sustainable energy sources? Do these offer solutions to the chronic energy shortage?
The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty invited a group of economy and energy experts from Southern Asia to take part in a visiting program about renewable energies in Germany. Participants came from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.
- To better understand Germany’s energy transformation (Energiewende), the plans and measures at the different State levels to reduce CO2 emissions.
- To develop a Liberal consciousness regarding climate change aspects.
- To look for market-oriented solutions regarding the production of renewable energies and greater energy efficiency concepts.
The visiting program started in Stuttgart. With a high number of successful and export-oriented companies, in the last decades Baden-Wurttemberg has managed to consolidate its reputation as a renowned economic location. Also, the Federal State is positioned on the cutting edge regarding renewable energies in Germany’s Southwest.
Dr. Till Jensen, energy expert at the Ministry of Environment, Climate and Energy Industry, explained to the guests the energy transformation that took place in Baden-Wurttemberg. The State had a greater nuclear energy dependency than the northern states. Almost half of its power was produced in nuclear power plants. In 2011 –after Fukushima– the Federal Government decided to abandon nuclear power. In 2022, the last nuclear power plant will be closed. The deficit that results from this will have to be greatly supplied by renewable energies. The State developed a sustainability strategy which, in the following decades, completely readjusts production and consumption. Photovoltaic, wind and biomass energies –to a lesser extent also geothermal energy-, are especially considered as energy sources. Measures to generate energy efficiency, mostly in buildings and traffic, should considerably reduce energy consumption.
In the three mentioned areas, the State was able to increase its renewable energy production. In particular cases, the production amounts projected for 2022 have already been reached today. However, critical questions remain unsolved.
Obtaining green energy is subject to fluctuations and uncertainty. It is often generated when it isn’t needed and it is needed when it isn’t produced. It is tied to forces of nature such as wind and sun. Because of that, the issue concerning storage becomes very important. The development of adequate storage is still in its early stages. Therefore, the storage of – for example– wind energy to be utilized as electricity, is highly expensive. Also, existing power lines are not enough to supply energy to the desired places. While the country’s industrial core is markedly located in the south (Bavaria and Baden-Wurttemberg), the mass of wind energy is produced up north and there are plans to extend it by building great wind turbines along the coastline. This arises the need to build great energy supply paths from north to south. But this project hasn’t been started yet. The newly emerged deficits create a paradoxical situation in which –meanwhile– more energy is obtained from conventional power plants (carbon and lignite), which aggravates climate-damaging CO2 emissions.
These and other questions were intensively discussed by the delegation members in the following visits. The program included meetings with liberal politicians in Stuttgart and a conference about the development of electromobility, which is specially promoted in the car state of Baden-Wurttemberg. Furthermore, visits to the Federal Ministry of Economy, the Federal Association of German Industry, the German Railways and the Checkpoint Energie took place. The trip ended with a visit to the energy-autonomous town of Feldheim in Brandenburg.