Merkel: World human rights are pillar of German policy

Other News Materials 12 April 2008 15:21 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Advancing human rights around the globe is a pillar of German foreign policy, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Saturday in her weekly online video address, adding that she would take up the topic in a speech to the Council of Europe.

Merkel described advocacy for the rule of law and human rights as a "universal battle."

She said she would stress this during her visit Tuesday to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France. She is to set to speak to its parliamentary assembly.

Merkel said rights throughout the world were "an important pillar" of Berlin's policy alongside advancing Germany's own interests.

Human rights and economic relationships were not mutually exclusive, she said, adding: "In my opinion, they have to fit together.

"We know that human rights continue to be breached in many places in the world. We believe that we can improve the application of human rights worldwide by dialogue and setting a good example. The dignity of the individual is at the focus of our efforts."

She said the Council of Europe, founded in 1949, had established fundamental principles for democracy in Europe.