Protesters at the No to Racism demonstration in Berlin on 6 June 2020/Photo: Femi Awoniyi

Germany: CDU, CSU block deletion of “race” from Constitution

The term “race” will remain in the Basic Law for the time being. The plan to delete the controversial word from the German constitution is being blocked by the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, Federal Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) announced in Berlin on Monday.

Contrary to initial plans, the federal cabinet should have approved the deletion on Wednesday, but it was not presented at the weekly meeting.

The minister thinks it would be an important signal to remove the word from Germany’s constitution in this legislative period, but fears that this will not be possible.

The federal cabinet had agreed to replace the word “race” in Article 3 of the Basic Law, which prohibits discrimination on grounds of gender, origin, religion or race, among others. The term should be replaced by a new wording to protect against racism.

READ ALSO Germany to remove the word “race” from the Constitution – Justice Minister

The CDU/CSU parliamentary group had reservations about the proposed amendment, Ms Lambrecht said.

“There is complete agreement that there are no different races of people,” the minister had said in November. “That is why we in the Federal Government have agreed to revise the Basic Law at this point,” she stressed.

“The Basic Law states that no one may be discriminated against on grounds of race,” Lambrecht quoted from Article 3, paragraph 3. “When our constitution was written in 1949, the term was included in order to clearly distance ourselves from Nazi racial ideology”, the minister explained. However, the use of the term could lead to misunderstandings today and was therefore rightly criticised, she said. “Wherever there is talk of different races, it is mainly prejudices and racist incitement that resurface today”.

Vivian Asamoah

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