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Human Rights in the Deutsche Demokratische Republik

27 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2008  

Christian W. Bartholomew

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: November 30, 2007


This is a brief summary of human rights conditions in former East Germany. The author examines how Marxist thinking during the Cold War shaped the DDR's human rights regime, how human rights fit into the DDR's constitutional framework, and the realities of human rights abuses in the DDR. Human rights practices are described with reference to the principles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The author concludes with the assertion that human rights must not be trumped by ends-based agendas, even those that purport to eventually offer a better future. Rather, the continuous respect of human rights should prove an end unto itself, a stance proven by the heavy migrations of East Germans across the border into the West.

This paper was first presented at a seminar in human rights law at Indiana University School of Law - Bloomington.

Keywords: human rights, East Germany, DDR, GDR, ICCPR, marxism, communism, berlin wall

Suggested Citation

Bartholomew, Christian W., Human Rights in the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (November 30, 2007). Available at SSRN: or

Christian W. Bartholomew (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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