German human rights institution says far-right AfD could face ban

Picture of Deutsche Welle

Germany’s national human rights institute considers the conditions for banning the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party to be fulfilled, although it said it was not currently advocating for such a step.

In a recent analysis, the Institute for Human Rights – which has a legal mandate to prevent human rights violations – states that the party is “actively and methodically pursuing its racist and right-wing extremist goals.”

For example, the AfD is working to “shift the boundaries of what can be said and thus the discourse in such a way that a habituation to its racist national-ethnic positions – also in the public and political space – takes place.”

Overall, the party is striving to eliminate the guarantees enshrined in Article 1 of the Basic Law. There it says: “Human dignity shall be inviolable. To respect and protect it shall be the duty of all state authority.”

The AfD, which has a strong anti-migration focus, currently holds 81 seats in the Bundestag, making up 11% of Germany’s 736-seat parliament. Recent polls, however, show the far-right opposition party’s approval ratings on the rise.

If election were held now, the AfD would gain 18% of the vote, on par with Chancellor Olaf Scholz’ Social Democrats (SPD), according to the ARD’s monthly Deutschlandtrend poll published on June 1.

The human rights institute added that it is of “elementary importance” for the foundation of human rights in Germany that awareness of the danger posed by the AfD is recognized both throughout society and by the state.

This danger can only be effectively countered “if the other parties at the federal, state and local levels clearly distance themselves from the AfD.”