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All people have a right to a dignified life - regardless of their income, origin and status. We protect that right.

Sarah Lincoln

Legal Team

"All people have a right to an adequate standard of living, housing and health care. That is why we go to court. Our goal: landmark judgments that transform the welfare state imperative into individual and enforceable rights - and enable all people to participate in society."

Why we are committed to the social participation of all people

Which problem are we addressing?

Germany is a country with good living conditions and social security - but not for all the people who live here. Low-income families are losing their homes because they can no longer afford skyrocketing rents. Social assistance for asylum seekers is well below the Hartz IV rate, which is supposed to secure the minimum subsistence level in Germany. People without papers cannot easily go to doctors, no matter how long they have been living in Germany. Asylum seekers living in collective accommodation experience the police illegally invading their living space. Many people who are poor or have a migration history can only dream of a dignified life.

What precisely are we doing to solve the problem? What is the GFF's role?

Social rights are our lever to fight for a Germany based on solidarity. Regardless of their income, origin and status, all people living here have rights. Together with affected people and our partner organisations, we fight in court against people being forced out of their homes. We defend the rights of asylum seekers and migrants, especially the right to a fair trial, the right to privacy and the right to adequate health care. Our goal: fundamental decisions that enable all people to live in dignity.

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Enforcing basic social rights is the prerequisite for all people to be able to exercise their freedom rights at all. If a person has no roof over their head, cannot go to the doctor or to school, then it is of little help to them that they can freely express their opinion, that they enjoy freedom of movement, or that art is free. Often they will have neither the strength nor the time to exercise these rights. Without social security, individual freedoms often cannot be exercised at all.

Which rights do we promote?

Families being forced into homelessness and people being excluded from health care are not individual tragedies, but violations of rights. Article 1 of the Basic Law and the requirement of a welfare state in Article 20 of the Basic Law state that every person in Germany must be guaranteed a minimum subsistence level worthy of a human being. This is not only a matter of bare survival, but also of a minimum level of participation in social, cultural and political life.

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Legislators and public authorities are also obliged by the UN Social Covenant, one of the two major international human rights treaties, to guarantee social rights. These include the right to adequate housing, the right to education and the best possible standard of health.

However, the enforcement of social rights in Germany is not always easy. Unlike in many other countries, social rights are not explicitly mentioned in our constitution. The Federal Constitutional Court has derived them from human dignity, the principle of equality and the requirement of the welfare state, and has issued landmark rulings on Hartz IV and the Asylum Seekers' Benefits Act. At the same time, lengthy court cases are very challenging for people in a precarious and vulnerable situation - after all, they involve existential issues such as the treatment of an illness, securing a livelihood, maintaining housing or protection from deportation. Landmark decisions in exemplary individual cases benefit many of those affected, can dissolve political blockades and fill our welfare state with life.

Grundrechte verteidigen.
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