The constitution of Germany was written in 1949 and stands above all other laws. The articles 1 to 20 can’t be changed or rewritten. Here you can find the most important articles from the constitution. All of these rights are not only for grown-ups but also for children.
Article 1 – Human Dignity
Article 1 is perhaps one of the most important laws in Germany. It says that the dignity of all humans is inviolable and can’t be touched. It is the duty of all public authorities to protect and respect it.
Article 2 – Personality
Every human has the right of free development of one’s personality. Furthermore, everyone has the right to live, physical inviolability and personal freedom. Therefore, it is not allowed to hit or harm children. No one is allowed to harm you in any way. It is allowed to limit the law of freedom, for example when you have committed a crime. But nevertheless, your dignity and personality have to be saved in any case. Dishonourable treatment like hits or torture are always forbidden.
Article 3 – Equality
All people are equal before the law. It is not allowed to discriminate someone because of his origin, skin colour, language, religion or gender. Men and women are equal in every way. Women can do everything a man is allowed to do, like working, voting or driving a car.
Article 4 – Freedom of religion
Every person in Germany is allowed to choose his or her religion freely. There is no state religion. The unhindered practice of one’s religion has to be warranted. For example, it has to be warranted for a Muslim to pray five times per day. Religious signs like a Christian cross are allowed to be worn in public. It is not allowed to discriminate someone because of his or her religion.
Article 5 – Freedom of opinion
Every human has the right to show and spread one’s opinion in speech, text or picture. The freedom of press is one of the most important laws in Germany. For example, there are no state-run television or radio channels. The freedom of opinion can be limited to protect the safety or public policy. It is forbidden to harm or discriminate someone with one’s freedom of opinion. Art, science, research and teaching are free, too.
Article 6 – Marriage and Family
Marriage and family are under special protection of the state. To educate one’s own children is the natural right of the parents. It is not allowed to take a child out of its family, but for the safety of the child (for example if it is beaten or harmed in another way). Every mother has the right of protection and care of the community. Illegitimate children have the same rights as legitimate ones.
Article 7 – School and Education
The school is under the state’s protection. Therefore, the school subjects or curricula are specified by the state. In every school there is the subject ‘religious education’. Parents are allowed to choose whether their child should take part of religious education or not. Hence, no child can be forced to be taught in this subject by the state. That’s one important part of the freedom of religion.
Article 8 – Freedom of assembly
All Germans have the right to free and peaceful assembly without weapons. This right can be limited, for example to protect the public policy or safety.
Article 10 – Secrecy of the post
In Germany we have the secrecy of post. Therefore, no letters or packages can be opened by the state or police. Conversations are also protected. No one is allowed to listen to your talks. This right can be limited to protect the democracy, public policy or safety in Germany.
Article 12 – Profession and Work
Every German has the right to choose one’s job, apprenticeship or workplace. No one can be forced to do a special working.
Article 17 – Petition and Complaint
Everyone is allowed to write a petition or complaint alone or in a group. This petition or complaint can be addressed to the appropriate authorities or representation of the people, like the government or other representatives.
Article 18 – Forfeiture of rights
If someone misapplies his rights against the free democratic basic order, like the freedom of speech or assembly, these rights can be denied. For example, if someone organizes assemblies to agitate against other people (e.g. because of their skin colour or religion), he or she can lose his or her right to assembly. The limitation of every freedom and right is the democracy and safety and freedom of other people.