European judges rule against German neo-Nazi NPD in discrimination case | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 27.10.2016
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European judges rule against German neo-Nazi NPD in discrimination case

The European Court of Human Rights has dismissed the claims of the National Democratic Party of Germany. The right-wing extremist party had claimed to be the victim of discrimination in Germany.

The judges in Strasbourg ruled against Germany's National Democratic Party (NPD) on Thursday, deciding its claims were unwarranted because of the sufficient legal options available to it in Germany.

The NPD had gone before the European Court of Human Rights to argue that its rights were being curtailed and it was being stigmatized due to its right-wing views. The party stated that its members were being barred from the civil service, were prevented from opening bank accounts and were not able to participate in elections. It also argued that there weren't enough ways to fight said discrimination legally.

The court, however, rejected the NPD's claims as "patently unfounded," countering the far-right party's argument by insisting there were indeed enough legal methods in Germany at its disposal.

Banning NPD an ongoing question

The NPD is the largest far-right party in Germany. According to findings by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Germany's domestic intelligence agency, the party had 5,200 members in 2015. The NPD no longer has representation in any state parliament in Germany, having lost its seats in the parliamentary election in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

The case in Strasbourg came after the NPD went before the Federal Constitutional Court in Germany in November 2012 to argue that discussions to ban it were a violation of its rights. The court dismissed the claims in February 2013.

Whether to ban the NPD remains an ongoing question in Germany, with the country's top court hearing arguments to do so in March. Many have argued that the party is essentially dying out, having lost many supporters over the past several decades. An earlier attempt to ban the party faltered when state intelligence groups would publicize details regarding the role of undercover agents and paid informants in the party.

blc/sms  (dpa, AFP)

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