July 6, 2011 / 6:17 PM / in 8 years

Germany: UN social report "incomprehensible, unsound"

BERLIN, July 6 (Reuters) - Germany hit back on Wednesday at a United Nations report that strongly criticised the country’s social, labour and immigration policies, saying the report was “incomprehensible and scientifically unsound”.

In the document, seen by Reuters, the U.N. said it was “deeply concerned” Germany had failed to implement recommendations the organisation had made four years ago.

“The criticism in the preliminary U.N. report is to a great extent incomprehensible and scientifically unsound,” a Labour Ministry spokeswoman said, adding that there were no U.N. standards on which to base the report’s assessments.

The U.N. cited Germany’s high unemployment rate in the former East Germany — about double that of the country’s west — and said employers and the education system discriminated against immigrants.

Access to jobs, social security schemes and health services among asylum-seekers did not conform with international standards, the report said.

“Germany has in past years made positive strides in social matters that are recognised worldwide,” the ministry said.

Germany, which took over the rotating presidency of the U.N. Security Council on July 1, was also criticised for failing to implement a comprehensive anti-poverty programme, and the report said 13 percent of the German population lived in poverty.

The report was critical of how few women had risen to senior roles in the country’s public and private sectors, a hot issue after Deutsche Telekom (DTEGn.DE) appointed two women to its management board on Monday.

Germany won praise, however, over labour market reforms that have led to the country’s lowest unemployment level in the past 20 years, currently at 7 percent. (Reporting by Kalina Oroschakoff; Editing by Louise Ireland and John Stonestreet)

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