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Claudia Benedikta Roth (born 15 May 1955 in Ulm) is a German Green Party politician. She was one of the two party chairs from 2004 to 2013 and currently serves as one of the vice presidents of the Bundestag.
Claudia Benedicta Roth began her artistic work, which she always regarded as also being political, in the 1970s as a trained artistic director at a theatre in Memmingen. She then worked at the municipal theatre in Dortmund and the Hoffmanns-Comic-Teater, and subsequently became involved with the political rock band "Ton Steine Scherben".
Member of the European Parliament
In July 1989, Roth was elected for the first time as a Member of the European Parliament for the Greens.
Amongst other things, she was a member of two committees of inquiry in the European Parliament, namely the Committee of Inquiry into Racism and Xenophobia and the Committee of Inquiry into Links between Organized Crime and Drugs, as well as of the EC-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee.
From 1989 to 1990, she was also deputy chairperson of the Green Group in the European Parliament.
In July 1994, she was again elected to the European Parliament as a lead candidate of Alliance 90/The Greens. She was chairperson of the Green Group in the European Parliament until 1998.
During this second term as an MEP, she was again a member of the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, the Sub-Committee on Human Rights and the EC-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, of which she was elected deputy chairperson. She also remained involved with the Foreign Affairs Committee as a substitute member.
Member of the German Bundestag
Claudia Roth ended her work as an MEP when she became part of the Alliance 90/The Greens parliamentary group in the Bundestag after the German federal election, 1998. She became a member of the Committee on the Affairs of the European Union and a substitute member of the Committee on Internal Affairs of the German Bundestag. Furthermore, she was elected chairperson of the newly established Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid.
On 9 March 2001, Roth was elected Federal chairperson of Alliance '90/The Greens at the party conference in Stuttgart and resigned as a Member of the Bundestag at the end of March 2001 as a result. At the same time, she was spokesperson of the Alliance '90/The Greens on women's affairs.
In October 2002, Roth was elected to the Bundestag as Bavarian lead candidate for Alliance '90/The Greens. Since then, she has been a member of the Bundestag's Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Cultural and Media Affairs. She is also cultural affairs spokesperson for the Alliance '90/The Greens parliamentary group in the Bundestag and chairperson of the German-Turkish Parliamentary Friendship Group.
Between March 2003 and October 2004, in Chancellor Gerhard Schröder’s second cabinet, Roth served as the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office.
Roth became federal chairperson of Alliance '90/The Greens again in October 2004 and was re-elected as such several times, most recently in November 2010. In 2012, she failed to become the number one woman in the federal election campaign for 2013. After this defeat she was unsure to run again for the position of leader of the board of directors of the party. Fellow party member Volker Beck started a support campaign in favour of her in social media networks and called it candystorm.
Roth was elected as Vice-President of the German Bundestag on 22 October 2013.
- 1985 - 1989: Press spokeswoman for the Green party of West Germany.
- 1985 - 1998: Member of the European Parliament (Chairwoman of the Green Party faction from 1994 to 1998).
- 1998 - March 2001: Member of the Green Party faction in the German Parliament (Bundestag).
- Chairwoman of the Human Rights Board in the German Parliament
- March 2001 - December 2002: Chairwoman of the German Green Party (together with Fritz Kuhn).
- 22 September 2002 - today: Member of the Green Party faction in the Bundestag.
- October 2004 - October 2013: Chairwoman of the German Green Party (together with Reinhard Bütikofer until 2008, then Cem Özdemir).
- 22 October 2013 - today: Vice president of the Bundestag.
Since her time at the European Parliament, Roth has regularly criticized the European Union's "determination to hold Turkey at bay." In 1995, she expressed doubts about Prime Minister Tansu Çiller’s ability to bring about human rights reforms as a condition for a European Union–Turkey Customs Union. In June 2013, Roth was at the surroundings of the Taksim Square when the police intervened to evacuate Gezi Park and was among those affected by the tear gas fired by security officers.
On right-wing extremism
On Friday 17 March 2006, Roth reported herself to the German police for displaying a crossed-out swastika on multiple demonstrations against Neo-Nazis, and subsequently got the Bundestag to suspend her immunity from prosecution. She intended to show the absurdity of charging anti-fascists with using fascist symbols: "We don't need prosecution of non-violent young people engaging against right-wing extremism."
On the death penalty
In 2008, Roth publicly urged incoming U.S. president Barack Obama to "be pushing for the banning of the death penalty, not for upholding it. The death penalty is the biggest blow against human rights and the right to live. He is not in a position to determine whether people live or die, not even in punishing them for the worst crimes!" Speaking in her capacity as leader of the Green Party and underlining the profound divergence in opinion concerning capital punishment in the United States and Western Europe, Roth called the execution of Troy Davis in 2011 “a cynical and inhumane spectacle that occasions mourning and horror.” She has also spoken out against capital punishement on numerous other occasions, including the execution of the LaGrand brothers in 1999 which she attended.
On the use of military force
Shortly after the U.S. launched military operations in Afghanistan in October 2001, Roth criticized the use of antipersonnel cluster bombs was "not appropriate". Her statement came a day after some 10,000 people, some of them carrying banners that said "Against repression and war" and "The American way of life is too expensive for our world," turned out in Berlin in a peaceful protest against the bombings. When the members of the Green Party later defied their pacifist roots and voted overwhelmingly in favor of sending German soldiers to Afghanistan, Roth maintained that "[the Greens] are and remain an antiwar party. But I think that under certain circumstances it must be possible to engage militarily in order to stop violence."
Roth has been criticized for her positive relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Along with fellow lawmakers Günter Gloser, Monika Grütters, Luc Jochimsen and Peter Gauweiler, she travelled to Iran in 2010 to meet with Ali Larijani, Manouchehr Mottaki and others; the trip was heavily criticized by international human rights organizations. In February 2013, she was reprimanded by German media outlets and Iranian dissidents for warmly greeting the Iranian ambassador to Germany, Alireza Sheikhattar, with a high five. Iranian Kurdish dissidents hold Sheikhattar responsible for the murder of Kurds during his tenure as governor of Iran's Kurdistan and West Azerbaijan provinces from 1980 to 1985.
- The Commissioner for Human Rights Policy Foreign Office (Germany)
- Stephen Kinzer (December 15, 1997), Turkey, Rejected, Will Freeze Ties to European Union New York Times.
- Hugh Pope (October 7, 1995), New Allies Push Turkey Premier to the Right Los Angeles Times.
- Craig Mackenzie (June 26, 2013), Hotel guests and protesters treated by medics after riot police throw tear gas into lobby as Istanbul unrest continues Daily Mail.
- Obama: Death penalty for child rapists! Bild, July 2, 2008.
- Scott Sayare (September 22, 2011), In Europe, a Chorus of Outrage Over a U.S. Execution New York Times.
- Michaela Schießl (March 1, 1999), Wie ein Tier im Käfig Der Spiegel.
- Steven Erlanger (October 16, 2001), Fissures in German Support for U.S. Attacks New York Times.
- Edmund L. Andrews (November 25, 2001), German Greens Patch Rift And Support Use of Military New York Times.
- Benjamin Weinthal (November 16, 2010), That Treasured German-Iranian Friendship Wall Street Journal.
- "German Green Party head high-fives Iran’s envoy". The Jerusalem Post. 11 February 2013.
- "Claudia Roth (Augsburg), BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN" (in German). Deutscher Bundestag. Retrieved 2010-10-19.
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