World, Europe

Racism on rise in Germany: Anti-discrimination watchdog

Major factor in increase largely related to coronavirus, says group’s head

Oliver Towfigh Nia   | 12.05.2021
Racism on rise in Germany: Anti-discrimination watchdog

BERLIN 

Racial discrimination increased significantly in Germany in 2020, the acting head of the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency, Bernhard Franke, said Tuesday in Berlin. 

The number of cases reported surged 78% to 6,383, according to the group’s annual report, which was presented during a news conference,

A major factor in the increase is largely related to reports linked to the coronavirus pandemic, said Franke.

There were 1,900 cases, where, for example, people complained of being discriminated against for having to wear a mouth and nose mask or having to abide by hygienic restrictions.

Furthermore, there were verbal and physical attacks against Asians -- being scapegoated for the virus.

Regardless of the coronavirus effect, there was a substantial rise in ​​discrimination based on ethnic origin or racist reasons.

There were 2,101 complaints, compared to 1,176 in 2019.

Germany has been grappling with racism for years amid ongoing anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic and anti-refugee protests.

It also witnessed several deadly far-right extremist terror attacks, including the National Socialist Underground, a neo-Nazi group that was able murder primarly ethnic Turks for almost a decade before authorities caught up with the group

In 2019, Walter Lubcke, a pro-refugee regional legislator in Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union Party, was murdered by a far-right extremist outside his home.

There have also been far-right death threats against journalists, politicians, artists and intellectuals of migrant background in recent years.


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