As Black Lives Matter protests persist worldwide, a German study reveals that discrimination against people based on their ethnic origin has increased. The report warns of serious consequences for society.
Ever since the violent death of an African-American man, George Floyd, at the hands of police two weeks ago, a wave of protests has been rolling across the US.
Many people in Germany were also shocked by footage in which he is seen in mortal agony while being subjected to brutal mistreatment for almost nine minutes. Tens of thousands of people across the country took to the streets this past weekend to protest against racism, despite restrictions imposed to stem the coronavirus pandemic,
Amid considerable media attention, they also decried racial discrimination in Germany. For the image of German society, too, has repeatedly been blemished by everyday racism, xenophobic riots and right-wing extremist attacks like those carried out by the National Socialist Underground (NSU).
Almost 1,200 complaints of racism
Recent statistics back up the protesters' criticism and confirm a dismal trend: Racial discrimination has increased significantly in Germany.
According to the 2019 annual report presented Tuesday by the German Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency (ADS), the number of such cases reported in Germany rose by almost 10% to 1,176. They make up 33% of the cases dealt with by the agency. That is the largest share, and not for the first time: In 2016, it was already 25%. Since 2015, when 545 reported cases were listed, the number has more than doubled.
Germany has an "ongoing problem with racial discrimination and does not give enough consistent legal support to victims," said Bernhard Franke, the acting head of the anti-discrimination agency, when presenting the report. The feeling of being left alone with injustice has "dire consequences in the long run that endanger social cohesion," Franke warned, adding, "Discrimination wears people down."
For this reason, the ADS' annual report focuses on the issue of racism in great detail.