Report of the UN Rapporteur on racism in Germany

on “contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance


Despite the general recognition that integration should be a two-way process involving both migrants and German society, a number of civil society organizations have pointed out that the debate so far has focused solely on the “responsibility” of migrants to integrate, a term which in many instances is interchangeably used to mean assimilation. According to many of the Special Rapporteur’s interlocutors, similarly to the provisions of the National Action Plan against Racism, the question of broader socio-economic structures that enable a proper integration of migrants has generally been avoided. (..)

Many civil society organizations pointed out that the National Action Plan against Racism has a narrow focus on right-wing extremism and is overly concentrated on the role of political parties, while almost entirely avoiding the key issue of indirect and structural discrimination against persons with a migration background. These interlocutors noted that the Plan does not propose any reform in key areas that directly contribute to the socio- economic exclusion of migrants, such as the role of the education system in promoting equal opportunities, or the question of discrimination in areas such as housing and employment. A more comprehensive criticism of the National Action Plan against Racism voiced by civil society is that it has not managed to shift anti-racism actions in Germany from project-oriented actions to taking a structural approach to the problem. (..)

The application of the classification scheme used by the police with regard to hate crimes shows that a great majority of them are considered as right-wing politically motivated crimes. As pointed out by many civil society organizations, a narrow understanding of racism still permeates many public institutions in Germany. In this approach, racist crimes are viewed primarily as a product of right-wing extremism. Apart from the conceptual flaws involved in this understanding of racism, civil society interlocutors pointed to the practical problems that this approach generates. In particular, the Special Rapporteur was informed that because of the association in practice of hate crimes to right-wing extremism, only crimes perpetrated by individuals known to be affiliated to an extreme-right wing movement will generally be characterized as a hate crime. Many other offences perpetrated by individuals who are not known to be right-wing extremists are not reported as hate crimes, but rather as bodily injuries.

read or download full report HERE
read Statement by the German Institute for Human Rights

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