World Bulletin / News Desk
The Council of Europe (CoE) warned German authorities on Tuesday on the existence of “hidden racism” among broader sections of the population and urged for stronger action against racism.
The report by the council's anti-racism committee said a quarter of the population agree with xenopohobic remarks and 8.6.% with anti-Semitic statement.
The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance’s (ECRI) fifth report on Germany criticized authorities for adopting a “too narrow definition of racism” and under-reporting incidents of violence and hate speech motivated by racism and xenophobia.
“Since the reunification, the number of murders and the level of violence motivated by racism and homo/transphobia are high in Germany,” ECRI said. “[But] there is no reliable statistical tool for measuring the scale of violence and hate speech motivated by racism and homo/transphobia.”
According to statistics by NGOs, 182 persons were killed in Germany by right-wing extremists between 1990 and 2011 but official statistics put that number at 63. Official figures on the violence committed by right-wing extremists are also well below the statistics provided by independent NGO’s.
“The huge disparities between official and civil society figures should lead the police and judicial authorities in the first instance to question their statistics on racism,” the report stressed.
According to ECRI, some German police officers have been reluctant to register complaints of offences with a racist or homo/transphobic motive. “Other information suggests that racist ideas and sympathy towards extreme right-wing organizations are widespread in the police,” the report said.
The Council of Europe’s anti-racism committee renewed its call to German authorities to ratify Protocol No. 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights in order to combat discrimination and racism in public sector.
Under the current German Criminal Code, racial discrimination in the exercise of a public office or occupation are not expressly established as offences and no provision is made for legal persons to be held responsible under criminal law for racially motivated offences.
“The scope of the Law on Equal Treatment should be extended to the public sector. The law should contain a prohibition on racial profiling and make it obligatory to discontinue public funding of organizations, including political parties, which promote racism,” the report recommended.
The committee did welcome Germany's government’s stronger efforts in reaching out to raising awareness among young people on the dangers of neo-Nazi and extreme right-wing organizations.
ECRI also praised The Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency’s (ADS) project on the use of anonymous recruitment procedures, to combat discrimination against immigrants in labor market.
Council of Europe’s anti-racism committee has demanded further efforts to prevent discrimination against children of immigrant families in education while noting various cases of discrimination against Muslim girls wearing headscarves.
“Students from migrant backgrounds are still encountering a wide variety of problems, and they also lack support,” the report said. “They are less successful than German students and their drop-out rate is twice as high. This is why ECRI considers that these students also need intensive support during their studies.”
Under current Swiss laws, an applicant has to be on Swiss territory to lodge an asylum request.
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