Germany: Racism ‘in all parts of society,’ UN review shows

6th May 2015


Germany has come under fire from a United Nations panel reviewing efforts to eliminate racism in the country. Recent events, including PEGIDA rallies and the alleged arson attack on a refugee home, have raised concerns.

“Racism in Germany is not only found in extreme right-wing circles, but in all parts of society,” the German government admitted to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in Geneva on Tuesday.

“Many politicians and parties fail to consistently disassociate themselves from racist resentments, stereotypes and prejudices,” added Selmin Çaliskan, Secretary General of Amnesty International in Germany. She says this contributes to support for the “stigmatization of minorities,” promoted by the anti-immigrant PEGIDA movement among others.

The weekly right-wing PEGIDA rallies saw a huge surge in popularity between October and February, with numbers reaching as high as 25,000 in the eastern German city of Dresden.

‘Active civil society’

But Almut Wittling-Vogel, a Justice Ministry official representing the German government pointed out that the protest movement has since been outnumbered by counter-protesters at demonstrations.

“We are happy that we can also cite examples of an active civil society,” she said before the panel.

Wittling-Vogel also promised that Germany would step up the prosecution of racist crimes.

The pledge to increase convictions came in light of concerns raised by the UN convention over alleged investigation blunders into the suspected murders of migrants by the National Socialist Underground (NSU). The trial of the group’s last known member, Beate Zschäpe, is currently ongoing in Munich.

‘Racial profiling’

On Wednesday, the second day of the two-day hearing, German human rights groups are expected to criticize the government for failures in the fight against racism.

Among other issues put before the panel will be persistent claims of “racial profiling” by German police in routine checks on trains.

“Such actions would undermine the confidence of ethnic minorities in the German police,” Amnesty International warned. The German government’s report denied the claims.

Human rights groups also say that refugees often struggle to find housing and legal help.

‘Major policy field’

In around two weeks the panel of 18 independent experts will publish proposals to improve anti-racism efforts in Germany and further implement the UN convention against racism, which came into effect in 1969.

Petra Follmar-Otto, head of the German Institute for Human Rights, said she hoped the hearing would “finally make the fight against racism in Germany a major policy field.”

ksb/bk (dpa, epd)

2 Responses to “Germany: Racism ‘in all parts of society,’ UN review shows”

Ian Barnettt.May 8, 2015

……yes, rather like the muslim world.


Iftikhar AhmadMay 18, 2015

Racism and bullying is the part and parcel of British schooling. This is one of the many reasons why Muslim parents would like to send their children to Muslim schools.

The demand for Muslim schools comes from parents who want their children a safe environment with an Islamic ethos. Parents see Muslim schools where children can develop their Islamic Identity where they won’t feel stigmatised for being Muslims and they can feel confident about their faith. Muslim schools are working to try to create a bridge between communities. There is a belief among ethnic minority parents that the British schooling does not adequately address their cultural needs. Failing to meet this need could result in feeling resentment among a group who already feel excluded. Setting up Muslim school is a defensive response. State schools with monolingual teachers are not capable to teach English to bilingual Muslim children. Bilingual teachers are needed to teach English to such children along with their mother tongue. According to a number of studies, a child will not learn a second language if his first language is ignored.

Bilingual Muslims children have a right, as much as any other faith group, to be taught their culture, languages and faith alongside a mainstream curriculum. More faith schools will be opened under sweeping reforms of the education system in England. There is a dire need for the growth of state funded Muslim schools to meet the growing needs and demands of the Muslim parents and children. Now the time has come that parents and community should take over the running of their local schools. Parent-run schools will give the diversity, the choice and the competition that the wealthy have in the private sector. Parents can perform a better job than the Local Authority because parents have a genuine vested interest. The Local Authority simply cannot be trusted.

Indiscipline, incivility, binge drinking, drug addiction, gun and knife crimes, teenage pregnancies and abortion are part and parcel of British schooling. These are the reasons why majority of Muslim parents would like to send their children to Muslim schools with Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods. Only less than 10% attend Muslim schools and more than 90% keep on attending state and church schools to be mis-educated and de-educated by non-Muslim monolingual teachers.


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