ECRI-Report: Germany needs to make greater efforts against racism

Year of issue 2020
Date 2020.03.17

Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency supports recommendations

The Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency welcomes the report on Germany, presented today by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), and supports its recommendations. Among other things, it calls for more intensive prevention and combating of right-wing extremism and racism, more effective action against online hate speech and an extended mandate as well as additional competences for the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency.

In its sixth reporting cycle, ECRI, a body of the Council of Europe, examined the situation in Germany with regard to racism, anti-Semitism, hostility against LGBTI people and intolerance.

"ECRI’s report underlines the need for Germany to make greater efforts to combat racism and discrimination", said Bernhard Franke, Acting Head of the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency, in Berlin. "It is good that ECRI clearly emphasises the crucial importance of an effective equal treatment law and of strong anti-discrimination bodies in the Federal Republic and the Länder if we are serious about tackling the problem of everyday racism."

Of the 15 specific recommendations contained in the report, ECRI highlights two as being particularly urgent. Their implementation is to be reviewed after two years. On the one hand, this relates to building a “coherent system of organisations” in order to support victims of discrimination by establishing independent anti-discrimination agencies in all 16 Länder. On the other hand, it calls for a study to be commissioned on racial profiling by the police in Germany and the Länder in order to stop this practice and to avoid it in the future. ECRI notes “strong evidence for pronounced racial profiling” in the work of police authorities.

In addition, the Commission criticises that the "constant racial and xenophobic discourse by extreme right-wing extremists" are increasingly reflected in the public debate and the Commission observes a "high level of Islamophobia" in particular.

ECRI also acknowledges a series of positive developments since the last report from 2015. These include improving the fight against hate speech, for example through the Network Enforcement Act, enhancing the provision of child daycare places for families from migrant backgrounds and introducing “marriage for all” and the gender entry “diverse”. Positive mention is also made of Germany’s efforts in taking in refugees in 2015.

The group of experts visited the Federal Republic in 2019 and held discussions with representatives from civil society, federal government and the Länder as well as with independent expert institutions. The report and the recommendations take into account the developments until June 2019.

The ECRI report on Germany can be downloaded here.

The Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency is an independent contact point for persons affected by discriminatio. It was established in 2006 when the General Act on Equal Treatment entered into force. The Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency does public relations work and research on the topic of Discrimination and offers legal initial counselling for people who have been discriminated against on grounds of ethnic origin, religion, ideology, sexual identity, age, disability or gender.