Number of cases of discrimination linked to COVID-19 on the rise

Year of issue 2020
Date 2020.05.06

Franke: the threat posed by the virus is exacerbated by hate and marginalisation

Since the start of the pandemic, the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency has received over 100 enquiries about discrimination linked to coronavirus.

More than half of these were about discrimination based on ethnic origin. Other cases of discrimination were on the grounds of disability, age or gender identity (as of 20 April). The background document entitled “Diskriminierungserfahrungen im Zusammenhang mit der Corona-Krise” (discrimination in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic) published on Wednesday, 6 May 2020, provides information about the cases and about possible legal action against discrimination.

"Cases range from openly racist behaviour in public to physical assaults", explained the Acting Head of the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency, Bernhard Franke, in Berlin on Wednesday. He went on to explain that the agency receives reports of hate speech at work or of racial profiling of people of Asian appearance. According to Franke, others turn to the agency because protective measures, such as the requirement to wear face masks, are implemented without considering disadvantaged groups, for example people with disabilities, while people with walking aids struggle with certain supermarket policies, such as having to use a shopping trolley.

"The COVID-19 pandemic reveals existing problems regarding discrimination and can exacerbate them", Franke said. "The threat posed by the virus does not make people equal – some groups face even higher levels of marginalisation, hate and discrimination. We have to take decisive (legal) action against this. We advise all of those affected to look for support and not to tolerate this type of experience. Discrimination is never justified, not even in times of crisis", said Franke.

You can access the document on discrimination in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic 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.