There have been numerous arson attacks on refugee shelters across Germany over the past two years | Photo: Picture alliance / dpa / B. Schoelzchen
There have been numerous arson attacks on refugee shelters across Germany over the past two years | Photo: Picture alliance / dpa / B. Schoelzchen

The number of politically motivated attacks on migrants and refugees began a slight downward trend in 2018. The German authorities reported just under 2,000 politically motivated attacks in that year, compared to 3,556 in 2016.

Most of the attacks on migrants and refugees are right-wing motivated attacks, the German authorities say. The types of attacks range from racist insults and name-calling to damage to property, right up to grievous bodily harm and in three reported cases even attempted murder. The information came to light following a question in the German parliament, posed by the Left wing (Die Linke) group to the German interior ministry.

Ulla Jelpke, a spokesperson for the Left wing (Die Linke) group in the parliament, has posed similar questions to the German parliament at regular intervals over the last few years. Her latest question asks about the last quarter of 2018.

Most of the attacks on migrants and refugees happened near the welcome centers where these people lived, explained the ministry. Some attacked the centers and buildings directly but ended up hurting the people within them too. In all, 315 people in 2018 were injured in these types of attacks. In answer to one of Jelpke’s questions, in the last quarter of 2018, 40 people were injured in attacks, four of whom were children.

Higher numbers in previous years

In 2017, the authorities registered a total of 1,903 attacks (including verbal attacks and threats) directly on migrants and refugees and 312 on the places where they lived. The numbers were even higher in 2016, 2,561 attacks on people and 995 on their accommodation.

Jelpke was quoted by the German Press Agency dpa saying “Violent crimes and threats using weapons or even explosive material are statistically reported every day.” She went on to say that it wasn’t just the right-wing party the AFD (Alternative for Germany) and other right-wing groups that are responsible for these attacks but also the rhetoric coming from the CSU / CDU union which in her opinion was helping to “demonize” migration and equating those who sought protection with criminals. She called for an end to this kind of rhetoric in the hope that the situation would start to significantly improve.

On her own website, Jelpke published the news too. She wrote that “Daily racist terror is insupportable, not just for refugees but also for all democrats in Germany.” She hoped that people wouldn’t become used to this kind of situation.

Much of the reporting for this article came from the German press agency, dpa.


 

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