From file: Police cars in Ravensburg, Germany | Photo: F.Kästle/dpa/picture-alliance
From file: Police cars in Ravensburg, Germany | Photo: F.Kästle/dpa/picture-alliance

More than 1,250 attacks against asylum seekers – mostly by members of right-wing groups – were recorded in Germany last year. But an anti-hate crime NGO said the real number was much higher.

In 2021, the number of criminal offenses on asylum seekers and their places of accommodation in Germany exceeded 1,250. By comparison, authorities registered 1,690 criminal offenses against asylum seekers and places of accommodation in 2020, while 2019 saw 1,749 attacks, according to the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung (NOZ) newspaper on Tuesday (February 22).

Although the decline was mostly due to pandemic-related restrictions, according to the federal Interior Ministry, it's the lowest level since authorities started tracking right-wing motivated violence against asylum seekers in 2014.

The figure peaked at more than 3,500 a year later, when hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees arrived in Europe.

Level of violent crime remains high

While the overall number of criminal offenses last year declined by 26% compared to 2020, the number of violent acts against asylum seekers and their places of accommodation dropped by only 12% to 216 violent acts last year (down from 246 in 2020).

Almost all of the assaults were directed at asylum seekers outside of their accommodation: 153 people were injured as a result, according to the ministry. Moreover, authorities registered 20 assaults on aid organizations and their volunteers last year.

"Those affected by the attacks came to Germany to seek protection," said Clara Bünger of the left-wing faction in the German Parliament. "We must never get used to people who fled being insulted, humiliated, attacked and hurt."

Bünger called on the federal government to develop "suitable protection concepts" as well as guarantee a right to remain for victims of racist violence.

'Life in danger'

Reacting to the NOZ report, the Amadeu Antonio Foundation said on Twitter that the real number of violent attacks against asylum seekers was a lot higher than the official statistics of the German security agencies.

The NGO, which works against right-wing extremism, racism and antisemitism, claims that numerous cases weren't recorded and others were wrongly included in the police reports. This would skew the statistics and at times trivialize violence against asylum seekers, the foundation said in a recent report.

In the 96-page report 'Life in Danger -- violence against refugees in Germany', the Amadeu Antonio Foundation called for, among other things, better protection for potential victims, intensifying internal investigations at security agencies as well as systematically sensitizing judges and police staff in regards to hate crime and group-focused enmity so that victims don't shy away from reporting incidents.

One of the 'hotspots of right-wing violence' listed in the report is the eastern German state of Brandenburg, which has the highest per-capita (relative to the population) number of anti-refugee attacks.

Since 2015, the foundation and German migrant advocacy group Pro Asyl have documented more than 12,000 anti-refugees incidents in an accessible and searchable online database. It shows significant differences to official statistics.

with AFP


More articles