Reem Alabali-Radovan is now both commissioner for anti-racism and integration | Photo: Christian Ditsch/epd/imago
Reem Alabali-Radovan is now both commissioner for anti-racism and integration | Photo: Christian Ditsch/epd/imago

Germany's new state minister for integration, Reem Alabali-Radovan, has now been appointed anti-racism commissioner of the German government, too. The 31-year-old politician says victims of racism need more protection, support and respect.

"Racism is a crime against humanity," Alabali-Radovan said in an online statement on the website of the German federal government from Wednesday (February 23). "For those affected, it's an existential threat -- they suffer both physically and mentally."

Citing the 2019 Halle synagogue shooting and the 2020 far-right extremist attack in Hanau, Alabali-Radovan stressed that racism can be deadly, too.

"Racism is a danger to our country, for it attacks our unity in diversity and our democracy," the 31-year-old member of Parliament said. "We all need to be anti-racists."

The federal cabinet appointed Alabali-Radovan to the position, which hasn't hitherto existed at the federal level, on Wednesday.

Alabali-Radovan announced she plans to coordinate the anti-racism measures of the federal government, present a national action plan against racism, and set up a nationwide advisory center for victims of racism.

The commissioner's office will be part of the federal Chancellery, which Alabali-Radovan called an important sign of the federal government seeing the significance of the new position.

Last December, the member of the Social Democrats (SPD) was appointed Germany's Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration.

'Warner and instigator'

Alabali-Radovan further said the state needed to guarantee an equitable and peaceful coexistence for all 83 million people who live in Germany.

The politician, who was born to Iraqi parents in Moscow in 1990, also said victims of racism needed more protection, support and respect. To that end, she said she'd try to be a "warner and instigator" in her role as the central contact person of the federal government for victims of racism.

Moreover, the new anti-racism commissioner said she'd develop a diversity strategy for the federal administration so that the federal ministries and authorities "reflect the diversity of our society." Last week, she had called for more police officers, teachers and administrative staff with a migration history.

Alabali-Radovan moved to Germany with her family as asylum seekers when she was five years old. She holds a political science degree and worked in reception centers for refugees and migrants before she embarked on her career in politics.

Last year, she became the Commissioner for Integration in her home state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Her family background is part of Iraq's Chaldean-Assyrian minority, which as a Christian opposition group witnessed persecution under the rule of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

She is married to professional boxer Denis Radovan, whose own family also came to Germany as refugees, fleeing the authoritarian rule of former Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu.

With epd


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