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Amadeu Antonio Foundation calls for reform of the General Equal Treatment Act and an independent registration office

Foto: Fraktion DIE LINKE. im Bundestag (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Berlin, June 9, 2020. Based on the latest figures on racist incidents published today by the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency, the Amadeu Antonio Foundation calls for decisive action against racial discrimination. In particular, racial unequal treatment by state institutions has so far been an empty space.

The number of reported racist incidents has doubled in the past five years. Around 1200 people contacted the federal anti-discrimination agency last year because they had experienced racial discrimination. According to the 2019 annual report, the number of reported cases rose by almost ten percent compared to the previous year. “Racial discrimination is not an unfortunate individual case,” emphasizes Anetta Kahane, chair of the Amadeu Antonio Foundation. “Racism is no exception, it is part of everyday life for those affected. It meets them on the subway, on the job and housing market, at police checks, when visiting authorities. It is high time that racism in all its forms is tackled consistently.”

General Equal Treatment Act needs to be reformed

Discrimination by state institutions and administration has so far not been covered by the Federal General Equal Treatment Act. “The law urgently needs to be reformed in order to also include official discrimination,” emphasizes Kahane, thereby supporting the call from the federal anti-discrimination agency. “The Berlin State Anti-Discrimination Act, which explicitly includes governmental forms of discrimination and thus closes an important legal gap, can serve as a model. It must also be possible at the federal level to legally defend oneself against discrimination by public authorities. Too often, those affected have to fight for their rights alone. After the painful experience of racial discrimination, this can be an enormous burden. The overdue reform of the Equal Treatment Act therefore also includes the introduction of a right to bring collective actions.”

Dark field: demand for an independent registration office

The figures from the anti-discrimination agency reflect the development of the social climate in recent years. Racism is increasingly uninhibited. But the numbers represent only part of the bright field. “Negative experiences with the police and a lack of trust in government agencies often result in victims not reporting racial discrimination. There is an urgent need for an independent, non-governmental research and information center that systematically and differentially captures the dark field of racist incidents and takes victims seriously rather than downplaying discrimination,” says Kahane.

Black people and people of color are underrepresented

“Anti-discrimination measures must not be merely lip service, but must have a significant impact on the culture of state institutions. This also means that diversity shouldn’t just be a figurehead or even an annoying evil,” says Kahane.
The perspectives and expertise of black people and people of color are significantly underrepresented in Germany and in state institutions. Their self-organizations and the organizations that work against racism need long-term and secure financial support through state funding.

Viola Schmidt, press officer of the Amadeu Antonio Foundation
030/240 886 16 |

About the Amadeu Antonio Foundation:
Since its foundation in 1998, the Amadeu Antonio Foundation has aimed to strengthen a democratic civil society that consistently opposes right-wing extremism, racism and anti-Semitism. The non-profit foundation is under the patronage of Wolfgang Thierse.


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