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German Authorities Fail To Protect Refugees From Violence

A resident holds her smartphone as she sits on the floor in a corridor of a refugee shelter in Berlin, Germany, Friday, April 22, 2016. According to official estimates more than a million migrants have already arrived in northern Europe since the beginning of 2015. CREDIT: AP PHOTO/MICHAEL SOHN
A resident holds her smartphone as she sits on the floor in a corridor of a refugee shelter in Berlin, Germany, Friday, April 22, 2016. According to official estimates more than a million migrants have already arrived in northern Europe since the beginning of 2015. CREDIT: AP PHOTO/MICHAEL SOHN

German officials are failing to investigate and prosecute violence against refugees following a rise in the number of hate crimes targeting them, according to a new report from the human rights group Amnesty International.

The report compared data between 2013 and 2015, when Europe experienced a sharp influx of migrants and refugees fleeing from various countries in Africa and the Middle East. It found that there were 1,031 attacks on asylum shelters in 2015–16 times more than those committed in 2013. Racist, violent crimes against racial, ethnic, and religious minorities also increased to 1,295 attacks in 2015, or 87 percent more than in 2013.

The report also found that German authorities failed to properly investigate the racist motives behind attacks. That’s perhaps in part because Germany’s Federal Parliament failed to implement a system to collect data after it passed a law that would require courts and police to take into account racist and xenophobic motives of perpetrators so that they could “enhance” the penalty.

“With hate crimes on the rise in Germany, long-standing and well-documented shortcomings in the response of law enforcement agencies to racist violence must be addressed,” Marco Perolini, Amnesty International’s EU Researcher, said in a press statement. “German federal and state authorities need to put in place comprehensive risk assessment strategies to prevent attacks against asylum shelters. Further police protection is urgently needed for shelters identified at highest risk of attack.”

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According to the Deutsche Welle, the majority of crimes against refugee shelters in 2014 went “unresolved.” Out of 157 investigations, only 15 led to convictions, the news site reported.

Refugees Subjected To Sexual Abuse At German Shelters As Authorities Turn A Blind EyeWorld CREDIT: AP PHOTO/MUHAMMED MUHEISEN German authorities may have not paid proper attention to reports of sexual…thinkprogress.orgGermany was one of the biggest recipients of migrants and refugees last year, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel announcing that the country would not “close our borders” to refugees seeking safety from their home countries. As many as 1.1 million people applied for asylum in the country, many of whom have fled the civil war in Syria.

But local authorities have struggled to accommodate these refugees — and the response from the anti-immigrant, far-right movement has been violent. As many as six anti-refugee protests were held every week in 2015, according to Amnesty International. Aside from that, outrage over refugees in Germany often led to violent confrontations. One man went so far as to stab a politician in the neck for supporting refugees. People cheered and clapped as a refugee shelter was set on fire. In another case, someone threw a live hand grenade into the grounds of an asylum shelter. It did not detonate.

“Racial discrimination is most definitely an issue in Germany — but not only (there). It is a problem throughout the EU, and one that must be combatted at the level of national governments, regional authorities and frontline practitioners,” Katya Andrusz, communications coordinator for the EU’s Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), told DW.