More than 2,000 cases of racist discrimination were reported in Germany last year, according to a new report by the country’s top anti-discrimination agency.
The country’s anti-discrimination commissioner, Ferda Ataman, said the figures are alarming and called for stronger legal measures.
“People in Germany still experience discrimination every day, especially in the job market and in everyday business and when looking for accommodation, and sometimes by public authorities or on the street," Ataman said.
“I also want people to know their rights and that discrimination is illegal. I want to make the German Equality Law better known and show how discrimination can be specifically prevented,” she added.
According to the report, a total of over 5,600 people filed discrimination complaints, 37% of those cases were of discrimination in the workplace.
Some 9% of those complaints were filed by people who experienced discrimination or disadvantages due to their religion.
The Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency offers consultation to people who in their professional or private lives have experienced discrimination on grounds of their ethnic origin, religion, belief, sexual identity, age, a disability or their gender.
To meet a significant increase in enquiries, the Anti-Discrimination Agency set up a service center last year to provide new and expanded telephone consultation services.
"It is very important to me that we can better help affected people in Germany, we also notice from the results of our study that the law that we have at the moment does not always help enough, unfortunately the anti-discrimination agency only has the opportunity to make a legal assessment,” Ataman said.
“The current anti-discrimination law is very weak, people have to go to court alone if they want to go to court, but what we can do as an anti-discrimination body is we can ask for a statement from the employer, or from the other person involved, we can try to help them reach a settlement, but in order to take legal action, people have to make that decision themselves and, for now, we can only give them a legal opinion,” she added.
Since 2019, the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency publishes annual reports about its activities.