It's violence against refugees that has increased, not violence caused by refugees.
While many are calling for a ban on the admission of refugees in several countries, some of them citing the increase in violence since their arrival as a reason to keep them out, Germany has documented just why there is an increment. According to a report recently released from Germany’s Interior Ministry, the rise in violence is not a result of refugees wreaking havoc but of anti-refugee attacks occurring in the nation.
The report stated that there were more than 3,500 anti-refugee attacks in 2016, averaging about 10 per day throughout the year. This was the first year that data of this nature was collected, so it’s difficult to compare to anti-refugee acts in previous years, but the information is very telling.
Here’s the breakdown: 2,455 of those attacks targeted individuals, 988 targeted shelters and 217 targeted organizations and volunteers. The horrifying result was 560 injured refugees, 43 of whom were children. Amnesty International reported that asylum shelters experienced 16 times more attacks in 2015 (1,031) than it did in 2013 (63), so the numbers have been steadily increasing and are now consistent.
German Interior Minister Heiko Maas tweeted in response to the released report: “Attacks on people who seek shelter with us and attacks on workers are all attacks on us, on our open, free society.”
Germany’s history of accepting refugees in recent years is complicated, as they went from being the largest single recipient of the displaced people to suddenly reducing their intake by around 600,000 people last year. They have been criticized for both accepting too many and too little refugees, and the immigration policies are set to be a focal point of the elections this coming September. Some cite the tougher asylum laws as the reason that many German citizens view refugees as dangerous.
Most people agree that these attacks need to be better addressed when they occur, both within the community and through law enforcement.
“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,” said Marco Perolini, Amnesty International’s EU Researcher.
Many have outwardly condemned the political agenda of the right-wing parties that push racism, hatred, and violence towards refugees because of their strong anti-immigration and anti-terrorism beliefs. Some refugees who have experienced the hatred firsthand have come forward to express their fear while living in the country that is supposed to be their safe haven.
“All my friends were afraid after the attack against me. I escaped a war in Syria and I don’t need to face tensions here in Germany. I just would like to work … and to have a good life, as I had before the war,” said Ciwan B., an ethnic Kurd who fled Syria and was attacked in Dresden in September 2015, told Amnesty International.
The overarching problem is that these refugees sought asylum elsewhere because they were under attack in their home country. They should not have to endure the same torture in the place they turned to for protection.
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