Germany’s Interior Minister has recently released statistics citing that in 2016 alone, over 3,500 attacks were carried out on migrants, refugees and asylum seekers within the country. Of the 3,533 assaults, nearly 1,000 of them were attacks on the homes of refugees and asylum seekers. This is similar to 2015 which saw approximately 1,031 of such attacks – a huge increase from 2014 with 199. These statistics were released upon the German opposition party’s request. In these critical times, Chancellor Angela Merkel and her government must act swiftly to prevent this violence as the opposition party is already prepared to. From ‘Brexit’ to Trump’s hateful campaign and presidency, we see an increasing number of attacks on innocent people based solely on the concept of foreignness. These figures provide more proof of the increasing levels of xenophobia and violence around the world. While attacks are frequent and unacceptable, the German government has yet to take any real action against them.
Especially in this situation, the German government must act to protect people – regardless of origin. Every individual has the right to safety and it is the role of Government to protect this right. Amnesty International’s spokesperson recently stated that “there are structural problems in Germany with how it prevents and deals with hate crimes… We need to see better risk assessments, more protection at certain locations and prosecutions of these appalling racist crimes.” Germany is Europe’s biggest economy and under Chancellor Merkel has welcomed refugees in recent years. In 2015, 600,000 refugees were accepted only to have those numbers fall to 280,000 last year when the government faced backlash for opening borders. The German government should realize its promise when it claims: “People who have fled their home country and seek protection in Germany have the right to expect safe shelter.”
Like many other countries in Europe, Germany gives hope to refugees escaping conflict in the Middle East and North Africa. While Germany has been generous in granting asylum, it is crucial that refugees continue to be welcomed within its borders. As they adapt to their new surroundings, refugees should not have to live in fear. The right to live a free and safe life belongs to every individual. The violence witnessed in recent years is unacceptable and must be stopped. In times of war, conflict, and hatred, we must all do our part to keep each other safe.
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