Crimes against asylum seekers in Germany 'increase sharply'

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By Chris Harris
Crimes against asylum seekers in Germany 'increase sharply'

Hate crimes against asylum seekers have soared in Germany during the EU’s refugee crisis, it’s emerged.

Shortcomings in the response to racist violence must be addressed.

Marco Perolini Amnesty International

Amnesty International says reported incidents rose from 199 in 2014 to 1,295 the following year, a hike of 550%.

That increase is more than three-and-a-half times the rise in the number of first-time asylum applications in Germany over the same period.

There were 172,495 applications in 2014, rising by 155% to 441,800 the next year, according to the EU statistics office, Eurostat.

Marco Perolini, Amnesty International’s EU researcher, said: “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.

“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.”

It comes more than six months after Germany was plunged into shock by a series of attacks in Cologne on New Year’s Eve. Investigators received 1,170 criminal complaints of attacks, 492 relating to sexual assaults. Witnesses and victims said the attackers were mainly of North African or Arabic appearance.

Anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany has this year cemented its rapid rise, it took seats in all three regional parliaments in March elections. Anti-Islam movement Pegida has also been staging weekly protests in Dresden.

Amnesty International has called for an independent inquiry into their claims that crimes against asylum seekers are not being properly investigated by German authorities.