BERLIN/ GENEVA (27 February 2017) – People of African descent in Germany suffer racial discrimination, Afrophobia and racial profiling in their daily lives, but their situation remains largely invisible to the wider society, a United Nations expert panel said today at the end of its first official visit* to the country.
“The repeated denial that racial profiling does not exist in Germany by police authorities and the lack of an independent complaint mechanism at federal and state level fosters impunity,” said Ricardo Sunga, who currently heads the expert group.
From 20 to 27 February, a delegation of the Working Group visited Berlin, Dessau, Dresden, Frankfurt, Wiesbaden, Düsseldorf, Cologne and Hamburg to gain first-hand knowledge on racial discrimination, Afrophobia, xenophobia, and related intolerance affecting people of African descent in Germany.
“There is a serious lack of ethnicity-based disaggregated data, and an incomplete understanding of history, which obscure the magnitude of structural and institutional racism people of African descent face,” Mr. Sunga said.
The delegation, which also included human rights experts Mireille Fanon Mendes-France and Sabelo Gumedze, welcomed ongoing efforts by the administration to address racial discrimination faced by people of African descent.
“The Working Group believes that institutional racism and racist stereotyping by the criminal justice system has led to a failure to effectively investigate and prosecute perpetrators of racist violence, racial profiling and hate crimes against people of African descent,” said Mr. Sunga.
During the eight-day mission, the human rights experts engaged with representatives of the German Federal and State authorities, representatives of national and provincial human rights institutions and civil society.
They also promoted the International Decade for People of African Descent, which runs from 2015 to 2024 and aims both to highlight the contribution of people of African descent to societies and strengthen national, regional and international cooperation to ensure the human rights of people of African descent are respected, promoted and fulfilled.
“Awareness of the issue of structural racial discrimination targeting people of African descent has grown thanks to a vocal civil society. The launch of the International Decade for people of African descent in Germany and the State coalition agreements, which recognize the people of African descent as a particular victim group are important steps in the path to recognition,” Mr. Sunga said.
The Working group will present a report containing its findings and recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2017.
(*) Check the Working Group’s full end-of-mission statement: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=21233&LangID=E
The Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent was established on 25 April 2002 by the then Commission on Human Rights, following the World Conference against Racism held in Durban in 2001. It is composed of five independent experts: Mr. Ricardo A. Sunga III (the Philippines), current Chair-Rapporteur; Mr. Michal Balcerzak (Poland); Ms. Mireille Fanon Mendes-France (France), Mr. Sabelo Gumedze (South Africa) and Mr. Ahmed Reid (Jamaica).
The Working Group is part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the United Nations Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the United Nations Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms. Special Procedures mandate-holders are independent human rights experts appointed by the Human Rights Council to address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. They are not UN staff and are independent from any government or organization. They serve in their individual capacity and do not receive a salary for their work.
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