Abayomi Bankole, chairman of the Board of the High Council of the African Community in Germany, speaking last November at the People of African Descent Week in Berlin/Photo: AfricanCourierMedia

Germany: Don’t neglect fight against racism, group calls on government

An umbrella organisation of Africans in Germany has called on government not to neglect racism even as it’s making strenuous efforts to curb the spread of the new coronavirus in the country.

The group made the call in a press statement, titled COVID-19: Alltagsrassismus kennt kein Ausübungsverbot! (Everyday racism doesn’t recognise official ban), issued on Thursday in Berlin.

“The High Council of the African Community in Germany (Zentralrat der afrikanischen Gemeinde in Deutschland – ZAGD e.V.) supports the Federal Government’s measures to restrict the spread of COVID-19. However, this exceptional situation has many negative social effects, which worry the ZAGD as a representative of people of African origin in Germany,” the statement said.

The group noted that government had implemented various measures, including extending social contact restrictions until 3 May, to curb the spread of the virus and safeguard the well-being of the people.

“Although these regulations are important and offer protection, they endanger the fight against right-wing extremism and racism. Only COVID-19 is being reported on in the media and the increase in right-wing extremist acts of violence, group-specific hostility and racism take a back seat.” ZAGD said.

“Unfortunately, everyday racism does not recognise any ban orders!”

The group pointed out that People of African origin experience racism every day, with the COVID-19 containment measures increasingly being used to legitimise discriminatory behaviour and actions.

“In March, for example, an employee of a Rossmann drugstore in Werther (NRW) denied a family of African origin access to the store, ostensibly because of the measures to contain COVID-19, while White people were allowed to enter the store unhindered and without maintaining minimum social distance,” the ZAGD reported.

The Council also pointed to international developments that of concern to it, especially as they affect the human rights of people of African descent.

“We also receive disturbing news from China of how people of African origin are allegedly blamed for the pandemic! According to reports, people of African origin are experiencing increased humiliation and violence. In addition, racist statements continue to be made in the French media such as when two French scientists openly discussed the possibility of testing vaccines in Africa on hypocritical grounds. Such statements are unacceptable and should be punished legally!” ZAGD said.

“It cannot be overlooked that the corona crisis strengthens domineering behaviour and, as a result, we have to experience even more exclusion and injustice. Not only in other countries, but also right here in Germany. We demand clarification and concrete actions so that racist acts can no longer occur without consequences and we demand that our security needs and human dignity are finally taken seriously!”

Sola Jolaoso

More about the High Council of the African Community in Germany at: www.zentralrat-afrikagemeinde.de

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