In 2022 as a whole, at least 188 people were injured in attacks against refugees, 21 of them children. Police have identified suspects for many of the crimes
The number of attacks on refugee shelters in Germany is currently on the rise again. In 2022, the police registered 121 incidents, an increase of 73 per cent compared to the previous year. In addition, there are 1248 attacks against asylum seekers or refugees outside of shelters. This means that three people are victims of such attacks every day – this number has hardly changed compared to the previous year.
The most frequently recorded offences include the use of symbols of unconstitutional organisations, incitement of the people and insult, but there is also damage to property, trespassing, violation of the Explosives or Weapons Act and serious arson. By 19 October, the police had already identified 597 suspects, and in the fourth quarter 256 more were added. Most of the offences were attributed to the police category „right-wing“.
The information comes from four answers given by the Federal Ministry of the Interior to parliamentary questions by Clara Bünger, a member of the Bundestag, first reported by the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung. As the spokesperson on refugee policy for the Left Party, Bünger asks about the attacks on a quarterly basis. In the resulting statistics for the year 2022, subsequent reports for the last quarter are still missing, so the final figures are likely to be even higher.
In the answers, the ministry also provides information on injuries. According to the current figures, 188 people were injured in 2022 as a whole, 21 of them children. Here, too, there is an increase: in 2021, 171 people were injured, 11 of them children. Most of these offences occurred outside of asylum accommodation.
Despite the increase compared to 2021, the numbers are still below the level of previous years, which were characterised by the refugee movements referred to as the „migration crisis“. In 2016, the police recorded the highest figure to date, with a total of 2545 attacks on refugees inside and outside of accommodation. In the following five years, this figure had roughly halved.
This is why the renewed increase is worrying, Bünger agrees. „Refugees who are looking for safety and protection here are put in fear,“ she explains to „nd“. This disturbing development is not surprising given the right-wing sentiment in the country. Conservatives like Friedrich Merz [federal chairman of the conservative Christian Democratic Union], who use verbal ascriptions and speak disparagingly of „social tourists“ or „little pashas“, deliberately contribute to the aggravation of exclusion and ultimately to attacks, Bünger says, adding: „Do we want to wait until Rostock-Lichtenhagen repeats itself?“
The Federal Ministry of the Interior itself does not name any possible reasons for the growing number of right-wing and racist acts of violence. The „Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung“ suspects the expiry of the Corona requirements as well as the increased number of refugees: in 2022, almost 218,000 asylum seekers had come to Germany, as many as last in 2016. In addition, there were almost one million Ukrainians.
„Parliamentarians must finally stop presenting migration as a danger and warning about allegedly ‚illegal refugees‘ on the Balkan route,“ criticises Bünger. The MEP demands a concrete package of measures from the European Union to protect against attacks on refugees and their shelters.
Published in German in „nd“.
Image: The Sunflower House in Rostock-Lichtenhagen, attacked by a right-wing mob in 1992. Such attacks could happen again, warns Clara Bünger (Timur Y/CC BY 3.0).
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