Germany’s largest Roma and Sinti group has documented hundreds of incidents of discrimination and racism over the past year.
Racial hatred and prejudice against the Roma and Sinti community in Germany are on the rise, according to a report released Monday that warns of rising right-wing extremism and nationalism.
The Central Council of German Sinti and Roma, the main representative of the country’s two minorities, recorded a total of 621 incidents of discrimination and racism in the past year alone.
Most were cases of prejudice and “verbal stereotyping,” according to the group.
But among them were also 11 cases of direct threats and 17 attacks.
A case of “extreme violence” occurred in the western German state of Saarland earlier this year, when members of the Roma and Sinti community were insulted by people on board from two cars, who then shot them with an air gun.
According to the Office for Antiziganism Reports which compiled the findings for 2022, the incident left several people injured.
The total number of incidents involving Roma and Sinti is expected to be even higher, as many cases are likely to go unreported.
Roma who fled the war in Ukraine were disproportionately affected by discrimination, the report said.
According to the German Federal Agency for Civil Education, around 60,000 Sinti and 10,000 Roma currently live in Germany, with both groups recognized as minorities in the country.
While the Sinti settled in Germany around the 15th century, as well as other European countries, the Roma arrived in the country relatively recently, around the 19th and 20th centuries.
Under the Nazi regime, Roma and Sinti people were persecuted, and it is estimated that between 220,000 and 500,000 people were murdered during the Third Reich.
Romani Rose, president of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma, told reporters in Berlin that the report “clearly shows the dangers of a rise in nationalism and right-wing extremism, which again lead to attacks and violence against Sinti, Roma and other minorities.
The report also highlights that around half of recorded cases of discrimination took place “at the institutional level”, that is, they were perpetrated by public agents such as the police and child protection officers. youth, employment agency workers or municipal administrators responsible for welcoming refugees.
“The State must finally assume its responsibilities and guarantee the protection of Sinti and Roma against violence, exclusion and discrimination,” declared Mehmet Daimagueler, German government commissioner against anti-ziganism.
The term refers to a series of prejudices, stereotypes and discrimination against Roma, Sinti and Travellers, who are often stigmatized as “Gypsies”. The term has been widely used as a racist slur.