Report on racism against Roma and Sinti in Germany shows widespread discrimination

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s leading Roma and Sinti group recorded hundreds of incidents of discrimination and racism against the minority community in the past year, a report said Monday, warning that increasing nationalism and right-wing extremism are contributing to violence against Germany's minorities.

The Central Council of German Sinti and Roma said that of the 621 incidents recorded, most were cases of discrimination and “verbal stereotyping.” But there were also 11 cases of threats, 17 attacks and one case of “extreme violence," the group said, adding that racism against Roma and Sinti is likely much higher because many cases are not reported.

Roma and Sinti are recognized minorities in Germany. Around 60,000 Sinti and 10,000 Roma live in Germany, according to Germany’s Federal Agency for Civil Education.

The report "clearly shows the dangers of increasing nationalism and right-wing extremism, which again leads to aggression and violence against Sinti and Roma and other minorities,” the head of the group, Romani Rose, told reporters in Berlin.

The case of “extreme violence” took place in the western German state Saarland earlier this year, when people in two cars insulted members of the community “in an anti-Gypsy manner” and then shot at them with a compressed air weapon. Several people were injured, according to the Office for Antiziganism Reports that compiled the findings for 2022.

Roma who have fled the war in Ukraine were disproportionally affected by the discrimination, the report says.

The report also pointed out that about half of the recorded cases of discrimination took place "at the institutional level,” meaning member of the Roma and Sinti were discriminated by employees of state institutions such as the police, youth welfare offices, job centers or municipal administrations responsible for accommodating refugees.

“The state must finally take on responsibility and guarantee the protection of Sinti and Roma against violence, exclusion and discrimination,” said Mehmet Daimagueler, the German government's commissioner against antiziganism.

During the Third Reich, the Nazis persecuted and murdered an estimated 220,000 to 500,000 European Sinti and Roma.