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Structural racism, right-wing motivated and racist police violence in Thuringia

Thuringian conditions: right-wing extremism and group-related enmity in the Free State of Thuringia in May 2021 (Pp. 61-64).
An article by Sarah Ulrich.

Excerpts from the chapter "Structural racism, right-wing and racist police violence in Thuringia"

If you ask employees of the Erfurt office of DaMigra, the umbrella organization of migrant women’s organizations, they say that for many women with a migration and refugee history, racist and sexist experiences with public authorities are the order of the day.

In the context of domestic violence in particular, those affected have had negative experiences with the police. "Racist stereotypes sometimes mean that necessary measures to protect migrants affected by violence are not taken," says Rudaba Badakhshi, the regional coordinator * Central Germany of DaMigra.

The experiences of those affected would be devalued or culturalized (Shooman 2014), i.e. people not taken seriously due to cultural assumptions. For example, a refugee woman who lives in Erfurt first had to find out last year. Badakhshi says that she and her children were severely threatened by her partner. The police were called in, but left the person concerned with a piece of paper with an unknown number and a text, the language of which they did not understand.

As a result, an employee of the Erfurt DaMigra office who supported the woman was massively threatened, stalked and harassed by the perpetrator herself.

When she wanted to file a complaint, "she had to wait for hours in front of the police building in constant fear that the perpetrator might ambush her in front of the police," says the DaMigra employee. "The officer in charge was aware of this danger, and yet our colleague was only able to file a complaint because of her persistent, repeated inquiries."

In general, the organization reports that those affected by domestic violence usually do not trust the police because "nothing happens if they call the police". And if so, then some would have to fear the consequences for their residence status.

Many would therefore forego a report - which leads to further psychological stress and dependency relationships up to physical violence. Badakhshi speaks of a »discrimination against women * when it comes to protection against violence, depending on the residence permit«.

However, the Thuringian anti-discrimination network thadine, for example, has criticized the fact that the resolutions from the study have not yet been adequately implemented (thadine 2020). For example, there is no establishment of an independent anti-discrimination body, where cases such as racial profiling and other forms of discrimination can be reported and processed in statistics.

"The lack of an independent anti-discrimination advice center is particularly painful when it comes to discrimination and violence on the part of state institutions," says Rudaba Badakhshi from DaMigra. "Many victims of racial discrimination lack a contact point they can turn to and receive specific, long-term support."

The experiences with racist and right-wing motivated discrimination and violence by the police and authorities in Thuringia are complex. The main resistance lies in the self-organizations of those affected, such as DaMigra or ISD, and independent bodies such as ezra. In order to change the situation in the long term, however, it takes the consistent implementation of criminal law measures against racist police officers as well as awareness raising within the police, judiciary and authorities. At present, as the examples show, there are still many hurdles - such as a lack of error culture, a strong corps spirit within the police or a lack of consequences.


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