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DW News

UN examines situation of blacks in Germany

A UN delegation has completed a week-long fact-finding mission on the human rights situation of people of African descent in Germany. The experts spoke to government officials, NGOs, and people from the black community who often face discrimination – subtle or otherwise.

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Germany's black community is made up from people from all walks of life: artists, business people, scientists, students - but for many Germans, it's their skin color that counts first.

"I'm German - but that's not what people think," black community activist Karen Tayor told DW.

"I'm often asked where I come from and people are really surprised at how good my German is," she said.

"When I tell them I'm from Germany, that's still not enough for them. Then they ask me where my parents came from and where my grandparents came from."

'Too many foreigners'

Fellow black community activist Jonas Berhe has faced similar experiences. The trade union executive said he's lost count of the number of times he has been checked by inspectors on public transport. Finding an apartment was also difficult.

"When speaking on the phone, people can't tell of course from my accent that I'm black," Behre explained.

"But when I meet them in person to see if I can rent the apartment, I'd heard statements ranging from coy to blatant that there are too many foreigners already living in the building."

End to discrimination

Judy Gummich from the cultural-political forum "ADEFRA: Black Women in Germany" said that one of the main problems facing blacks people in Germany is that racism is "still treated as if it only happens at the margins of society - especially in extreme right-wing circles."

"But every study on the topic shows that it's happening at the heart of society," Gummich told DW. "I believe that's a major problem where much work still needs to be done."

During a week-long visit to Germany, a UN delegation is now asking the question: How much racism do people with an African background face in Germany?

For the community, the big hope is that the UN delegation will not just recognize that there is a racism problem in Germany, but that discrimination there is finally ended.