An average of nearly 10 attacks a day was carried out on refugees in Germany last year, according to the country’s interior ministry. Attacks injured 560 people, including 43 children, and prompted accusations that the country’s hardened stance on the refugee issue was encouraging hate crimes.
Out of the attacks, almost three quarters targeted refugees outside of their accommodations. Another 988 attacks were carried out on refugee housing, a slight drop from 2015. In addition, 217 refugee organizations and volunteers were attacked. The figures are only preliminary and may be adjusted later.
“These are alarmingly high numbers — and a reason for concern,” Interior Ministry spokesman Johannes Dimroth told reporters in Berlin on Monday. “But there is a small shimmer of hope in that we see a tendency toward preceding numbers.”
As the BBC points out, 280,000 asylum seekers arrived in Germany in 2016, down from more than 600,000 in 2015. The migrant crisis, and German chancellor Angela Merkel’s once open-armed policy toward admitting asylum seekers from Syria and other countries has become a major political issue in Germany, and has also greatly influenced the political debate around immigration in other European countries.
“People who have fled their home country and seek protection in Germany have the right to expect safe shelter,” the Interior Ministry said in a statement accompanying the 2016 data, which was released in response to a parliamentary question.