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Executive Summary

Résumé exécutif

Résumé exécutif: Allemagne

L'Allemagne a fourni des efforts pour intégrer des personnes diverses. Pourtant, des inégalités subsistent entre ces personnes et les Allemandes.

Global Centre for Pluralism

Overall Score: 6

This assessment was completed in 2021.

In 2015, as Europe saw a surge in refugee claimants, Germany received an influx of individuals from conflict-affected contexts or with marginalized backgrounds. Subsequently, an onslaught of targeted racialized attacks and far-right terrorism were aimed at these communities. Due to concerns regarding immigrants’ integration and Germany’s past historical experiences with violence and racialization toward marginalized individuals, discussions in Germany about minority communities can be contentious. Together, the Global Pluralism Monitor report for Germany highlights this contention through focussing on two diversity types, national minorities and ethno-religious, immigrant and post-migrant groups (individuals who migrated in the past but whose cultural, ethnic or ‘racial’ background continues to be seen as a marker of ‘difference’) to unearth the country’s multifaceted reality regarding its relation with diverse communities.

On a policy level, Germany recognizes the importance of valuing diversity. The country has a long history of multiculturalism and has become increasingly diverse due to migration. German society has made efforts to integrate migrants and implement policies to promote equality and diversity. Moreover, Germany has established systems to support and empower marginalized communities, such as advisory councils and anti-discrimination agencies. However, there are still challenges to achieving pluralism in Germany, and discrimination and prejudice still exist. The country has taken steps to address these issues, including introducing legislation to combat hate speech and discrimination. Still, deep divides remain in Germany along social, cultural and religious lines that elevate ethnic Germans above individuals from diverse communities.

Legal Commitments

Germany’s commitment to protect the rights of minorities, women and children, and to prevent discrimination on the basis of gender, race and religion is bound to international treaties, agreements, human rights accords and to its role as a member of the European Union. As a member of the Council of Europe, Germany has signed treaties that further protect cultural and language rights for national minorities. In addition, Germany’s Basic Law protects the human and minority rights of individuals and extends equal treatment and non-discrimination to post-migrant and national minority groups. Moreover, Germany’s General Equal Treatment Act offers protection for human and minority rights, although the act prioritizes individual protections over group-based discrimination, with notable blind spots. While national minorities and minority languages are addressed in state constitutions, implementation is limited. Moreover, while Germany has laws in place such as the Nationality Law that allow for German citizenship acquisition, access to citizenship is hampered by regulations against dual citizenship, which requires some individuals to abandon their nationality in favour of a German one.


Practices and Leadership

Germany strives to embody pluralism in its political system but struggles to guarantee equal access and representation to diverse individuals across the country. As a result, it is unable to provide full political equality for its entire population; in other words, political influence and power is not shared equally by all. Regional governments, rather than the federal government, dictate policies and coordinate implementation to provide support for minority communities. This leads to variations in accommodation and access to resources across the country and makes it difficult for the federal government to regulate its legal commitments on a regional level and to guarantee that certain minority supports are in place.

Regarding equal representation, the underrepresentation of political actors with immigrant backgrounds in the national and subnational contexts is a challenge, with only 8.2% of delegates in the Lower House of the German Parliament having an immigrant background. The media sector also lacks diversity, with minorities being insufficiently represented, and inadequate state support for minority-focussed media. A systemic underrepresentation of minority groups in the public sector makes promoting visibility and the voice of minorities difficult.

The Monitor report showcases a steady rise in discrimination in the German workplace. Instances of discrimination on ethnic and religious grounds are observed in job application processes. These instances mostly occur in the early stages of job application processes – Muslim applicants are often overlooked and headscarves are seen as detrimental to business success. Germany has no systematic data collection efforts at the national level on ethnic background or national minority status that allows authorities to analyze inequalities.

Germany has a strong civil society with over 645,000 civil society organizations and movements. However, many of these organisations rely on financial support from federal programs or corporate foundations, limiting their ability to operate outside governmental parameters. Migrant advocacy and pro-refugee organizations face considerable hostility from the public, with some organizations labelled as an “anti-deportation industry” or “compassion industry”.


Group-based Inequalities, Inter-group Relations and Belonging

Ethno-religious, immigrant, post-migrant and national minority communities in Germany face discrimination in education, employment, politics and economic participation. This includes difficulties in accessing these services. At a policy-level, Germany provides access to subsidized housing, education and healthcare to its population. However, minority communities face barriers in accessing these social services, which results in many leaving school early and having a lower rate of employment when compared to the majority population. Systemic inequalities and communication problems also lead to adults from marginalized backgrounds being poorly treated. Despite citizenship law reforms, many individuals are still prevented from exercising their right to vote and standing for elections due to ongoing naturalization requirements and restrictions around dual nationality.

To the detriment of pluralism, Germany has experienced a rise in far-right terrorism, institutionalized inequalities and extremism, with Muslim refugees and people of Muslim faith increasingly targeted. There has also been an increase in negative attitudes towards minorities communities, as well as anti-Semitic, Islamophobic and anti-Roma hate crimes. In line with these attitudes, groups marked as “different” or “immigrants” are often treated with mistrust in German society, with young Muslim men experiencing the highest rate of mistrust. Individuals with minority backgrounds also experience a lower sense of belonging and shared ownership in society, and  often report experiences of discrimination. However, there is a general trend toward German’s greater acceptance of diversity recently which shows a promising trend towards greater societal inclusion.

Deep divides remain in Germany along social, cultural and religious lines that elevate ethnic Germans above individuals from diverse communities.

Monitor Takeaways

Germany has numerous national and international commitments that protect minority communities, women’s and girls’ rights. As an EU member, it is also equally bound to offer protections from discrimination to all individuals regardless of background or nationality. However, the Monitor report identifies that while Germany’s legal commitments attempt to construct an inclusive foundation for individuals of diverse backgrounds, these commitments are unable to confront the systemic inequalities that impact many Germans’ everyday lives – leading to a disjoint between policy and practice.

On a societal level, Germany fixates on differences, rather than normalizing them. While there is a general trend towards higher acceptance of diversity over time, including levels of trust among people with migrant backgrounds, minority communities still face high levels of mistrust, lack of inclusion, intergroup violence and racial inequalities that permeate the social, economic and political spheres of society. Similarly, while Germans celebrate cultural diversity as a concept, the Monitor report identifies that approximately one in every two Germans believes that social co-existence is only possible if minority groups adapt to the dominant culture. Diversity as a concept in Germany also has multiple nuances. While some minority communities such as Danish immigrants experience greater inclusion in the media and reduced intergroup violence and discrimination, Muslim, Sinti and Roma communities are made hypervisible in society and therefore face more discrimination and exclusion. This report showcases how Germans are at odds, with some viewing pluralism as an opportunity, while others see it as contradictory to German culture.

Germany has many systems in place to protect minority communities but struggles with an ongoing rise in violence, far-right extremism and a lack of intergroup trust and belonging. Currently, many communities find it difficult to overcome discrimination, racial penalties and prejudices connected with ethnicity and religion. For Germany to continue on its path to becoming a more equitable and pluralistic society, it can reduce barriers to accessing the political sphere and address the lack of intergroup trust that prevents a more cohesive society from forming.


The Monitor report’s recommendations echo what experts, activists and stakeholders have called for in Germany and provide several pathways to pluralism for the country. 

  • To continue setting a precedent on minority community protections, Germany can further take steps to promote its law on anti-Romani sentiment and support its Network Enforcement Act, consider how to continuously improve minority protections while defining safe countries (Sichere Herkunftsstaaten) in frames of asylum politics, and establish regular reporting on the implementation of minority laws at the state level.
  • In facilitating more inclusive policies, Germany can revisit some of its exclusionary practices such as the prevention of minority communities from participating in political parties without German citizenship and the use of the exclusionary term, “German with migration background”.
  • Individuals immigrating to Germany often struggle with educational and skill recognition which creates barriers to their economic and social success. To ease this transition, Germany can help enhance diploma recognition and offer governmental support to newcomers.
  • To better inform national minorities, ethno-religious, immigrant and post-migrant communities about the systems in place to report discrimination, the German government can promote initiatives to raise awareness.
  • To bolster Germany’s system of minority protection, the government can further implement independent monitoring and anti-discrimination bodies and organizations. For instance, non-discrimination and the protection of minorities can become commonplace across the public and private levels. Police and administrative staff can receive training on non-discriminatory practices. Restrictions to participate in political life can be lifted.
  • To offer greater trust, ownership and feelings of belonging, Germany can open up minority group’s access to the political or social spheres and encourage their shared ownership and representation in those spaces. For instance, minority media groups have the potential to be expanded and broadcasted in their own languages.
  • To make Germany a more inclusive country, it could move toward ending the discriminatory practices and segregation of Sinti and Roma.
  • Lastly, many general recommendations highlight the government’s capacity to alleviate the potential for violent encounters, such as reviewing the classification system of hate crime data, conducting a deeper analysis of how right-wing extremist networks are intertwined with public institutions and evaluating the prevalence of racial profiling.

Documents supplémentaires

Profil du Pays: Allemagne

L'Allemagne prend des mesures pour devenir une société de plus en plus pluraliste, mais de profonds clivages sociaux et culturels subsistent.

Évaluation Nationale du Moniteur: Allemagne

Certains Allemands considérant le pluralisme comme une opportunité, tandis que d'autres le comme contraire à la culture allemande

Germany: References

To access more information that went behind the development of the Germany Monitor report, you can access the references below.