Risks of discrimination for refugees in Germany


Funding of the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency

- Factsheet on the research project -

Risks of discrimination for refugees in Germany

  • In Germany, refugees are exposed to a high risk of discrimination: Almost nine of ten interviewed contact points and counselling centres stated that refugees directly reported on their experiences of discrimination during the conversation.
  • Both, the interviews with refugees and also the enquiry carried out among organisations clearly show that a large part of the discriminations experienced by refugees and asylum seekers are traced to grounds of discrimination laid down in Section 1 of the General Equal Treatment Act. Against this background, it has to be pointed out that refugees are particularly affected by discrimination on grounds of ethnic origin or race: The two latter characteristics play a leading role in the discrimination against refugees, as 94 percent of the institutions involved in the enquiry reported.
  • Refugees particularly often experience discriminations in working life, in the housing market, in access to goods or services and at agencies and authorities. In this context, 80 percent of the organisations interviewed reported on discriminations against refugees in the housing market. 68 percent state that agencies and authorities are spheres of life where refugees are affected by discrimination, 64 percent state that it is the working life. In addition, more than half of the respondents (52 percent) report on discrimination in business transactions and services.
  • Refugees and asylum seekers experience a wide variety of discrimination: Ranging from unfriendly behaviour over the refusal of services up to verbal and physical hostilities.
  • Especially the interviews with asylum seekers show that the experience of being discriminated against has a strong impact on their well-being and their own behaviour: Experiences of discrimination lead to resignation or to behavioural restrictions as well as to sadness, anger or also to aggressions. Moreover, both enquiries illustrate that experiences of discrimination have a negative influence on the refugees' participation in society, for example by impediments in the access to the housing and labour market.

Support measures for refugees affected by discrimination

Among employees and refugees at contact agencies and counselling centres there is a strong motivation of offering refugees and asylum seekers support, also in cases of discrimination. The results impressively demonstrate that this has already been done in many cases - frequently in addition to the original tasks of the respective institution or even in spite of insufficient financial and/or personnel resources.