Ferda Ataman elected as Independent Federal Anti-Discrimination Commissioner

Year of issue 2022
Date 2022.07.07

Today, the German Bundestag has elected Ferda Ataman as Independent Federal Anti-Discrimination Commissioner and thus adopted the Federal Government’s proposal for the newly created office.

Ataman (42) will also head the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency and, in this role, succeed Bernhard Franke, who has been acting head of the agency over the past few years.
“I am grateful for the trust placed in me and I very much look forward to the new task. In my capacity as Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, I will stand up for everyone who faces discrimination – be it based on age, disability, origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion or belief”, said Ataman after the election. In addition, Ataman announced that she would work to rapidly improve the legal protection against discrimination, as was agreed in the coalition agreement, and that she would draw on the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency’s expertise in this regard. Besides this reform of the General Act on Equal Treatment (AGG), she stressed the importance of expanding counselling services, including those provided by civil society organisations, and making them widely available.

Ferda Ataman is a political science graduate and worked for many years in the Ministry for Intergenerational Affairs, Family, Women and Integration of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and as Head of Division at the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency. Moreover, she worked as an author, journalist and columnist, among others for the German weekly Spiegel, the German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel and the German public broadcaster Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg, and set up Mediendienst Integration, an academic platform providing information to journalists. Most recently, she founded an advisory firm for diversity. Simultaneously, Ataman engaged in voluntary work with various associations promoting diversity in the media and equal participation in society, and served as member of the Advisory Board of the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency.

Ataman’s election was preceded by an amendment to the General Act on Equal Treatment in May 2022. According to the amendment, the head of the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency is elected by the Bundestag for a term of five years (and may be re-elected once) and is granted the status of an Independent Federal Anti-Discrimination Commissioner. The parliamentary groups forming the coalition government have thus implemented a related reform set out in the coalition agreement.

Ataman is expected to assume office next week following her appointment by the Federal President.

The Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency was established in August 2006 when the General Act on Equal Treatment (AGG) entered into force. The purpose of the General Act on Equal Treatment is to prevent or eliminate discrimination on racist grounds or on grounds of ethnic origin, gender, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.