Practicing tolerance

How does Germany promote respectful co-existence? An overview of state and social initiatives against racism.

For Tolerance: “Mile of Democracy” in Magdeburg.
For Tolerance: “Mile of Democracy” in Magdeburg. dpa

Germany is a country with a pluralistic society – shaped by the diversity of ways of life. The Basic Law is the foundation for this co-existence; it is rests on the inviolability of human dignity. But the basic democratic values have to be communicated again and again, and defended against discrimination, xenophobia and anti-Semitism, not least in view of the task of integrating a large number of refugees into German society.

Is there a state strategy against racism in Germany?

Yes. There is a National Action Plan against Racism. The Federal Government last updated it in June 2017, outlawing discrimination against homosexuals and transsexuals. Among other things, its principles include protecting people who are victims of discrimination, punishing racist violence, and combating racism and hatred on the internet. The plan will promote civic education, diversity in working life and engagement in civil society.

A central component of extremism prevention and democracy promotion is the federal program Democracy Lives, which is aimed at children, adolescents and young adults.

In the Forum against Racism, the Federal Government and about 90 non-governmental organizations regularly discuss how they want to combat racism.

People who experience discrimination, whether because of their ethnic origin, religion, world view, sexual identity, age, gender or disability, can contact the Anti-Discrimination Agency.

Overview: Federal Program against Racism

How does the federal government promote civic engagement against discrimination?

Democracy and tolerance grow through the respectful coexistence of people – on the street, as neighbors, classmates or colleagues. The federal government therefore supports civil society actors. Under the umbrella of the Alliance for Democracy and Tolerance – Against Extremism and Violence (BfDT), numerous associations, groups and projects are networked nationwide. Counseling, exchange of experiences and public attention strengthen their work. The BfDT is linked to the Federal Central Office for Civic Education and benefits from its expertise. The website of the Alliance for Democracy and Tolerance presents exemplary projects; citizens can look there for initiatives in their area.

Are there foundations that fight against racism and discrimination?

Various German foundations oppose right-wing extremism, racism and anti-Semitism. For example, the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, founded in 1998, the F.C. Flick Foundation, the Foundation for Remembrance, Responsibility and Future and the Foundation against Racism, which coordinates the program of the International Weeks against Racism in Germany.

Is racism a topic at schools?

In all federal states and at the local level there is educational work against discrimination and for tolerant co-existence. About 2,500 schools in Germany have already joined the Europe-wide network Schools without Racism – Schools with Courage.

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, 21 March

International Weeks against Racism, 12-25 Match 2018

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