Germany’s government promised Monday to take decisive action to stop violence against refugees and asylum shelters after recent police statistics revealed more than 3,500 such attacks last year.
Speaking at a news conference in Berlin, Federal Interior Ministry spokesman Johannes Dimroth said “alarming figures” were a source of concern for the government.
“We can safely assume that the judiciary will deal with these crimes sternly and decisively. Each crime committed here against a person who needs protection is [one] too many for us,” he said.
More than 3,500 refugees and asylum hostels were attacked across Germany last year, according to recent data compiled by the Interior Ministry. At least 560 people were injured in these attacks, including 43 children.
The assaults, which were often carried out by far-right extremists, also targeted NGOs and volunteers who were assisting refugees.
Germany accepted more than a million refugees in the last two years, mostly from Syria and Iraq. The refugee influx has led to anti-immigration sentiment, often exacerbated by propaganda from far-right and populist parties.
Dimroth said the federal government has recently banned a number of far-right associations as part of its efforts to counter anti-refugee violence.
He underlined the importance of new mechanisms set up to create closer cooperation between Germany’s federal states for monitoring far-right extremist groups.