Annual report of the Anti-Discrimination Agency 2022.08.16

The number of discrimination cases reported in Germany remains at a high level. This was revealed in the 2021 annual report of the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency that the Independent Federal Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, Ferda Ataman, presented in Berlin on Tuesday.

In 2021, the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency received 5,617 requests for consultation related to a characteristic protected under the General Equal Treatment Act (AGG). This marks the second-highest number in the history of the Anti-Discrimination Agency. The slight decrease on the year before is due to less requests in 2020 (6.383) in connection with the coronavirus pandemic, especially the mask mandate. The number of requests for consultation on all of the other types of discrimination remained as high as before.

The number of discrimination accounts shared with us is alarming – but it also shows us that there are people out there who will not put up with discrimination and seek legal advice, said the Independent Federal Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, Ferda Ataman, when unveiling the annual report.

The Independent Federal Anti-Discrimination Commissioner appealed to everyone experiencing discrimination to stand up to it and to actively take on discrimination - after thorough consultation even by going to court. Ataman called on the Federal Government to give those affected better opportunities for asserting their right - for instance by extending the deadlines in which they can proceed against discrimination and by also enabling associations to take legal action. “The German anti-discrimination law must finally satisfy international standards and afford effective protection against discrimination“, said Ataman.

For her term, Ataman initially announced the following priorities:

  1. strengthening protection against discrimination: To this end, she wants to accompany the reform of the AGG, present legal opinions and bring in perspectives from those affected.
  2. Increase awareness of the AGG: All people should know their rights and what they can do against discrimination.
  3. create a comprehensive range of counseling services against discrimination: To this end, a funding program is to be set up with the federal states and civil society.

Overview of consultation statistics

In 2021, a total of 5,617 discrimination cases were reported to the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency that were related to a discrimination ground in the AGG. Of these, most cases, namely 37 percent, related to racial discrimination. In second place, at 32 percent, was the characteristic of disability and chronic illness. Discrimination on the basis of gender accounted for 20 percent of the inquiries, and on the basis of age for 10 percent. 9 percent were related to religion and belief and 4 percent to sexual identity.

Most experiences of discrimination were reported in employment (28 percent) and in access to private goods and services (33 percent).  In 37 percent of cases, discrimination took place in a setting that is not or only partly protected by the AGG. The bulk of these requests relates to discrimination experienced in the field of State action, such as by public offices and authorities, the police or the justice system. Education, social media or public spaces are other settings where discrimination, discriminatory insults and even violence are regularly experienced and described.  

The consultation team of the Anti-Discrimination Agency received more than 2,000 requests referencing a characteristic that is not protected by the AGG. If those are added to the cases relating to characteristics protected under the AGG, the total number of requests rises to 7,750 - bringing it to a similar level as the year before (2020: 7,932 requests) and massively above those seen in previous years  (2018: 4,220; 2019: 4,247 requests).

To the annual report (in german) click here.

The Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency (ADS) was established when the General Equal Treatment Act (German abbreviation: AGG) entered into force in August 2006. This Act aims to prevent or eliminate any discrimination on grounds of racism or ethnic origin, gender, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual identity. In 2022, the Anti-Discrimination Agency was strengthened and its head, who was given the new title of Independent Federal Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, for the first time elected by the German Bundestag.