Berlin Passes Sweeping Anti-Discrimination Law : Live Updates: Protests For Racial Justice

Berlin Passes Sweeping Anti-Discrimination Law : Live Updates: Protests For Racial Justice

Berlin has become the first German state to pass its own anti-discrimination law. The law bars public authorities — including police — from discriminating against anyone based on background, skin color, gender, religion, disabilities, worldview, age, class, education and sexual identity. The legislation passed Thursday has been in the works for weeks, but it has taken on a new meaning in the wake of protests against systemic racism that have erupted in the U.S. and spread to cities around the world, including Berlin. Under the new law, victims are entitled to damages and compensation and public authorities have an opportunity to dispute claims of discrimination. Previously, the onus for anti-discrimination suits in Berlin was on the victims to prove they had been discriminated against before a lawsuit could go forward. Now if discrimination is considered "predominantly likely," the relevant public authority must then either accept or refute the accusation against it. Berlin's governing coalition believes that Germany's General Act on Equal Treatment, a federal anti-discrimination law passed in 2006, does not go far enough in protecting civil rights, and that this new state law will enhance legal protections for a wide range of groups. "This is an important step in the fight against discrimination and racism," regional politician Werner Graf told news organization Euractiv. "For the first time, it is possible to take action against discrimination on the part of state actors and to punish this in a simplified way." Before it was passed, Berlin's measure was criticized by leaders of Germany's ...
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