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Has regional/local governance made a significant attempt at combating racism and related ideologies?

Key Area:
Anti-racist Policies & Organisations
10/01/2012 - 16:21
Short Answer


Qualitative Info

A) A few federal states have developed action plans or concepts to combat racism, right-wing extremism and xenophobia, e.g. Bavaria and Berlin.

1) The “Bavarian Action Plan against Racism” (Bayerisches Handlungskonzept gegen Rechtsextremismus) was drafted by the Ministry of the Interior of Bavaria in 2009. The action plan indicates that ongoing measures regarding issues such as racism and right-wing extremism in schools, the research of racism and related ideologies as well as intensive observations and consequent prosecution of right-wing extremists should proceed in their current form. Future programmes include e.g. the intensification of preventive work and offering a larger number of courses for teacher training and social work (STMI 2009).

2) The project of the federal state of Berlin called “Democracy. Diversity. Respect.“ (Demokratie. Vielfalt. Respekt.) is directed against right-wing extremism, racism and anti-Semitism. The guiding principle of the programme is the vision of a cosmopolitan city of diversity, respect and human dignity characterised by a culture of recognition and anti-discrimination (Der Beauftragte des Berliner Senats für Integration und Migration 2011, p.4). Already implemented measures include a regional information system pooling relevant projects, support for victims of right-wing extremist, racial or anti-Semitic violence, anti-Semitic education for high school students, mobile help desks to sensitise the civil society, workshops for the police and the administration to improve intercultural competences as well as measures to prevent violence amongst adolescents and young adults (ibid., p.9). Other projects which are planned or should be elaborated are, for example, more education about racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism outside of the school context, inclusion of migrant organisations in existing projects, work on further memorial places, programmes for the reinforcement of social integration as well as the integration of ethnic minorities into the labour market or the intercultural opening of the institutions of the state (ibid., p.13ff). All these examples are only parts of the planned future projects which are mentioned in the action plan of Bavaria as well as in Berlin.

B) The German federal states have also established help desks for victims of right-wing extremist or xenophobic violence and for right wingers who want to drop out.

1) More than 20 governmental and non-governmental organisations form the “Help desk Network against right-wing extremism” of Hamburg (Beratungsnetzwerk gegen Rechtsextremismus). These support services provide help for persons searching for advice concerning right-wing extremism, either to gain protection from it or to gather general information about right-wing extremism and related ideologies. Contacting the support desks is possible via telephone as well as via email. A mobile help desk also supports the network by working locally to find solutions for problems with right-wing extremism (Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg 2011).

2) The project MOBIT, “Mobile advice in Thuringia for Democracy – against right-wing extremism” (Mobile Beratung in Thüringen für Demokratie – gegen Rechtsextremismus) supports organisations, projects and dedicated individuals in their work against right-wing extremism in form of a help desk. MOBIT trains intermediaries in schools, social work and administration and creates transparency for the public. The documentation and research of right-wing extremist movements as well as counter projects and the development of recognition models for civic engagement is included in the work of the programme. MOBIT is promoted by the ministries of social affairs of Thuringia and Germany (MOBIT 2011).

C) State Prevention Councils (Landespräventionsräte) deal with the prevention of crime at the federal level. The councils provide concepts for the prevention of crime, improve the quality of prevention programmes, transfer information and knowledge, create transparency and support civic engagement as well as prevention competences (LPR NI 2011a).

1) To combat right-wing extremism, the Prevention Council of Lower Saxony supports a programme by the national government at the local level. The target of the programme is the development of action plans against right-wing extremism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism for local municipalities. Furthermore, the council supports the institutionalisation of model projects in the private sector and is responsible for the evaluation of their outcomes (LPR NI 2011b).

2) Since 2002, the working group “violence and minorities” of the Prevention Council of Hesse focuses on the project “crime-prevention initiative for a better integration of Muslims in Hesse” (kriminalpräventive Initiativen zur verbesserten Integration der Muslime in Hessen). Firstly, the team seeks to reduce prejudices against Muslims and thereby prevents violence against Islamic minorities. Secondly, the working group wants to counteract Muslim extremist associatons. In cooperation with experts, the council develops concepts to implement these aims (LPR H 2011).

D) The federal states also aim to combat righ-wing extremism by providing general information material. Hesse, for example, produced a booklet for municipalities which informs about local strategies for dealing with right-wing extremism. The booklet provides detailed information about the strategies of right-wing-extremists and how local actors can react in everyday scenarios, for example when known right wingers attempt to buy or rent real estate, distribute right-wing extremist music to adolescents, speak at public events, establish associations or protest locally. Moreover the booklet presents help desks and programmes for persons trying to drop out of right-wing associations (HMDIS 2011).


E) Like at the national level, there is an Office for the Protection of the Constitution instituted in each state. They mainly observe and prosecute organisations, parties and individuals with right-wing extremist orientation and make right-wing ideologies transparent for society. Yet, the detection of the right-wing terrorist organisation ’National Socialist Underground’ (Nationalsozialistischer Untergrund, NSU), whose members are accused of committing several murders between 2000 and 2007, has triggered a nationwide debate on the role of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Bundesamt für Verfasssungsschutz, BfV) and other intelligence agencies in the Länder. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Thuringia has been blamed for tremendous failure and shortcomings. The on-going investigations, carried out by the Federal Prosecutor’s Office, reveal more and more details on right-wing terrorism and raise questions about the involvement of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution and their paid informants within the far-right scene.



  1. Bayerisches Staatsministerium des Innern (STMI) (2009): Bayerisches Handlungskonzept gegen Rechtsextremismus. Available at: (accessed on 02.09.2011).
  2. Der Beauftragte des Berliner Senats für Integration und Migration (2011): Demokratie. Vielfalt. Respekt. Die Berliner Landeskonzeption gegen Rechtsextremismus, Rassismus und Antisemitismus. Available at: (accessed on 02.09.2011).
  3. Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg (2011): Beratung gegen Rechtsextremismus. Available at: (accessed on 02.09.2011).
  4. Hessisches Ministerium des Innern und für Sport (2011): Freiheit und Demokratie stärken. Handlungsempfehlungen für Kommunen zum Umgang mit Rechtsextremismus. Available at:,22222222-2222-2222-2222-222222222222,true.pdf2f31-e2389e481851,,,11111111-2222-3333-4444-100000005004%26_ic_uCon_zentral=602bdc02-7d13-1f01-2f31-e2389e481851%26overview=true.htm&ui (accessed on 02.09.2011).
  5. Landespräventionsrat Hessen (2011): Gewalt und Minderheiten. Available at: (accessed on 02.09.2011).
  6. Landespräventionsrat Niedersachsen (2011a): Leitbild und Ziele. Available at: (accessed on 02.09.2011)
  7. Landespräventionsrat Niedersachsen (2011b): Leitbild und Ziele. Available at: (accessed on 02.09.2011).
  8. MOBIT (2011), available at: (accessed on 02.09.2011).
  9. Federal Parliament (Bundestag) (2012) ‘Schnelle Aufklärung der Aktenvernichtung gefordert’, available at: (accessed on 13.01.2013) .
  10. Federal Parliament (Bundestag) BT-Drs. 17/10585, 31 August 2012, p. 22, available at: (accessed on 13.01.2013).                                                                      
  11. Federal Parliament (Bundestag) BT- Drs. 17/8453, 21 January 2012, available at: (accessed on 13.01.2013).
Groups affected/interested Migrants, Refugees, Roma & Travelers, Muslims, Ethnic minorities, Religious minorities, Linguistic minorities, Asylum seekers, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender, Persons with disability
Type (R/D)
Key socio-economic / Institutional Areas Anti-discrimination, Anti-racism
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