Foreign Minister Maas issued the following statement today (20 May) following the meeting of the Cabinet Committee for the fight against racism and right-wing extremism:
We are witnessing how what is true for coronavirus and climate change unfortunately also applies to racism and right-wing extremism: they pay no heed to borders. That is why we will also only defeat racism and right-wing extremism through joint action. We Germans have a historical responsibility to vigorously oppose all forms of racism and right-wing extremism – in Germany and around the world.
The Federal Foreign Office is therefore globally engaged in the fight against racism and right-wing extremism. Remembrance is an important building block in these efforts. The disastrous consequences of extremism, hatred and xenophobia are readily apparent in World War Two cemeteries. By supporting the peace education work that the German War Graves Commission conducts at German military cemeteries abroad, the Federal Foreign Office contributes to prevention and to the strengthening of democracy.
Unfortunately, racism and right-wing extremism are not bygones, but very much alive today. This is why the Federal Foreign Office is working to identify respective topics and trends in digital media, including xenophobic and racist narratives – so that we can counter these trends. We coordinate these efforts closely with our EU and other international partners.
The causes of, and the fight against, right-wing extremism and racism are a focus of our daily work, as well as an integral part of basic and further training at the Federal Foreign Office. From the beginning of their careers, diplomats conduct exchanges with representatives of churches, synagogues and mosques, as well as with NGOs in the sphere of migration and integration, journalists, human rights defenders, and international partners.
From speaking with my colleagues, I know that people in other countries, too, are of course keeping a close eye on cohesion in our society. The fact that we today held the first meeting of the Cabinet Committee for the fight against racism and right-wing extremism sends an important signal far beyond Germany’s borders.