New evidence has been presented in Germany which dramatically shifts blame away from refugees for the New Year’s Eve sex attacks in Cologne.
Only three of 58 suspects arrested in connection to the mass assaults was a refugee, reports the Huffington Post.
That was the figure confirmed by local public prosecutor Ulrich Bremer, who revealed two Syrians and one Iraqi had been held by police.
— Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) February 15, 2016
A large number of those involved did hail from a migrant background with it reported 25 Algerians, 21 Moroccans, three Tunisians, two Syrians, one Iraqi, and three Germans had been arrested.
Acting secretary general of the ECRE (European Council on Refugees and Exiles), Kris Pollet, believes the news should decrease the sense of anti-refugee sentiment generated in Cologne following the attacks.
He told the Post:
It shows how dangerous it is to make sweeping generalisations about such events without establishing the facts first.
This is about violence against women and should be addressed as such, regardless of the status and background of those suspected of having committed such acts.
It is important for the authorities to continue their investigations and to ensure that the perpetrators, regardless of their nationality or status, are effectively brought to justice.
Meanwhile we hope that this may also help to counter the anti-refugee agenda some groups have been pushing since Cologne and that has too often clouded the political debate in Europe on refugee protection.
What will British media do with this? 58 arrests over Cologne attacks: 3 refugees; 3 German; 52 Moroccan/Algerian https://t.co/InxiSieHEa
— James O’Brien (@mrjamesob) February 14, 2016
— Salil Shetty (@SalilShetty) February 15, 2016
It is alleged that Bremer later took issue with how the figures had been reported, and he tried to imply that the majority of those involved were in fact refugees.
He said to the AP:
They have various legal statuses, including illegal entry, asylum-seekers and asylum applicants.
That covers the overwhelming majority of suspects.
Why, it’s almost like people used the Cologne attacks to justify a pre-existing anti-refugee prejudice. Who’d have thought?
— Jeff Sparrow (@Jeff_Sparrow) February 15, 2016
Germany has seen a dramatic increase in racially motivated arson attacks in 2016, with members of far right groups such as Pegida attacking kebab shops, stalls, cars, windows, and vowing to ‘clean up Cologne’.
Hopefully Pollet is correct and tensions will now begin to cool.