In Brief: Berlin lawmakers pass first-of-its-kind anti-discrimination law

Proponents of the new law say it’s designed to protect people from discrimination on a number of factors, including ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, age, religion and social status.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

By Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson and Sylvia Cunningham

Berlin lawmakers passed a controversial law yesterday that enhances protections against discrimination by police officers and other city officials. The state law is the first of its kind in Germany.

Berlin Justice Senator Dirk Behrendt told public broadcaster rbb the goal is to stop practices like racial profiling. He said groups representing the disabled and minorities have sought such relief for many years.

But Christian Democratic Senator Burkard Dregger said the law unfairly places police under suspicion. Referring to residents of African descent, he said the law would allow “these people” to falsely claim discrimination anytime the police act.

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Chancellor Angela Merkel says her new stimulus package will protect the climate. But some environmental activists say it doesn’t go far enough.

The 130 billion euro package to boost the economy out of the COVID-19 crisis includes subsidies for electric vehicles but none for those with combustion engines.

Greenpeace Germany’s executive director Martin Kaiser called that a “huge success” but adds that more could have been done to restart the economy in truly “green” fashion.

“Instead of the urgently-needed ‘green’ modernization, the package is at best ‘pale green,’” Kaiser said.

Meanwhile, top auto industry leaders are criticizing only incentivizing the purchase of electric vehicles, saying in this “unprecedented” time, there should be room for offers that benefit cars with combustion engines as well.

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