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Germany appoints first ever anti-racism commissioner

Germany's traffic-light coalition has created a new office to combat racism and promote diversity in politics.

Germany appoints first ever anti-racism commissioner
SPD Member of Parliament Reem Alabali-Radovan after her appointment as Federal Government Commissioner for Anti-Racism. picture alliance/dpa | Paul Zinken

On Wednesday, the cabinet of the German government appointed 31-year-old SPD politician Reem Alabali-Radovan to the newly created office of anti-racism commissioner.

The new post was created by the traffic light coalition government made up of the SPD, Greens and FDP in their coalition agreement.

In her new role, Alabali-Radovan wants to develop a diversity strategy for the federal administration. Her goal is that “the diversity of our society is also reflected in the federal ministries and federal authorities”, she said in Berlin on Wednesday.

READ ALSO: Berlin launches task force against anti-Muslim racism on anniversary of Hanau attacks

“Racism is a crime against humanity,” she explained. “For those affected, it is an existential threat, they suffer physically and psychologically.”

The new Commissioner wants to coordinate the federal government’s diverse measures against racism across departments from the federal chancellery and develop a national action plan against racism. She plans to promote new projects for more prevention, educational work and research in order to strengthen civil society throughout Germany in the fight against racism.

Also the Minister of State for Integration, Alabali-Radovan entered the federal parliament for the first time last year. She was previously Integration Commissioner in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

READ ALSO: Black people in Germany face ‘widespread’ racism, survey finds

Commenting on the appointment, the Parliamentary Secretary of the SPD parliamentary group, Katja Mast said: “the fight against racism and discrimination – in all its manifestations – is a top priority for us and is anchored directly in the Chancellor’s Office”. She was sure “that Reem Alabali-Radovan will tackle this task with a clear attitude and the necessary drive”.

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POLITICS

‘A good thing’ for footballers to express values, says France’s PM

France's Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne - speaking in Berlin - said that footballers should be allowed to express their values, amid controversy over FIFA's stance against the 'OneLove' armband on the pitch.

'A good thing' for footballers to express values, says France's PM

“There are rules for what happens on the field but I think it’s a good thing for players to be able to express themselves on the values that we obviously completely share, while respecting the rules of the tournament,” said Borne at a press conference in Berlin on Friday.

Germany’s players made headlines before Wednesday’s shock loss to Japan when the team lined up for their pre-match photo with their hands covering their mouths after FIFA’s threat to sanction players wearing the rainbow-themed armband.

Seven European nations, including Germany, had previously planned for their captains to wear the armband, but backed down over FIFA’s warning.

Following Germany’s action, Wales and the Netherlands have since come out to say they would not mirror the protest.

Borne’s visit to Germany was her first since she was named to her post in May.

Following talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the two leaders signed an agreement for “mutual support” on “guaranteeing their energy supplies”.

Concrete measures outlined in the deal include France sending Germany gas supplies as Berlin seeks to make up for gaping holes in deliveries from Russia.

Germany meanwhile would help France “secure its electricity supplies over winter”, according to the document.

France had since 1981 been a net exporter of electricity to its neighbours because of its nuclear plants. But maintenance issues dogging the plants have left France at risk of power cuts in case of an extremely cold winter.

The two leaders also affirmed their countries’ commitment to backing Ukraine “to the end of” its conflict with invaders Russia.

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