“Racism is toxic for every society”

On 21 March, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the Humboldt Foundation is calling for more humanity and understanding and takes a clear stance against racist attitudes and actions.

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Illustration von vier Frauen verschiedener Ethnien, darüber der Text Say no to racism
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A life in freedom, equality and solidarity, without discrimination based on origin or colour – for many people around the world this is still a forlorn hope. Since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, the gap between wish and reality has remained wide. Globally, we see developments that make it essential to keep reminding ourselves about the consequences of racist thoughts and actions. Published by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) in 2023, the study Being Black in the EU alone revealed that in the last five years, 45 percent of those surveyed stated they had experienced discrimination due to their origin, skin colour or religion. The proportion in the previous study was 39 percent. Amongst the 13 EU countries involved, the problem is greatest in Germany and has even increased in recent years.
The study Germany from the outside 2023, a survey of the Humboldt Foundation's international sponsorship recipients’ experiences in Germany, also addresses issues such as discrimination and xenophobia. Scholars from Africa are affected particularly frequently.

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Statement by the President of the Humboldt Foundation on human rights and democracy
Together with the Alliance of Science Organisations, the Humboldt Foundation has taken a stand against racism

Against this backdrop, the Foundation’s President, Robert Schlögl, emphasises that “racism and xenophobia are toxic for every society and for peace in the world. As an organisation dedicated to academic exchange we build on the strength of understanding and mutual respect amongst all people. Germany benefits especially from a cosmopolitan attitude, not least in research and innovation.”
It was necessary to take a firm stand against racism and violence, he continues. “Unfortunately, we are currently witnessing where exclusion and discrimination can lead. Racist violence is a sad reality which threatens the life and limb of those affected on a daily basis. This does not only force innocent people into hardship and distress but also threatens the internal cohesion of our society. That is why we shall take up all the options open to us at present to demonstrate that diversity is both an opportunity and an asset and should not be instrumentalised as a threat. Let’s all work together to counter the dangers of racism decisively and effectively.”

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