German town to reopen pool to male refugees

German town to lift pool ban on male refugees after gender education drive

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

General view of the inside of a public indoor swimming pool in the western German town of Bornheim, Germany on January 16, 2016

A town in Germany announced on Monday that it would reopen its indoor swimming pool to male asylum seekers after talking to them about treating women with respect.

Bornheim, a small town 30 km (19 miles) south of Cologne, banned the men last week after receiving complaints of sexual harassment at the pool, saying it was not prepared to see German cultural norms compromised.

The ban will be lifted on Wednesday, the town said in a press release.

"The cancellation is not the result of pressure from the media's response, but rather follows intensive discussions with refugees on how they should treat women with respect, regardless of whether they have a migration background or not," it said.

Bornheim said last week that it wanted asylum seekers to be taught about gender equality.

It was the latest discussion in Cologne after over 600 criminal complaints were recorded, related to assaults on women, by gangs of young male refugees on New Year’s Eve, among other German cities.

The incident rocked the whole country and provoked a discussion about Germany's open-door policy on refugees. It also triggered a discussion over harsher penalties for refugees who violate the law, such as speeding up the deportation process and increasing security measures.

People from Syria hold placards reading Syrians Against Sexism during a rally outside the main railway station in Cologne, Germany on January 16, 2016

Following the assaults on New Year's Eve, German gangs attacked several Pakistanis and a Syrian national in Cologne, injuring three people.

Germany has been struggling with an anti-refugee and Islamophobic movement, known as PEGIDA, after it had announced that it would accept more than one million refugees by the end of 2015.

German federal states are planning to allot a budget of about 17 billion euros ($17.58 billion) for the accommodation of refugees in 2016.

TRTWorld and agencies