BERLIN – The Latest on the huge influx of asylum-seekers to Europe (all times local):
The United Nations' top human rights official says the assaults a month ago in Germany that have been blamed largely on foreigners must not be used as a reason to stigmatize migrants in general.
The New Year's Eve sexual assaults and robberies in Cologne have heightened tensions over Europe's migrant influx. Zeid Raad al-Hussein, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, said Monday that suspects must be investigated but "what we do not want to see is the stigmatizing of an entire people because of those actions."
Zeid said he is "deeply disturbed" by some European politicians' rhetoric over migrants.
He says "it is utterly unacceptable that politicians can be so grossly irresponsible in pointing to the failings, entire failings of a state, and placing them on the shoulders of those who have suffered enough."
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Germany's labor minister is threatening to cut benefits for migrants who don't want to integrate into German society.
Germany registered nearly 1.1 million people as asylum-seekers last year. Integrating those who are allowed to stay into society and the labor market will pose a major challenge in the years ahead.
Labor Minister Andrea Nahles wrote in Monday's edition of the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that "all people who live in Germany, no matter what their ethnic origin, must make an effort, seek work and support themselves and their families as well as they can."
Nahles says "we will cut benefits to those who signal that they do not want to integrate." She said that could be measured by willingness to abide by German society's rules and to take language classes.