Mogherini urges politicians to avoid 'using' Cologne violence
European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Monday urged politicians to avoid using a wave of New Year's assaults on women in the German city of Cologne to stoke anti-migrant rhetoric.
The violence in Cologne saw hundreds of women falling prey to groping hands, lewd insults and robberies during year-end festivities, with German authorities saying nearly all the suspects were "of foreign origin".
"I hope that no politician and no member, no person that has institutional responsibility, uses this event in an instrumental way and mixes it with other... affairs," Mogherini said at a debate on Europe's future in Prague.
"It is a very serious, a very shocking event and for sure laws and especially laws that are protecting women's rights and human rights and respect for human dignity have to be respected by all," she added.
"But let me also say that there are good people and bad people, no matter what nationality, what background they have."
The Cologne assaults have shocked Germany and fuelled criticism of Chancellor Angela Merkel's liberal stance towards refugees, after 1.1 million asylum seekers arrived in the country last year.
Mogherini stressed that violence against women existed before December 31 and was something "that unfortunately is going on every single day."
© 2016 AFP