The UN warned Monday against the stigmatisation of refugees in Europe, amid fears that several recent violent incidents involving asylum seekers could inflame anti-migrant tensions and expose vulnerable communities to "grave retaliation".
UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi said he was "worried" that violent incidents involving refugees and asylum seekers often face "manipulation... for political purposes."
"I don't want this to be ambiguous," he told reporters in Geneva. "If anybody who is either an asylum seeker or a refugee commits crimes, this person has... to bear the full force of law."
But, he insisted, there is no justification for "blaming an entire community for something that has been perpetrated by one person."
"This is very dangerous," Grandi said, insisting that refugee communities "are particularly vulnerable to discrimination."
His comments came after Germany's far-right mobilised a large demonstration on Sunday evening, with some protestors using Nazi chants, over the death a day earlier of a German man following a fight with two Afghans in the eastern town of Koethen.
This sparked fears that the latest case could further inflame anti-migrant tensions in Germany, two weeks after the fatal stabbing of a 35-year-old man by asylum seekers from Iraq and Syria in the eastern city of Chemnitz.
Also on Sunday, a man believed to be an Afghan national went on a rampage in Paris, injuring seven people with a knife and an iron bar.
And last month, an Afghan asylum-seeker was arrested in the southwestern French town of Perigueux for a drunken rampage with a knife in which four people were wounded.
An Afghan man with a German residency permit has been charged with stabbing and seriously injuring two US citizens at Amsterdam's Central Station last month.
But Grandi stressed Monday that "asylum seekers and refugees, in their overwhelming majority, do not commit crimes."
"So to stigmatise them because one of them has committed a crime is very dangerous," he said.
"I urge governments of countries where these things may happen or are reported to handle with great caution... these issues, because they may expose vulnerable communities to grave retaliation."