Calendar of racism and resistance (1-14 December 2017)

December 14, 2017 — News

Written by IRR News Team

A fortnightly resource for anti-racist and social justice campaigns, highlighting key events in the UK and Europe.

Asylum and migration

29 November: Four migrants die in a car crash after their overcrowded car, carrying eight migrants, plunges off a ninety foot cliff during a police chase in Thessaloniki, northern Greece. (APNews, 29 November 2017)

5 December: A court is told that a Roma woman, detained at Yarl’s Wood detention centre awaiting deportation in 2012, was allegedly raped and sexually assaulted by two guards. (Daily Mail, 5 December 2017)

bma-report5 December: New research by the British Medical Association finds that ‘immigration detention should be phased out, and replaced with more humane means’ and there should be a ‘clear limit on the length of time people can be held in detention’. Download the report, Locked up, locked out: health and human rights in immigration detention here. (BMA press release, 5 December 2017)

7 December: Michael Netyks, a 35-year-old Polish man, dies after falling from a landing in the G4S-run Altcourse prison in Merseyside. (Guardian, 12 December 2017)

7 December: The Guardian reports that Miroslaw Zieba, a 48-year-old Polish man, has been detained for more than two months at Colnbook immigration removal centre after going to the police to report an alleged attack by his landlord, who threatened him and his wife with a knife and baseball bat. (Guardian, 7 December 2017)

7 December: A Swiss border guard is convicted of causing bodily harm through negligence, attempting to abort a pregnancy and repeatedly failing in his duties after not responding to repeated calls for help from a seven-month pregnant Syrian refugee, whose baby was later stillborn in July 2014. (The Local, 7 December 2017)

7 December: The High Court orders that Hafizzulah Husseinkhel, a 26-year-old Afghan interpreter who assisted the British Army, is released from detention. The Home Office failed to contest his application for bail after he launched a judicial review of a deportation order. (Independent, 7 December 2017)

10 December: The German monitor, Rigardu, finds that refugees and migrants attempting to cross from Serbia into the EU face illegal deportation and widespread police violence, including beatings and electric shocks. The group has documented at least 857 incidents this year, including fifty-two involving minors. (Al Jazeera, 11 December 2017)

12 December: Unicef calls on MPs to support a Conservative amendment on refugee rights to the EU withdrawal bill, which will ensure children can be reunited with wider family members in the UK, and not just parents. (Guardian, 12 December 2017)

13 December: An installation by the British war artist Arabella Dorman, which displays 700 items of refugees’ clothing salvaged from beaches on the Greek island of Lesbos, is unveiled at St James’s Church in Piccadilly, London. (Guardian, 13 December 2017)

cropped-nelma-twitter-bg114 December: A Home Office policy to deport rough sleepers from the EEA is ruled unlawful by the high court, after a legal challenge brought by the Public Interest Law Unit (PILU) and North East London Migrant Action (NELMA). (Guardian, 14 December 2017)

14 December: Thirty-three asylum groups call on the government to give local authorities more power over accommodation for asylum seekers. Private companies G4S and Serco currently manage the majority of housing for asylum seekers. (Guardian, 14 December 2017)homesnotborders

Policing and criminal justice

30 November: The Ministry of Justice publishes National Offender Management Service Offender Equalities annual report 2016 to 2017, download it here.

1 December: The chief coroner Judge Mark Lucraft calls on the government to grant legal aid funding for inquests to families of those who die in custody, in prison, or while waiting for an ambulance. Download the report here. (Guardian, 1 December 2017)

4 December: Police Scotland is forced to apologise for the second time in two weeks to the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, after removing photographs at a church exhibition following complaints that they were anti-Semitic. (Herald Scotland, 4 December 2017)

6 December: The family of Sheku Bayoh accuse Police Scotland of double standards after senior officers were recently suspended in a case of alleged misconduct, while it refused to suspend any of the nine officers involved in the death in custody of Bayoh in May 2015. (Courier, 6 December 2017)

Sheku Bayoh

Sheku Bayoh

Sean Rigg

Sean Rigg

6 December: The Crown Prosecution Service announces, for a second time, that officers involved in the death of Sean Rigg, who died after being restrained in August 2008, should not face any criminal charges. The family calls the decision ‘shameful’. (INQUEST, 6 December 2017)

11 December: New laws come into force today to restrict the detention of those with mental health problems in police cells. (Home Office press release, 11 December 2017)

12 December: New research from HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) finds that black people are still eight times more likely to be stopped and searched, but white people are more likely to be arrested for carrying drugs. Download the report: PEEL: Police legitimacy 2017 – A national overview here. (Independent, 12 December 2017)

12 December: The family of AbdulKarim Boudiaf, who was murdered in 2009, say that they feel discriminated against because of their background and race, and call upon the Met police to reactivate the murder investigation. (Independent, 12 December 2017)

13 December: The House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts publishes a report: Mental health in prisons, download it here.

drivingwhileblack-report14 December: StopWatch and Liberty publish a report: ‘Driving while black’: Liberty and StopWatch’s briefing on the discriminatory effect of stop and search powers on our roads, download it here.

Anti fascism and the far Right 

3 December: Graham Morris, a former boyfriend of Britain First leader Jayda Fransen says he left the group because it ‘was out of control’ and that some members advocated violence. Fransen has been accused of attempting to dissuade a victim of an alleged sexual assault from making an official complaint after she alleged she was assaulted by the group’s leader, Paul Golding, after a Britain First demonstration in Rochdale. (Observer, 3 December 2017)

3 December: A Bedfordshire hotel apologises after inadvertently holding a Britain First conference, which was booked under a different name with no obvious connection to the far-right group. (Independent, 4 December 2017)

6 December: Telford & Wrekin Council reveals that £83,000 was spent on policing a Britain First demonstration in February. (Shropshire Star, 6 December 2017)

6 December: Following the release of figures showing that nearly 200 journalists receive police protection in Italy, the Italian interior ministry says that it is paying ‘special attention to the rising phenomenon of threats from neo-Nazi and neo-fascist groups’. (AFP, 6 December 2017)

7 December: Five members of the French chapter of the far-right group Generation Identity are convicted of organising a 2012 anti-Muslim demonstration on the roof of a mosque in the town of Poitiers. They receive suspended sentences and fines amounting to nearly €40,000. (LA Times, 8 December 2017)

9 December: Amidst escalating far-right attacks in northern Italy, including a neo-Nazi invasion of a migrant solidarity meeting, 10,000 people demonstrate in Como against fascism. (The Local, 9 December 2017)

14 December: Britain First leader Paul Golding is arrested at Belfast crown court as he shows up to support Jayda Fransen, his deputy, when she appears in court on charges of ‘using threatening, abusive, insulting words or behaviour’ at a rally in the city in August 2017. Fransen is bailed. (Guardian, 14 December 2017)

Employment

5 December: A census by the Home Builders Federation finds that more than half of construction workers in house-building are from outside the UK, with 53.9 per cent from Romania; revealing the reliance of house-builders on foreign labour, and the need for continued access to skilled EU workers post Brexit. (Construction Index, 5 December 2017)

6 December: Sujata Aurora, co-ordinator of the Grunwick 40 Campaign writes about the two recently unveiled murals that commemorate the 1976 strike and its impact. (Discover Society, 6 December 2017)Grunwick40 logo

6 December: Deloitte UK reveals that it pays its BAME employees in the UK 12.9 per cent less on average per hour than their non-BAME counterparts. BAME employees make up to 18 per cent of Deloitte’s UK workforce. (Independent, 6 December 2017)

12 December: Two British men are arrested after police free nine suspected victims of modern slavery, who were forced to work on two British scallop trawlers. The African and Asian men were freed after one of the boats arrived at Portsmouth with a crew member suffering a head injury. (Guardian, 12 December 2017)

Housing

(Credit: Daniel Renwick)

(Credit: Daniel Renwick)

1 December: Fifty families of those who died in the Grenfell fire issue a joint statement calling for a group of panel members with decision-making powers to sit alongside the inquiry chair, in order to better represent the backgrounds of those affected by the fire and to make the enquiry more inclusive. (Guardian, 1 December 2017)

11 December: The Equality and Human Rights Commission announces an inquiry into the Grenfell fire to examine ‘the human rights and equality dimensions of the tragedy, and to determine if the State is fulfilling its duties under human rights and equality law’. (EHRC press release, 11 December 2017)

11 December: The Grenfell Tower inquiry begins, and lawyers representing the survivors and families begin giving evidence, and demand that former residents and relatives be placed at the heart of the legal process. (Guardian, 11 December 2017)

Health

10 December: New figures on the restraint of NHS mental health patients show that black people are three times more likely to be restrained than white people. (Observer, 9 December 2017)

National security

7 December: The Home Office publishes statistics: Operation of police powers under the Terrorism Act 2000, quarterly update to September 2017, view the statistical bulletin here.

7 December: Defence secretary Gavin Williamson is criticised by leading lawyers after suggesting that Britons who have fought for Islamic State abroad should be hunted down and killed. A policy of targeted assassinations is in breach of international law, say lawyers. (Guardian, 8 December 2017)

Party politics

12 December: Anne Marie Morris, a Tory MP, has the whip restored after a five month suspension for using a racist term, which was described by Theresa May as shocking and unacceptable. (Guardian, 12 December 2017)

Sport

5 December: Chris Ramsey, the technical director of Queens Park Rangers claims that football remains institutionally racist, especially when it comes to BAME managers. There are only two BAME managers in the league and just twenty-two out of 482 senior coaches at professional clubs in England. (Get West London, 5 December 2017)

8 December: Bilal Fawaz, a boxer who has represented England in six fights and is the current holder of the middleweight title, is being held in Tinsley House detention centre pending deportation to Nigeria. (Get West London, 8 December 2017)

Violence and harassment: attacks on people

1 December: A 19-year-old Muslim woman is stopped in a north London McDonald’s fast food chain, and told to remove her headscarf or leave as she is a ‘security threat’. (Guardian, 1 December 2017)

Violence and harassment: abuse

30 November: An anonymous caller phones Brauns Judaica, a shop selling Jewish goods in Stamford Hill, and abuses staff saying, ‘Hitler had the best ovens’. (Metro, 30 November 2017)

2 December: Police appeal for information after a taxi driver is racially abused by a man and woman as he stops to pick up a fare outside an Indian restaurant in Sheldon. (Birmingham Mail, 2 December 2017)

Violence and harassment: attacks on people

4 December: The Daily Record reports on a 14-year-old Polish boy who is afraid of returning to Coatbridge High School after being racially abused and attacked with a knuckle duster by a pupil. It is the latest attack in a series of racially motivated incidents that began in 2015; his family accuse the school of failing to act. (Daily Record, 12 December 2017)

Violence and harassment: convictions

29 November: Colin Burns, 50, is jailed for twenty weeks after being convicted of one offence of harassment, after making threatening phone calls, some of which were racially offensive, to his local MP Thangam Debbonaire and a senior caseworker. (BBC News, 29 November 2017)

Marek Zakrocki

Marek Zakrocki

4 December: Britain First supporter Marek Zakrocki, 48, is found guilty of attempted murder after driving at the owner of an Indian restaurant in Harrow on 23 June, the anniversary of the Brexit vote. Before the attack, Zakrocki made a Nazi salute and was heard saying, ‘I’m going to kill a Muslim. I’m doing it for Britain’ and shouting ‘white power’. Sentencing is adjourned until January 2018. (Guardian, 4 December 2017)

5 December: Stephen Reay and Thomas Robinson, both 22, are jailed for twenty-five weeks for subjecting a Newcastle taxi driver to racially aggravated common assault and racially aggravated criminal damage. The driver was kicked, punched and bottles were thrown at him and £2,500 worth of damage was caused to his taxi. (Chronicle Live, 5 December 2017)

11 December: Archibald Murray, 45, pleads guilty to acting in a racially aggravated manner after racially abusing a mother when her baby started to cry while waiting in a queue at Tesco. Sentencing is adjourned until March 2018. (Evening Times, 11 December 2017)

12 December: Colin Fenton, a 51-year-old former soldier, is found guilty in his absence of a racially aggravated public order offence after racially abusing a taxi driver in Broughton last June. He is fined £500. (Chester Chronicle, 12 December 2017)

13 December: Flintshire magistrates call for common sense to prevail after adjourning a case so the defendant’s solicitor can make representations to the CPS to issue a caution instead. Ensa Beyai was charged with assault after grabbing a 15-year-old boy, who had racially abused him, by the scruff of his neck. (Chester Chronicle, 13 December 2017)

Violence and harassment: research and statistics

30 November: Figures on racially motivated crime in Northern Ireland show that there were 3,108 reported incidents, but only 573 files were sent to prosecutors and 270 convictions were obtained. The Police Service of Northern Ireland publishes its latest Hate Motivation Statistics Quarterly update, period ending 31 October 2017, download it here. (Newsletter, 5 December 2017)

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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