Calendar of racism and resistance (15 December 2017 – 11 January 2018)

January 11, 2018 — 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

amatterofroutine14 December: Amnesty International publishes: A matter of routine: The use of immigration detention in the UK, download the report here.

14 December: Outsourcing corporation Mitie wins a ten-year contract with the Home Office worth an ‘estimated £525 million’, to provide security guards and transport to escort people to and from detention centres during deportations, and to run a number of short-term holding centres. (Corporate Watch, 15 December 2017)Corporate_Watch

15 December: A vulnerable Syrian child living in a Greek refugee camp, whom the Home Office accepted was eligible to transfer to the UK sixteen months ago, finally arrives in the UK. (Guardian, 15 December 2017)

18 December: An artist is widely condemned for painting ‘sex with refugees is jasmine-scented and beautiful’ on a wall in Shoreditch, London. (IB Times, 18 December 2017)

18 December: The Scottish government reports meeting its target of resettling and housing over 2,000 Syrian refugees three years early. (BBC News, 18 December 2017)

19 December: The Department for Education and the Home Office publish a research report: Local authority support for non-EEA migrant child victims of modern slavery, download it here

20 December: The family of Medina Hussein, the six-year-old child who died when she was hit by a train after a push-back at the Serbian-Croatian border, launch a legal action against unknown police officers. The Asylum Protection Centre in Serbia and Croatia’s Centre for Peace Studies are supporting the family. (Balkan Insight, 20 December 2017)

22 December: Diane Abbott MP writes to home secretary Amber Rudd asking why she has been refused permission to visit Yarl’s Wood detention centre, despite at least a dozen requests over a year. (Guardian, 22 December 2017)

22 December: The Home Affairs Committee criticises the government for failing to resettle child refugees under the Dubs scheme and failing to place as many children as it could. (Guardian, 22 December 2017)

25 December: Two whistleblowers claim that staff in the Home Office’s asylum directorate are undertrained and overworked, resulting in applicants having to wait for long periods of time to have their claims processed. (Guardian, 25 December 2017)

26 December: Researchers examining the rollout of the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Programme (SVPRP) in Edinburgh call for interpreters assisting refugees to receive psychological support. (Guardian, 26 December 2017)

28 December: Glasgow council claims that it has been locked out of bidding for the contract to house asylum seekers, saying that the process is ‘rigged’ in favour of the private sector and that the Home Office sets conditions that it cannot meet. (Evening Times, 28 December 2017)

29 December: A 31-year-old Eritrean man is crushed to death under several tonnes of paper rolls in Calais, when the truck he has stowed away in crashes while en route to crossing the channel to Britain. (The Local, 29 December 2017) 

31 December: The Independent reports that asylum seekers at the Knockalisheen Accommodation Centre in Limerick were prevented from celebrating Christmas, as doors to communal areas were locked. (Independent, 31 December 2017)

1-2 January: A 22-year-old asylum seeker from Afghanistan, Taher I., fearing deportation after his claim was refused, commits suicide in the night of 1-2 January by throwing himself out of a second-floor window at the asylum centre in Abensberg, Bavaria. (Suddeutsche Zeitung, 9 January 2018)

2 January: The Newcastle Chronicle investigates the poor housing conditions for vulnerable asylum seeking mothers and their young children, in accommodation managed by Jomast on behalf of G4S for the Home Office. (Chronicle Live, 2 January 2018)

5 January: Algerian prosecutors open a probe into the death of Mohamed Boudarbala, a 36-year-old Algerian man found dead in his cell in the Spanish town of Archidona, where he was being held pending his asylum application. (The Local, 5 January 2018) 

5 January: The Scottish government is considering whether to give refugees and asylum seekers the right to vote in elections, after being granted new powers over how elections are run in the Scotland Act 2016. (Scotsman, 5 January 2018)

5 January: More than thirty migrant workers’ homes have been attacked since Christmas in the port city of Piraeus, according to Keerfa, an anti-racist activist group. (Al Jazeera, 5 January 2018) 

8 January: The growing scandal surrounding the Belgian government’s decision to forcibly repatriate 100 people to war-torn Sudan, possibly allowing Omar al-Bashir to hand-pick political opponents for deportation, threatens to bring the coalition government down. (Guardian, 8 January 2018)

8 January: Caroline Nokes MP, who has consistently voted against residence rights for EU nationals in the UK and generally voted against laws promoting equality and human rights, is appointed immigration minister. (Southern Daily Echo, 9 January 2018)

10 January: The Scottish government announces a New Scots Refugee Integration Strategy that has been endorsed by the United Nations refugee agency. Download it here. (BBC News, 10 January 2018)scots-refugee-integration-strategy

10 January: The Home Office is to combine its police and immigration biometric programmes, in a project worth over £300 million to the chosen contractor. (Public Technology, 10 January 2018)

11 January: Conwy council, which signed up to house Syrian refugees under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (SVPRS), reveals it has been unable to place any refugees due to lack of housing. (BBC News, 11 January 2018)

Policing and criminal justice

camden-new-journal-nuno-cardoso7 December: The Camden New Journal reports on the death on 24 November of Kentish Town resident Nuno Cardosa while in the custody of police in Oxford, after he suffered a ‘medical episode’. (Camden New Journal, 7 December 2017)

13 December: PC Jeanette Cadden is dismissed from Avon and Somerset police, after a misconduct hearing found that she committed gross misconduct by posting offensive and racist Facebook posts. (Somerset Live, 8 January 2018)

19 December: The Ministry of Justice publishes: Responding to Human Rights judgments: Report to the Joint Committee on Human Rights on the Government’s response to Human Rights judgments 2016–17, download it here.

lammy-response19 December: The Ministry of Justice publishes: Government Response to the Lammy Review on the treatment of, and outcomes for, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic individuals in the Criminal Justice System. Download it here

5 January: The family of Yassar Yaqub, who died after being shot by police in Huddersfield, hold a vigil on the one-year anniversary of his death. His family announce that they are considering a private prosecution against West Yorkshire police for his death. (Huddersfield Examiner, 5 January 2018)

7 January: Anne Owers, the outgoing head of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), raises concerns over the number of restraint-related deaths in police custody of people from BAME communities in the last eight months. (Observer, 7 January 2018)

8 January: The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) becomes the Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), with Michael Lockwood taking over as director general, and a new network of regional directors and a director for Wales. (Home Office press release, 8 January 2018)

9 January: The Met police are forced to apologise to the family of 17-year-old James Andre Smartt-Ford, who was murdered in February 2007, for failing to inform them that an inquest into his death was being held. (Evening Standard, 9 January 2018)

Anti fascism and the far right 

20 December: Britain First urges its social media followers to move to Gab, a networking site based in Texas, as its accounts are suspended on Twitter and the Britain First Facebook is under review. (Guardian, 20 December 2017)

2 January: Germany’s state prosecutor investigates two delegates from the far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD) over incitement to hatred allegations. The delegates accused Cologne Police, who had tweeted a new year message in Arabic, of appeasing ‘barbaric, gang-raping Muslim hordes of men’. (Guardian, 2 January 2018)

2 January: An unnamed 22-year-old man from Lancashire appears in Preston crown court to face charges of stirring up racial hatred at demonstrations in Blackpool and North Yorkshire. (Guardian, 2 January 2018)

3 January: Six people, five men and one woman, are arrested on suspicion of belonging to National Action, a neo-Nazi group banned under anti-terror laws. (BBC News, 3 January 2018)

3 January: Lance Corporal Mikko Vehvilainen, 33, and Alexander Deakin, 22, appear in Birmingham crown court and deny charges under the Terrorism Act and accusations of being members of National Action. (BBC News, 3 January 2018)

8 January: An unnamed 22-year-old from Lancashire is found guilty of stirring up racial hatred after he made speeches at far-right rallies in 2015 and 2016. (BBC News, 8 January 2018)

9 January: Deputy leader of Britain First, Jayda Fransen denies two charges of incitement to racial hatred in connection with her attendance at a rally in Belfast. (Irish Times, 9 January 2018)

Party politics 

18 December: Around 5,000 people in Austria attend a demonstration, as Austria’s new coalition government, including the extreme-Right Freedom party, is sworn in, with FPÖ leader Heinz-Christian Strache appointed deputy prime minister and the FPÖ controlling the interior and defence ministries. (Digital Journal, 18 December 2017)
4 January: Jean Dent, the mayor of Saltash, is censured for breaching the code of conduct of Saltash Town Council after repeating a racist comment which was described as ‘discriminatory, terrible and hurtful’. She is ordered to attend diversity training. (Cornwall Live, 4 January 2018)

Discrimination 

13 December: Inside Croydon publishes a review of the night-time economy in the area, a report which had allegedly been suppressed due to findings of racial profiling by police as part of their night club licensing policy, and claims that they operated a ‘bashment ban’, which stops clubs playing music popular with BAME communities. (Inside Croydon, 13 December 2017)

17 December: The Equality and Human Rights Commission is struggling to fulfil its duties, lawyers allege, because Downing Street or the Cabinet Office are repeatedly vetoing appointments on political grounds. (Guardian, 18 December 2017)

21 December: The director and most of the members of France’s national digital council, the CNNum, resign after newly-appointed anti-racist campaigner Rokhaya Diallo is forced off the council for her work against institutional racism. Education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer threatens to sue a teachers’ union for using the term ‘institutional racism’. (Guardian, 21 December 2017)

22 December: The Lancashire Council of Mosques begins judicial review proceedings against Lancashire county council after it voted to ban schools from serving unstunned halal meat. (Guardian, 22 December 2017)

24 December: The owner of a fishery removes a sign banning Polish fishermen, after Polish fisherman Rado Papiewski raised more than £10,000 for a legal action to have the sign removed. (BBC News, 24 December 2017)

Employment and labour exploitation

19 December: The Guardian reveals that three black judges are suing the Ministry of Justice for race discrimination and victimisation. (Guardian, 19 December 2017)

2 January: In the first successful modern slavery prosecution involving children, a woman and a man, who forced children trafficked from Vietnam to work in nail bars in Bath and Burton-on-Trent, are jailed. (Guardian, 3 January 2018)

Housing

EHRCLogo11 December: The Equality and Human Rights Commission announces its own inquiry into the Grenfell fire ‘to look at 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)

15 December: New research by the Residential Landlords Association finds that 42 per cent of landlords are less likely to consider renting to a non-British passport holder. View the report here. (24Housing, 5 December 2017)

22 December: The prime minister rules out changes to the Grenfell Inquiry and appointing new members to the panel, to serve alongside chair Sir Martin Moore-Bick. (24Housing, 22 December 2017)

Media 

December: A new website has been launched to celebrate the work of the Refugee and Migrant Forum of Essex and London (Ramfel), view it here

21 December: Maz Saleem, the daughter of 82-year-old Mohammed Saleem who was murdered in a terrorist attack, speaks out against the media demonisation of Kasar Jehangir, who was one of six killed in a car accident in Birmingham. (Independent, 21 December 2017)

3 January: After leaving the Mail Online, Katie Hopkins joins Rebel Media, the same media outlet that plays host to Tommy Robinson, aka Stephen Yaxley Lennon, ex-leader of the EDL. (Guardian, 3 January 2018)

6 January: A row erupts in literary circles after the French publishing house Gallimard announces that a new collection of the anti-Semitic pamphlets of the 1930s French novelist Louis-Ferdinand Céline is to be published. (Guardian, 6 January 2018)

9 January: Virgin Trains announces that it will stop selling and giving away the Daily Mail on trains because the newspaper is ‘not compatible’ with its brand or beliefs. (Guardian, 9 January 2018)

Education 

22 December: 170 international academics write a letter to Oxford University opposing a project called Ethics and Empire by the university’s McDonald Centre, which plans to construct a balance sheet of the rights and wrongs of imperialism. (Guardian, 22 December 2017)

National security

14 December: Cage reports on new counter-terrorism rules that could incentivise referrals of those with mental health issues, as new policy states that those referred under Prevent can be treated urgently. (Cage, 14 December 2017)

26 December: Higher education minister Jo Johnson announces that universities will be fined by the newly created Office for Students (OfS) if they fail to uphold free speech. (Guardian, 26 December 2017)

Sport

20 December: Karl Anderson, 29, who is already subject to a five-year football banning order, is jailed for sixteen weeks after admitting racially aggravated assault after racially abusing and kicking Raheem Sterling, a Manchester City footballer, outside the City Football Academy. (Manchester Evening News, 20 December 2017)

26 December: Millwall begins an investigation after allegations of racial abuse by its fans towards Wolverhampton Wanderers staff and players during a Boxing Day match. (Sky Sports, 28 December 2017)

28 December: The Guardian interviews Liverpool footballer Rhian Brewster about the racial abuse he has suffered and the inaction by authorities. (Guardian, 28 December 2017)

29 December: Torquay United apologises after its fans allegedly racially abused a player from Eastleigh FC on Boxing Day. (BBC News, 29 December 2017)

4 January: Dunfermline fan Robert Nellies is fined £450 for making monkey gestures at Falkirk player Myles Hippolyte in October 2017. (Dunfermline Press, 4 January 2018)

6 January: The goalkeeper for Bromsgrove Sporting, Reece Francis, is reduced to tears after being racially abused during a game with Wisbech. Spectators are warned about their behaviour over the public address system. (Bromsgrove Advertiser, 8 January 2017)

9 January: Under-23 coach, Peter Beardsley, takes leave, while an investigation is carried out by Newcastle United into allegations by African players of racism and bullying at the club. (Guardian, 9 January 2018)

11 January: Clyde footballer Ally Love is under investigation by the Scottish Football Association due to allegations of making repeated racist comments to Rabin Omar, who plays with Annan Athletic. (Herald, 11 January 2018)

Violence and harassment: abuse

21 December: Police appeal for information after a 12-year-old girl travelling with her mother on a train between Wigan and Preston on 8 December was racially abused by a man with a faded tattoo. (2BR, 21 December 2017)

22 December: Police appeal for information about an incident which took place in August when two women wearing burqas and travelling with four children on a train between Edinburgh and Glasgow were racially abused. (Evening Times, 22 December 2017)

30 December: A 31-year-old Afghan taxi driver working in Tunbridge Wells is racially abused and threatened by a man arguing over a fare; the attack is filmed and posted on social media. (Kent Live, 31 December 2017)

5 January: Taxi drivers in Tunbridge Wells threaten to go on strike if the police and council fail to deal with racial abuse that they suffer on a regular basis. (Kent Live, 5 January 2018)

5 January: Police appeal for information after an 11-year-old girl was spat at by a woman who racially abused the girl and her family as they shopped at the Trafford Centre on 10 November 2017. (Manchester Evening News, 5 January 2018)

Violence and harassment: attacks on people

10 December: An Indian couple are racially abused and pelted with snowballs by a gang of five in Derby’s Riverside Gardens. (Derby Telegraph, 4 January 2018)

24 December: A Palestinian student is left traumatised after being racially abused and attacked by three men at a Durham pub. Two men, aged 49 and 23, are arrested on suspicion of racially or religiously aggravated assault causing injury. (Chronicle Live, 28 December 2017)

26 December: A taxi driver is racially abused and assaulted by passengers in his taxi on Putteridge Road, Luton after an argument over a fare. (Luton Today, 4 January 2018)

15 December: Police appeal for information on an attack on 27 November which left a man with broken teeth and injured ribs after being racially abused and assaulted by three men, who also damaged his car at a McDonalds in Darlington. (Gazette Live, 15 December 2017)

1 January: Police appeal for information on a group of three white men who attacked two Asian men in car park of a Milton Keynes club, Xscape. The victims were racially abused, punched and kicked. (Milton Keynes, 1 January 2018)

10 January: Police appeal for information on two women who carried out a racist attack which amounted to grievous bodily harm on another woman in a KFC in Chingford, November 2017. (East London & West Essex Guardian, 10 January 2018)

10 January: Five people appear in court in connection with a brutal attack in Croydon on 17-year-old Reker Ahmed, who suffered serious injuries. Three others have already been convicted. (Croydon Advertiser, 10 January 2018)

Violence and harassment: attacks on property

20 December: Police appeal for information after two men cause damage to a pizza shop in Hull and tell staff to ‘f*** off home’. (Hull Daily Mail, 23 December 2017)

Violence and harassment: attacks on religious institutions

24 December: Pork is forced through the letterbox of Belfast Islamic centre. (Guardian, 24 December 2017)

26 December: An attack with a home-made bomb on the Islamic Cultural Centre in Saffle, Sweden, is investigated as a hate crime. (Daily Sabah, 26 December 2017)

Violence and harassment: convictions

14 December: Darren Stone, 28, pleads guilty to racially aggravated common assault and is given an eight month prison sentence suspended for eighteen months, 150 hours unpaid work and £1,000 compensation after punching a 15-year-old boy in the face and then chasing and racially abusing him in Plymouth. (Devon Live, 15 December 2017)

14 December: William Moran, 44, pleads guilty to threatening behaviour after abusing and attacking his next door neighbour, 35-year-old Basil Aldraddam, as he prepared to go on holiday with his family. (Daily Record, 15 December 2017)

21 December: Anthony Spencer, 31, pleads guilty to racially aggravated charges after racially abusing Jewish people and a black security guard who intervened. Sentencing was adjourned. (Manchester Evening News, 21 December 2017)

4 January: Red Vaughan, 29, is jailed for twelve months after admitting numerous racially aggravated charges for racially abusing a number of people while armed with a screwdriver in Rhyl last August. (Daily Post, 4 January 2018)

5 January: Janet Tomlinson, 74, is found guilty of racially aggravated harassment in Burton in June. She is given a six-month community order and curfew and is ordered to pay £620 court costs and a £85 victim surcharge. (Burton Mail, 5 January 2018)

9 January: Sean Edney, 49, admits racially aggravated assault, arson and being in breach of a community order, and is given a combined sentence of twenty months in prison, suspended for two years and ordered to pay £55 compensation. He attacked and racially abused a Romanian taxi driver and attempted to set fire to a police car after being arrested. (Somerset Live, 9 January 2018)

10 January: Glen Spurgeon, 41, is jailed for sixteen weeks and ordered to pay compensation to his victims after admitting racially aggravated harassment, for racially abusing two people in takeaways in Nottingham in incidents four months apart. (Nottingham Post, 10 January 2018)

10 January: Peter French, 65, is given a twelve-month community order and unpaid work for racially aggravated harassment. He threatened to stab his victim with a bayonet and put explosives up his bottom. (Devon Live, 10 January 2018)

Violence and harassment: online racism

2 January: Two Sheffield university students, who were facing expulsion, are made to apologise for posting offensive comments on a Facebook post about the Black Lives Matter campaign. (Sheffield Star, 2 January 2018)

10 January: Alison Chabloz, 53, appears in court and denies five counts of improper use of the public communications network, relating to ‘grossly offensive’ anti-Semitic songs on the internet. The trial is ongoing. (BBC News, 10 January 2018)

Violence and harassment: research and statistics

18 December: A case review conducted by The Safer Bristol Partnership into the racist murder of Iranian refugee Bijan Ebrahimi finds that Bristol City Council and Avon and Somerset police were institutionally racist in the way they dealt with Ebrahimi, who was murdered in July 2013 after suffering years of racial abuse. Download the reports and responses here. (Bristol Post, 18 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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