Calendar of racism and resistance (17 – 30 November 2017)

November 30, 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

13 November: Nepalese man, Suraj Sapkota, is awarded £24,515.43 by the High Court for false imprisonment, after he was arrested and detained for thirty-six days because immigration officials wrongly believed he was marrying bigamously. (Free Movement, 23 November 2017)

15 November: The Home Office and UK Visas and Immigration publish: Rule 35, detention centre rules: quality analysis report, download the report here.

15 November: The Swiss government announces that it will no longer confiscate 10 per cent of income earned for up to a decade by asylum seekers provisionally admitted to Switzerland. The move comes after human rights groups scrutinised the measure. (Reuters, 15 November 2017)

16 November: Italy defends its policy on blocking migrants in Libya, despite the UN denouncing it as ‘inhumane’. Italy’s interior minister Marco Minniti says that it is necessary, as the alternative would ‘hand human traffickers the keys to European democracies’. (The Local, 16 November 2017)

16 November: Five asylum seekers launch a judicial review of lock-in procedures at Brook House detention centre near Gatwick Airport, where they are locked in their rooms for over thirteen hours per day. (Guardian, 16 November 2017)

17 November: Despite President Macron’s pledge to clear migrants off the streets of France by the end of the year, there are still approximately 1000 refugees and migrants sleeping rough in Paris, according to a report by Médecins sans Frontieres, which notes that with temperatures dropping, their health and wellbeing deteriorates further. (MSF, 17 November)

18 November: An investigation is launched in Austria after a 12-year-old Afghan boy, who had been caring for his six siblings at a refugee camp in Baden, south of Vienna, commits suicide. The boy had been caught shoplifting and feared that his family, including a brother with Down’s syndrome, would be deported. (Mirror, 19 November 2017)

18 November: Hundreds of people take part in demonstrations against the detention of asylum seekers at Yarl’s Wood in Bedfordshire and Dungavel in Scotland. (The National, 18 November 2017)

18 November: The Observer reports on the first child refugee who is due to arrive in the UK from Greece. The 15-year-old Syrian boy was first identified by the Home Office as especially vulnerable and eligible for immediate transfer fourteen months ago. The delay has left him profoundly traumatised and he has recently attempted to take his own life. (Observer, 18 November 2017)

Placard detailing the names of those that have died in immigration detention

Placard detailing the names of those that have died in immigration detention

19 November: Arim Bakar, a 27-year-old Iraqi man dies at Morton Hall immigration removal centre. (Guardian, 20 November 2017)

19 November: A protest is held outside the Libyan Embassy in central Paris, and criticism of EU and Italian deals with Libya is renewed, after CNN broadcasts pictures of refugees captured in Libya being sold as slaves at auction. The Libyan government’s Anti-Illegal Immigration Agency launches an investigation. (CNN, 20 November 2017)

20 November: Turin authorities clear the remaining asylum seekers living in the former Olympic Village and send them on buses to shelters arranged by local churches. The Olympic Village has been occupied by squatters for the past four years. (The Local, 20 November 2017)

20 November: Against Borders for Children launches a crowdfunding appeal to challenge the hostile environment for migrant children and their families. View the appeal here.

20 November: Hestia, a charity that works with victims of modern slavery, reports a 30 per cent increase in the number of people it is helping in London. Download their report, Underground Lives: The Reality of Modern Slavery in London, here. (Guardian, 20 November 2017)hestia_underground-lives

21 November: A judicial review begins into the Home Office policy of detaining and removing homeless EU citizens, brought by the Public Interest Law Unit at Lambeth Law Centre. (Lambeth Law Centre, 21 November 2017)

21 November: G4S commissions an independent review, to be carried out by Veritas, into its operations at Brook House immigration removal centre, examining the ‘attitude and behaviour’ of staff. The move comes after the BBC screened a critical Panorama investigation into the centre. (Guardian, 21 November 2017)

21 November: The Spanish interior ministry defends its decision, criticised by rights groups, to detain up to 500 newly arrived asylum seekers in jails, after around 1,000 north Africans arrived by boat over the weekend. (AFP, 21 November 2017)

enddeportations22 November: End Deportations is recruiting volunteers for a new casework project and is looking to train and support up to forty volunteers in the new year to carry out casework to support individuals targeted for charter flight deportation. Applicants need to apply by 5pm on Sunday 17 December 2017. Find out more information about the role here.

22 November: A body of a man, believed to be a migrant of African or Asian descent, is found in an abandoned building in the Evros region, a border area in northern Greece that is on a migrant smuggling route. (Ekathimerini, 22 November 2017)

23 November: A 6-year-old Afghan girl dies, apparently struck by a passing train, after the family was pushed back into Serbia from Croatia. MSF reports that seven people have died along the Serbian-Croatian border since January. (Balkan Insight, 23 November 2017)

23 November: The Home Office invites companies to bid for contacts worth £3-4 billion to provide asylum housing across the UK. (Guardian, 23 November 2017)

24 November: Denmark’s Independent Police Complaints Authority launches an investigation after an Algerian man dies in hospital, two days after losing consciousness following a struggle with police on board an aircraft set to deport him from the country. The man was forcibly restrained for thirty minutes, according to eye witnesses, and a doctor had to be called to resuscitate him. (The Local, 24 November 2017)

26 November: A solicitor accuses the Home Office of a dangerous breach of confidentiality after an Iranian asylum seeker was forced to attend a meeting with an Iranian diplomat to discuss voluntary return. (Guardian, 26 November 2017)

28 November: Kings College hospital NHS foundation trust complains to the Metropolitan police after a pregnant woman who reported being kidnapped and raped is arrested on immigration charges whilst being cared for at a centre for sexual assault victims in London. (Guardian, 28 November 2017)

28 November: The Sanctuary in Parliament campaign #DignityNotDestitution calls on the Home Office to bring asylum support up to 70 per cent of the income support level; to allow asylum seekers to work if they have been waiting for six months in the system; and to allow new refugees fifty days instead of 28 days to leave asylum accommodation. (Sanctuary in Parliament, 21 November 2017)

28 November: The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration publishes: An inspection of asylum intake and casework April – August 2017, which finds an increasing backlog in dealing with asylum claims, with a quarter of staff quitting over a six-month period. Download the report here. (Guardian, 28 November 2017)

28 November: The Guardian reports on the plight of grandmother Paulette Wilson, 61, who has been in the UK since 1968 and was arrested as an illegal entrant and held at Yarl’s Wood pending removal for a week before intervention by a charity and an MP secured her release. (Guardian, 28 November 2017)

28 November: Denmark’s government votes to refuse to accommodate 500 UN-stipulated quota refugees, a continuation of the country’s policy in 2016 and 2017. (The Local, 29 November 2017)

30 November: The Bar Council publishes a report by Dr Anna Lindley, SOAS (University of London): Injustice in Immigration Detention: Perspectives from legal professionals, download the report here.

Policing and criminal justicecropped-oj_header_

16 November: A German state prosecutor, who previously supported the police’s version of events in a 2005 death in custody case in Dessau, says that new evidence has emerged proving that 36-year-old Oury Jalloh could not have set himself on fire and a murder investigation must be opened. New documents suggest that Jalloh was incapacitated or dead before the fire was lit and that the mattress had been sprayed with a flammable liquid. (Deutsche Welle, 16 November 2017)

17 November: Judges in Leipzig rule that a policeman with far-right extremist symbols tattooed on his body who has given the Nazi salute in public could be dismissed from his job on the grounds that anyone who rejects constitutional principles and the rule of law is not fit to be in public service. The police officer, dismissed from the police force in 2007, had successfully appealed against his dismissal twice, during which time he was suspended from work on full pay. (Deutsche Welle, 17 November 2017)

17 November: Two police officers involved in the death of Rashan Charles and two witnesses are given anonymity by the coroner at the forthcoming inquest into his death, which occurred in Hackney last July. The decision is described as ‘outrageous’ by his family. (Guardian, 17 November 2017)

18 November: Hundreds of people attend the funeral at Coventry Cathedral of Darren Cumberbatch, 32, who died after being restrained by police in Nuneaton in July. (Coventry Telegraph, 18 November 2017)

21 November: Ziad Najm, 56, who is from Iraq but has lived in Europe for thirty years, begins legal action against Bedfordshire police after he was detained under the Terrorism Act with his son on his way to a holiday in Italy. Their phones were seized and data was downloaded, and Ziad Najm was also fingerprinted and had biometric data retained. (Guardian, 21 November 2017)

22 November: The Independent Police Complaints Commission launches an investigation after 15-year-old Terrell Decosta Jones-Burton suffers serious injuries after being knocked off his bike when he was detained by police officers in Bermondsey. (Independent, 22 November 2017)

27 November: New figures on arrests of young people under the age of 18 show that BAME children account for 26 per cent of those arrested, a figure more than double the proportion of BAME people in the population as a whole. (Independent, 27 November 2017)

30 November: The Ministry of Justice publishes statistics on: Race and the criminal justice system 2016, view and download them here.

Anti fascism and the far right 

14 November: A Greek prosecutor orders an investigation after a far-right hit squad attack the home of an Afghan family in central Athens, home to an 11-year-old boy who had recently been in the news owing to discrimination at his school. The vigilantes, calling themselves Cryptia, model themselves on the Hitler Youth of Sparta who emulate the clans in ancient Greece who terrorised and killed state slaves. (Deutsche Welle, 14 November 2017)

15 November: Thousands of people form a chain of light in Vienna to protest against the formation of a government that includes the far-right Freedom Party. (Reuters, 15 November 2017)

18 November: Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of Britain First, is arrested in London by Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) detectives, for comments made during a speech at a rally in Belfast on 6 August. She is charged the following day with using ‘threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour’. (Guardian, 18 November 2017, BBC News, 19 November 2017)

20 November: An unnamed man loses his job at Total Martial Arts Premier Academy in Swindon after allegations of involvement in National Action and concerns of possible radicalisation were raised by Wiltshire Police. (Swindon Advertiser, 20 November 2017)

26 November: Right-wing activists Shane Calvert, Wayne Bell, Brian Stamp, Nikki Prescott and Alan Raine are convicted of various offences following ‘The White Man March’ organised by National Action in Liverpool, August 2015. Calvert, Bell and Stamp are jailed, while Prescott and Raine receive suspended sentences and unpaid work. (Liverpool Echo, 26 November 2017)

29 November: Britain First supporters celebrate and political leaders condemn Donald Trump’s retweeting of Jayda Fransen’s anti-Muslim hate video. (Independent, 29 November 2017)

29 November: 96-year-old Oskar Groening, a former SS guard and bookkeeper at Auschwitz, is deemed fit to serve jail time. He was found guilty in 2015 of being an accessory to the murders of 300,000 people at the Nazi death camp and will serve a four-year jail sentence. (The Local, 20 November 2017)

Employment

16 November: Nottingham crown court rules that the Mid UK Recycling Plant in Lincolnshire breached health and safety standards, following the death of Karlis Parvasars, a Latvian migrant worker, who died in July 2013 when he was dragged into an industrial waste shredder. The company is fined £880,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,000, and two senior members of staff are given suspended prison sentences. (Guardian, 16 November 2017)

Party politics

24 November: The Hungarian government’s consultation on the so-called ‘Soros Plan’ – a conspiracy theory alleging that the US billionaire George Soros wants to transport one million migrants every year to Europe – officially comes to an end. (EU Observer, 22 November 2017)

24 November: The Slovenian Democratic Party, the rightwing opposition in Slovenia, introduces a motion calling for the impeachment of prime minister Miro Cerar over his support for a Syrian asylum seeker facing deportation. (Guardian, 24 November 2017)

Education

22 November: David McGhee, 51, a teacher at the Hazelhead Academy in Aberdeen, is struck off the teaching register after making racist and lewd comments to his pupils. (Scotsman, 22 November 2017)

24 November: Bristol Free School is criticised for giving children a worksheet that asked them to ‘rate’ people they would not want to live next door to, which included ‘a black person’, as one of the suggested answers. (Bristol Post, 24 November 2017)

28 November: A letter signed by 1,136 teachers, academics and faith leaders accuses Ofsted of racism following its recommendation that inspectors should question Muslim primary school girls as to why they are wearing a hijab. (Guardian, 28 November 2017)

Housing

16 November: The Department for Communities and Local Government publishes the Traveller caravan count, which compiles data from the count of Traveller caravans in England that took place in July 2017. View the data here.

Discrimination

November: The Runnymede Trust publishes an update to its 1997 report on Islamophobia, download it here.

17 November: Research by the Equality and Human Rights Commission finds that austerity is hitting ethnic minorities and the disabled hardest. Download the report, Distributional results for the impact of tax and welfare reforms between 2010-17, modelled in the 2021/22 tax year: Interim findings, November 2017, here.

19 November: New research by the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex finds that Chinese people report higher levels of racial harassment than any other ethnic group. Download the report here. (Guardian, 19 November 2017)

Health

28 November: New research finds that BAME children are less likely than their white counterparts to access traditional mental health services, but are more likely to access counselling services if they are online and anonymous. (Independent, 28 November 2017)

Media

November: A crowdfunding campaign is launched for ‘Hate Hurts’, a documentary photographic project that exposes violence towards refugees and asylum seekers. See here for further details.

18 November: Friends of Romano Lav (FoRL) issue a statement refuting claims made by the Times that young Roma children are being forced into prostitution in Govanhill, Glasgow. (Glasgow Live, 18 November 2017)

20 November: Paperchase promises to end its advertising relationship with the Daily Mail after receiving hundreds of complaints on social media, encouraged by the advocacy group Stop Funding Hate. (Guardian, 20 November 2017)

23 November: The Independent Press Standards organisation (Ipso) clears The Sun columnist Trevor Kavanagh of breaching accuracy or discrimination clauses in the editors’ code of practice, after he referred to ‘the Muslim problem’ in an article. (Guardian, 23 November 2017)

25 November: A talk by Katie Hopkins organised by the Freedom Association in Sussex is shut down by protesters who storm the building. (Sussex Express, 28 November 2017)

27 November: Anne Marie Waters demands an apology from the MK Citizen after it claimed in a headline that Waters’ new organisation, For Britain, is racist. (TalkRadio, 27 November 2017)

27 November: The Mail Online decides not to renew its contract with far-right columnist Katie Hopkins. (Guardian, 27 November 2017)

Violence and harassment: attacks on people 

17 November: A 60-year-old man is arrested in Turin after verbal and physical racial abuse towards a black school girl on a bus. The girl, identified only as Giulia, says no one intervened as he shouted at her, ‘It’s pointless you going to school, you’ll only end up on the street. Go back to your country’. (The Local, 17 November 2017)

18 November: A 21-year-old woman picking up a takeaway in Leicester is abused and then assaulted by a white woman, accompanied by a man and three children. (Leicester Mercury, 24 November 2017)

18 November: Peter Yeung, a journalist, intervenes when he sees three men racially abusing a female underground worker at London Bridge and is held in a head lock. (Evening Standard, 20 November 2017)

21 November: Police appeal for information on two women who racially abused and then threw a can of beer over a man on a train between Leeds and Huddersfield on 16 October. (Yorkshire Evening Post, 21 November 2017)

Violence and harassment: abuse

28 November: Peterborough FC players report being racially abused on a regular basis while playing matches.. The club says it feels ‘let down’ by local county football associations. (BBC News, 28 November 2017)

Violence and harassment: convictions

16 November: James Palmer, 31, is jailed for thirty-two months after pleading guilty to placing a fake bomb outside Paisley Central Mosque in ‘retaliation’ for the London Bridge attack. (BBC News, 16 November 2017)

18 November: Kyle Turner, 23, pleads guilty to possessing a blade in a public place and using racially aggravated threatening behaviour after racially abusing and threatening two young Asian women in Burnley. (Lancashire Telegraph, 18 November 2017)

21 November: Billy Chamberlain, 34, pleads guilty to racial and homophobic harassment of a conductor whilst travelling on a train between Norwich and London in May. He is sentenced to a twelve-month community order with 150 hours of unpaid work and is ordered to pay £150 compensation to the man he abused. (This is Local London, 21 November 2017)

21 November: Mickey Sage, 24, pleads guilty to two counts of threatening a person with a knife in a public place and religiously aggravated offences, after threatening people with a knife in Camberwell Green and asking if they were Muslim. He is sentenced to two years and three months in prison. (Independent, 22 November 2017)

23 November: Danial Forsythe, 31, admits racially aggravated assault causing grievous bodily harm and is jailed for two years and five months, after racially abusing and breaking the leg of a police officer in Exeter whilst being arrested. (Devon Online, 23 November 2017)

24 November: Paul Smout, 42, pleads guilty to a charge of racially/religiously aggravated harassment after calling an 18-month old girl a ‘banana-eater’ at a pub in Ilfracombe, North Devon. He is given a conditional discharge for eighteen months, and ordered to pay £50 compensation, a £20 victim surcharge and £85 costs. (DevonLive, 25 November 2017)

26 November: Leejay Brown, 24, is sentenced to prison for twenty months after racially abusing and threatening two brothers in Middlesborough with a knife. (GazetteLive, 26 November 2017)

28 November: Jamie Phillips, 30, pleads guilty to two counts of racially aggravated threatening behaviour after attacking and insulting five men when he was refused entry to a shop in Plymouth. He is released on bail to be sentenced in January. (Plymouth Herald, 28 November 2017)

28 November: Dane Smyth, 29, pleads guilty to making threats while possessing a hammer as an offensive weapon, using racially aggravated threatening behaviour and having a craft knife in public, and is jailed for twenty months following an attack on a petrol station worker in Cleethorpes. (Grimbsy Telegraph, 28 November 2017)

Violence and harassment: research and statistics

23 November: HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) publishes: Hate crime scoping study: A review of the police response to inform future inspection activity, download the report here.

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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