Calendar of racism and resistance (17- 31st July 2019)

August 22, 2019 — 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

Asylum and migrant rights

22 July: Channel 4’s Dispatches exposes the ‘golden visa’ programme, revealing how easy it is for those with £2 million to obtain settlement in the UK with investor visas using criminally obtained funds. (Channel 4 press release, 22 July 2019)

22 July: The Ministry of Justice publishes regulations restoring legal aid for unaccompanied child migrants, a year after announcing legal aid would be restored for this group. (Free Movement, 25 July 2019)

30 July: Over 38 migrant support groups sign an open letter to the new home secretary calling for a fairer and less punitive immigration and asylum system. (JCWI, 30 July 2019)

31 July: Young migrants’ group Let us Learn issues a report, Normality is a luxury, on how rule changes and huge rises in fees for immigration and citizenship applications have forced young people into destitution. Read the report here. (Guardian, 31 July 2019)

Reception and detention

16 July: The Court of Appeal rules that the Home Office is still discriminating against immigration detainees with mental health problems and had done nothing to remedy breaches of the Equality Act 17 months after an earlier ruling. (Free Movement, 18 July 2019)

20 July: La Cimade announces that it will no longer provide support at the Mesnil-Amelot detention centre, the largest in France,  pointing to several suicide attempts in recent days and saying its workers can no longer cope with working in an environment where people’s mental health problems are not properly assessed. (La Croix, 20 July 2019).

22 July: The National Audit Office reports that G4S made a gross profit of £14.3 million on its six-year contract to run Brook House detention centre near Gatwick airport for the Home Office, which failed to classify as contractual breaches, or to penalise, 84 incidents of physical and verbal abuse identified in a September 2017 Panorama exposé. (Guardian, 22 July 2019)

29 July: After the Labour Exploitation Advisory Group reports that the Home Office illegally detains hundreds of modern slavery survivors, several groups including Anti-Slavery International, Focus on Labour Exploitation (Flex) and Bail for Immigration Detainees form a taskforce to end the detention of survivors of modern slavery. (Independent, 29 July 2019)

Borders and internal controls

17 July: A joint investigation by the All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) on Africa, on Malawi and diaspora, and on development and migration finds a ‘broken’ visa system and an ‘insulting’ level of visit visa refusals for Africans, which is doing ‘severe damage’ to UK-African relations. (Guardian, 17 July 2019)

17 July: Local authorities refuse to share personal data of rough sleepers with the Home Office after revelations that its Rough Sleeping Support Service uses such data, passed on from homelessness charities, to deport them. (Guardian, 17 July 2019)

22 July: MSF resumes its search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean after 9 months, citing the ‘criminal inaction of European governments’ and the worsening situation in Libya as reasons for its return. (MSF, 22 July 2019)

22 July: French president Macron announces the agreement between 14 EU countries of a ‘solidarity mechanism’ that will allocate migrants and refugees throughout the bloc. Italy did not take part in the meeting and said that the decision had been ‘solely taken in Paris and Berlin’. (Al Jazeera, 22 July 2019)

24 July: Six Turkish asylum seekers are detained by Turkish police, five of whom are later arrested, after an illegal push-back from Greece by Greek police. (Turkish Minute, 25 July 2019)

25 July: An estimated 150 migrants drown in a shipwreck north of Libya. With no coordinated search and rescue in the Mediterranean, the UN says the journey from Libya is becoming more dangerous, with one in four migrants dying at sea. (Guardian, 25 July 2019)

26 July: Italy’s interior minister blocks entry to the Sicilian port of Augusta for the Bruno Gregoretti, an Italian coastguard ship carrying 140 rescued migrants. (Deutsche Welle in English, 27 July 2019)

Criminalising solidarity

21 July: Evangelical pastor Marlies Gampert and her partner Ulrich Gampert are convicted and fined €4,000 for providing refuge to Reza Jafari, a 22-year old Afghan refugee, in their church, in Bavaria Germany, for over a year, to prevent his deportation back to Afghanistan. (Pressenza, 27 July 2019)

25 July: The European Commission takes Hungary to the European Court of Justice for laws criminalising legal assistance to asylum seekers, and issues a formal notice in respect of the non-provision of food to detainees in Hungary’s transit zones. (European Commission press release, 25 July 2019)

The Libyan crisis

31 July: The BBC reports on a Somali man who committed suicide by self-immolation at the Triq al-Sikkadetention centre in Tripoli after hearing that he was not on a UN list of refugees to be evacuated. (BBC News, 31 July 2019)

Deportation

18 July: The Court of Appeal rules that a foreign offender with six UK-born children, who won a deportation appeal seven years ago, can be deported despite committing no further offences, since the law has become tougher since the original decision. (Free Movement, 24 July 2019)

© Ben Smoke

29 July: Activists from Reclaim the Power, a network fighting for social, economic and environmental justice, blockade the Hallmark Connect coach depot by Heathrow airport, demonstrating the company’s involvement in the transportation of detainees for charter flight deportations. (Vice, 29 July 2019)

30 July: A Freedom of Information request by No Deportations reveals that the Home Office spent £268,000 on deportation charter flights during a period from April to June when no flights took off because of a high court injunction. (Guardian, 30 July 2019)

POLICING AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE

16 July: As the boy who fatally stabbed 17-year-old Yousef Makki is acquitted of murder and manslaughter at Manchester crown court, Yousef’s sister says the family were treated like criminals while the defendant’s white, middle-class family was given priority seating. (Guardian, 16 July 2019)

18 July: Camden’s chief police officer defends the use of stop and search in the borough as new figures show its use there doubled from March 2018 to March 2019, with fewer than a quarter of stops resulting in further action. (Camden New Journal, 18 July 2019)

18 July: The family of 25-year-old Nuno Cardoso, who died in November 2017 of cardio-respiratory arrest due to combined drug intoxication following arrest by Thames Valley Police, express disappointment after an inquest returns an uncritical narrative verdict. INQUEST says that in too many cases involving black and minority groups police suspect those arrested of feigning illness and therefore respond too late in medical emergencies. (INQUEST media report, 18 July 2019)

25 July: Ministry of Justice figures show record levels of self-harm and assaults in prisons in England and Wales, with incidents of self-harm jumping by a quarter to nearly 58,000 in the year to March. (Guardian, 25 July 2019)

KNIFE CRIME

31 July: The Home Affairs Committee publishes its inquiry into serious youth violence following the publication of the Government’s Serious Violence Strategy in April 2018, highlighting the ineffectiveness of the current approach to combating knife crime, gun crime and homicide. (Guardian, 31 July 2019)

ANTI-FASCISM AND THE FAR RIGHT

19 July: Birmingham Crown Court jails Daniel Ward for three years for membership of the banned neo-nazi organisation National Action. Weapons were found at the home of Ward, who had briefly served in the army. (BBC News, 19 July 2019)

20 July: Thousands of anti-fascists protest in Kassel, Germany, where pro-migrant politician Walter Lübcke was recently assassinated, after the neo-nazi Die Rechte announce a protest against the ‘disgusting’ way the media have used the killing to present the far Right as extremists. (Deutsche Welle in English, 20 July 2019)

20 July: Around 4,000 far-right and ultra-nationalist football hooligans throw flash bombs, rocks and glasses as they attempt to block Poland’s first-ever Pride LGBTQ equality march in Bialystok, in the conservative region of Podlasie, eastern Poland. Anonymous leaflets say the streets will be ‘contaminated with LGBT bacteria’. (CNN, 21 July 2019)

22 July: Far-right self-styled ‘yellow vest’ James Goddard receives an eight-week suspended prison sentence after he pleads guilty to calling Remain MP Anna Soubry a Nazi and a racially aggravated public order offence against a police officer. (Daily Mirror, 22 July 2019)

28 July: The hashtag #IchbinAntifa (‘I am Antifa’) takes the number one spot on Twitter’s trending list in Germany after US President Donald Trump threatens to label Antifa a terrorist group and labelled anti-fascists ‘gutless radical left wack jobs’. AfD express support for Trump and calls for similar measures in Germany.  (Deutsche Welle in English, 28 July 2019)

29 July: The military and paramilitary in France are increasingly voting for Marie Le Pen’s far-Right National Rally, according to a new report by the Jean Jaurès Foundation. The first recommendation of a parliamentary inquiry into the far Right is for greater surveillance of current and former military personnel implicated in far-right groups. (Irish Times, 29 July 2019)

30 July: Police raids take place in four German states as part of an investigation into the violent far-right group ‘Storm Brigade’. (Associated Press, 30 July 2019)

30 July: National Action member Jack Renshaw gives a Nazi salute at the Old Bailey as he is jailed for life for plotting to murder Labour MP Rosie Cooper with a machete and threatening to kill a police officer, in revenge for a child abuse probe against him. (Easton Contributor, 30 July 2019)

ELECTORAL POLITICS: UK

19 July: In a speech at the Coin Street Community Centre, London, entitled Confronting Extremism Together, home secretary Sajid Javid says Nigel Farage is not an extremist, warns that he may block some businesses and organisations from sponsoring migrant workers, and says that he will target groups that do not adhere to British values and portray the government as anti-Muslim, such as Cage and the anti-Islamophobia organisation Mend. (Guardian, 20 July 2019, Gov.UK, 19 July 2019)

22 July: Research by the Electoral Commission on the impact of a trial requiring voters to show ID finds evidence to support concerns that the scheme would discriminate against BAME and Gypsy and Traveller communities. (Guardian, 22 July 2019)

22 July: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn unveils plans for tougher rules to deal with anti-Semitic conduct among members, as figures on disciplinary cases revealed by the general secretary show that over half the complaints received were against people who were not current members. (Guardian, 22 July 2019)

23 July: Sir Roger Scruton, previously sacked as chair of a government housing commission over allegations of racist language, is reappointed co-chair by communities secretary James Brokenshire.  (Guardian, 23 July 2019)

23 July: Munira Mirza, author of Living Apart Together: British Muslims and the Paradox of Multiculturalism, who has previously argued for the abolition of racial disparities audits for public services, is appointed to head No 10’s policy unit. (Guardian, 23 July 2019)

Foreign and Commonwealth Office via Wiki commons

24 July: Far-right leaders across the world, from president Jair Bolsanaro of Brazil to Pauline Hanson, leader of One Nation in Australia, the leaders of Alternative for Germany and The League in Italy, welcome the appointment of Boris Johnson as British prime minister. (Guardian, 24 July 2019)

25 July: Liberty expresses ‘extreme concern’ about the human rights implications of the appointment of Priti Patel as the new home secretary. Patel has in the past voted for a stricter asylum system, stronger enforcement of immigration rules and against a ban on the immigration detention of pregnant women. She has previously expressed support for the return of the death penalty, although she later retracted this. (Guardian, 25 July 2019).

26 July: It emerges that in 2016 Chloe Westley, the head of Boris Johnson’s social media team who has moved to No. 10 from the Taxpayers’ Alliance, tweeted in support of the far-right anti-Islam politician Anne Marie Waters, who has close links with Tommy Robinson. (Guardian, 26 July 2019)

29 July: New PM Boris Johnson faces calls to honour his commitment to an independent inquiry into Islamophobia in the Conservative party, made during a Tory leadership campaign TV debate. (Guardian, 29 July 2019)

31 July: Liverpool’s lord mayor Peter Brennan is stripped of his ceremonial position and referred to the Labour party after he shared a racist video in a private WhatsApp group. (Guardian, 31 July 2019)

ELECTORAL POLITICS: EU

16 July: Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini orders regional prefects to draw up a report on the country’s Roma, Sinti and Caminanti population with a view to ‘verify the presence of illegal camps to draw up an eviction plan’. (The Globe Post, 16 July 2019)

22 July:  Italian gay organisations call for the resignation of Giuseppe Cannata, vice-president of Vercilli city council, after he writes on Facebook ‘kill all these lesbians, gays and paedophiles’. The Brothers of Italy (Fdl) distances itself from Cannata, who was elected three months ago as an independent, though backed by Fdl. (Ansa.it, 22 July 2019)

25 July: The far-right Vlaams Belang politician Tom Van Grieken is appointed as the Belgian government’s representative on the Council of Europe. (newsmonkey.be,  25 July 2019)

31 July: Alternative for Germany is accused of exploiting the death of an eight-year-old boy who died after being pushed, alongside his mother, under a moving train in Frankfurt. They tweet: ‘How many citizens have to be offered up on the altar of this welcome culture which knows no bounds?’ Members of the far Right attempt to demonstrate at a remembrance event organised by the railway’s religious mission. (Guardian, 31 July 2019)

EU AND HUMAN RIGHTS

18 July: The European Commission announces an ‘EU-wide rule-of-law mechanism’ that means in future all EU nations will be subjected to annual monitoring. (Guardian, 18 July 2019)

NATIONAL SECURITY

23 July: The home secretary announces that in future, for the first time, far-right extremism is to be included in official terror warnings. The change has been recommended by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre after an operational review. (Independent, 24 July 2019)

HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS

(Credit: Daniel Renwick)

Daniel Renwick

18 July: The House of Commons housing, communities and local government committee warns that safety reforms following the Grenfell Tower disaster are too slow and are putting lives at risk. Potentially dangerous cladding from hundreds of housing blocks has not been removed and the government has taken 23 months to publish proposals for consultation. (Guardian, 18 July 2019)

20 July: As part of the London Plan for developers and local authorities, the Greater London Authority bans segregated play spaces in all future housing developments where there are a mix of tenures in the capital. (Guardian, 20 July 2019)

26 July: Security firm Serco, contracted to provide asylum housing in Scotland, has begun changing locks in Glasgow to evict asylum seekers, it is revealed. Courts have granted 37 injunctions to prevent evictions. (Guardian, 26 July 2019)

27 July: British passport holders who settled in the UK after being evicted from the Chagos Islands in the late 1960s report being told to ‘go home’ to the Seychelles or Mauritius when they seek assistance with housing from their local council in Crawley, west Sussex, which has offered to pay for their flights rather than rehouse them. (Observer, 28 July 2019)

EMPLOYMENT

23 July: A taxi firm in Port Talbot, Wales looking for new drivers, posts on Facebook that ‘we do not want Pakistanis’. After a public outcry, Cardy Cabs blames customers’ preferences for ‘white, British drivers’. (Wales Online,  23 July 2019)

31 July: Burger King staff in Barcelona win the right to wear beards following a ruling by the regional government’s labour inspection committee that the ban violated workers’ constitutional rights. (Guardian, 31 July 2019)

EDUCATION

29 July: Anti-racists end their 137-day occupation of Goldsmiths college, University of London, saying they had ‘won extensive demands to combat institutional racism at the university’. (Guardian, 29 July 2019)

29 July: The Education Policy Institute warns that while the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their wealthier classmates has widened, pupils from a black Caribbean background have slipped a further 2.2 months behind their white peers since 2011. (Guardian, 29 July 2019)

29 July: Department for Education figures reveal a rise in suspensions and expulsions from schools in Derby in 2018, reflecting a national trend. Most exclusions are for ‘persistent disruptive behaviour’, but a record number in Derby were for physical attacks and racist abuse. (Derby Telegraph, 29 July 2019)

HEALTH AND WELFARE

19 July: An inquest finds that neglect and serious failures by South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust contributed to the suicide in March 2018 of 27-year-old Kenan Canalp and that the staff’s preoccupation with his potential risk of violence led to lesser consideration of his suicide risk. (Inquest media release, 19 July 2019)

27 July: Over £3.5 million of EU funding for the most deprived children has gone unspent by the government and risks being reclaimed, according to a House of Lords EU subcommittee which says over £500,000 has already been returned unspent. (BBC News, 27 July 2019)

29 July: The Social Metrics Commission finds that of 14.3 million people in the UK living in poverty, 4 million experience deep poverty, meaning their income is at least 50 percent below the official breadline. Extreme poverty (destitution) is experienced by an estimated 1.5 million people as a result of benefit cuts and high rents. (Guardian, 29 July 2019)

SPORT

22 July: China’s state-run press agency accuses Manchester City of arrogance and disrespect towards Chinese local media and supporters after the club’s appearance at the Asia Trophy the previous week. (Guardian, 22 July 2019)

22 July: UEFA orders the national Bulgarian side to play their next two home Euro 2020 qualifying matches in a partially-closed stadium because of the racist behaviour of their supporters during qualifiers against Kosovo and the Czech Republic. (Inside World Football, 22 July 2019)

28 July: New Chelsea manager Frank Lampard tells Chelsea fans to drop a chant celebrating his footballing exploits but also containing an offensive reference to Travellers. (Guardian, 28 July 2019)

29 July: The Rugby Football League (RFL) promises an investigation after sports and news reporter Arif Ahmed tweets about racist abuse from Hull and Halifax fans at the Challenge Cup semi-final, which he says is a regular occurrence. (Serious about Rugby League, 29 July 2019)

30 July: Campaigning group Kick It Out praises Chelsea football club for imposing a lifetime ban on a fan who racially abused Raheem Sterling last season. The club imposed bans of 12 months to two years on supporters involved in other incidents in the same match. (Talksport, Kick It Out, 30 July 2019)

31 July: Sheffield Wednesday’s Fernando Forestieri is given a six-match ban by the Football Association (FA) for racist language. (BBC News, 31 July 2019)

MEDIA AND CULTURE

23 July: After the Bild newspaper reports that two Leipzig day centres have taken pork off the daily menu out of consideration for two Muslim children, police, fearful of ‘possible dangers’, station patrol cars outside the centre. The hashtag Schweinefleisch (pork) takes the number one trending spot on Twitter and Alternative for Germany describes the move as  ‘cultural subjugation’. Such is the outcry that the director puts the plan on hold. (Deutsche Welle in English, 23 July 2019)

29 July: The ‘overwhelming whiteness’ of the Edinburgh fringe festival deters artists and visitors, according to Fringe of Colour founder Jessica Brough, whose campaign has persuaded several venues featuring BAME performers to give out free tickets to local BAME young people. (Guardian, 29 July 2019)

30 July: The activist group Soup du Jour criticises the organisers of the Space is the Place exhibition in Berlin – inspired, in part, by Afrofuturism – for not including a single black artist in the line-up and only one artist of colour.  (Guardian, 30 July 2019)

31 July: The BBC Radio 4 Today programme is criticised for interviewing Donald Trump’s former advisor Steve Bannon and not sufficiently challenging his far-right views. (Independent, 31 July 2019)

RACIAL VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT

 18 July: Camden’s borough police commander, Chief Superintendent Raj Kohli, reveals that he and his family have suffered three ‘hate crimes’ this year. (Camden New Journal, 23 July 2019)

19 July: Former Liverpool player John Durnin is convicted of racially aggravated assault and given a six-month suspended sentence and a community service order, for racially abusing 74-year-old pensioner RajkumarBhalla, grabbing him by the neck and punching him in August 2018.  (Click Liverpool, 19 July 2019)

19 July: A 35-year-old woman is given a 12-month community order after pleading guilty to racially aggravated harassment at a supermarket in Burnley, Lancashire, in an incident in which she called a heavily pregnant shopper a ‘p*** immigrant’ and shouted ‘I’m going to kick the baby out of you’. (Daily Mirror, 19 July 2019)

23 July: As new figures reveal an increase in hate crimes to nearly 8,000 in West Yorkshire, and that racist crimes constituted two-thirds of the 2,900 hate crimes recorded by South Yorkshire police in 2018, Leeds-based charity Stop Hate UK launches a 24-hour helpline for young people under 18, Call Hate Out. (Yorkshire Post, 23 July 2019)

23 July: Scunthorpe-based screen actor NajModak reveals that he was subjected to racist abuse three times in three weeks last July. (Yorkshire Post, 23 July 2019)

23 July: A 30-year-old Carlisle man pleads guilty to racially or religiously aggravated assault for an attack on a mother eating with her children in McDonald’s, in which he racially abused and spat on her. He receives a community order and must pay compensation. (Cumberland News and Star, 26 July 2019)

24 July: Hundreds gather to protest racist violence after an Eritrean man is shot in the stomach in Wächtersbach, north-east Frankfurt. Police say he was targeted ‘completely at random and purely because of his skin colour’. The body of the man believed to be the gunman was later found in a car with a bullet wound to his head. (BBC News, 24 July 2019, Al Jazeera, 4 August 2019)

24 July: Police statistics reveal that racist crimes have increased in Greenwich, Bexley and Bromley. (News Shopper, 24 July 2019)

24 July: A 37-year-old man is taken to hospital with a head injury after a racist attack by three men in the Lowerhouses area of Huddersfield, west Yorkshire. (Examiner Live, 24 July 2019)

24 July: Following a number of recent bomb scares at German mosques, the Coordination Council of Muslims call for better police protection.In July alone, bomb threats have been made against mosques in the cities of Iserlohn, Villingen-Schwenningen and Munich, along with Cologne’s Central Mosque, with similar threats made at  mosques in Duisburg, Mannheim and Mainz. (Deutsche Welle, 24 July 2019)

25 July: In Foggia, in the Puglia region of  Italy, three migrants cycling to work suffer head and eye injuries after a gang throw stones at them. It is the fourth attack in two weeks, including a hit-and-run, and the NGO Intersos expresses concern that death threats against migrants are on the rise. (Foggia Today, 23 July 2019)

25 July: Courthouse News interviews witnesses of a terrifying attack on a Roma community of 20 families from the Albuccione housing estate on the outskirts of Rome, who were attacked by a 100-strong local mob armed with baseball bats, who threw bottles and broke windows as they shouted  ‘kill them all’, ‘burn them alive’ and ‘send them all away!’ (Courthouse News Service, 25 July 2019)

29 July: A man who filmed a model of Grenfell Tower being burned on a bonfire appears at Westminster magistrates’ court and denies charges of sending a grossly offensive video and causing it to be uploaded to YouTube. (BBC News, 29 July 2019)

30 July: A former Norfolk magistrate and his son face a retrial on charges of racially aggravated ABH and harassment after the judge discharged the jury at Ipswich Crown Court. The pair allegedly racially abused a former tenant, Anthony Munatswa and attacked him with a hammer and hockey stick when he came to their property to collect his belongings. (Eastern Daily Press, 23, 30 July 2019)

30 July: A Birmingham police dog handler is charged with racially aggravated wounding after his dog bit a Traveller whom he had called a ‘gypo’. (Metro, 30 July 2019)

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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