Calendar of Racism and Resistance (19 June – 2 July 2019)

July 4, 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, MIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP 

ASYLUM AND MIGRANT RIGHTS 

19 June: The Supreme Court rules that the Home Office acted illegally in requiring EU citizens from eastern Europe to register after 2009 to have residence rights, making hundreds of thousands eligible for a refund and for reconsideration of refusals of citizenship, permanent residence and pensions. (Free Movement, 19 June 2019)

19 June: Twenty migrants’ and rights groups accuse the EU of empowering unaccountable militias and undermining the rule of law and human rights in Africa through its migration policies there, in an open letter to Donald Tusk and other EU leaders. (Statewatch, 19 June 2019)

23 June: MPs and lawyers call for an inquiry into the Home Office’ recent outsourcing of visa applications to French firm Sopra Steria, which makes millions while forcing migrants to travel long distances or pay premium charges to submit applications in time. (Independent, 23 June 2019)

27 June: Home Office figures obtained by the BBC show that delays on decisions for asylum seeker children have tripled since January 2014, with almost 1,400 children waiting for more than five years for a decision about their right to remain. (BBC News, 27 June 2019)

1 July: Days before the hearing of a legal challenge to its policy of stopping support for survivors of trafficking after 45 days, the Home Office says it will drop the 45-day limit for needs-based support. (Free Movement, 2 July 2019)

BORDERS, TRANSIT ZONES AND INTERNAL CONTROLS

23 June: Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini announces that Slovenia and Italy will launch joint border patrols next month. (STA, 23 June 2019)

25 June: The EU announces funding of €14.8 million for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with only €1.8 million to go towards humanitarian assistance and the rest on ‘migration management’. (EU Press Release, 25 June 2019)

CRIMES OF SOLIDARITY 

20 June: A French court acquits British volunteer Tom Ciotkowski on charges of contempt and assault. He was arrested in Calais in July 2018 for filming and challenging a police officer who hit another volunteer with a baton while they were distributing food. (Amnesty Press Release, 20 June 2019)

29 June: Carola Rackete, the captain of Sea-Watch 3 is arrested after she defies Italy’s interior minister Matteo Salvini and brings forty refugees to shore in Lampedusa. Salvini describes her as an ‘outlaw’ who has put law enforcement officers at risk. Watch a video here. Sign a petition in support of Carola here. (Independent,  29 June 2019)

2 July: An Italian judge orders the release from house arrest of Sea-Watch 3 captain Carola Rackete, saying that she had been carrying out her duty to protect life and had not committed any act of violence. Campaigners have already raised £1.2m for a defence campaign. (Guardian, 2 July 2019)

RECEPTION AND DETENTION 

21 June: The French Council of State (the highest administrative court) orders the northern prefecture to provide clean water, showers and toilets within eight days for around 700 migrants living around a sports hall in Grande-Synthe, in a case brought by the Grande-Synthe commune and migrant rights groups. (FranceInfo, 21 June 2019)

25 June: After visiting ‘repatriation centres’ (CPRs) in Rome, Potenza, Bari and Brindisi, Italy’s Guarantor for the Rights of Detained Persons concludes that people in detention are still living in ‘deplorable conditions’, with people often held for up to six months and sometimes more. (Info Migrants, 25 June 2019)

26 June: Mette Frederiksen’s incoming Social-Democrat government in Denmark abandons plans for an immigration detention centre on the uninhabited island of Lindholm. (The Local, 26 June 2019)

26 June: Twenty prominent pro-migrant organisations, including Amnesty International and Medicins du Monde, warn the French government about dire conditions in its administrative detention centres (CRAs), where children and those with mental ill health suffer extremely. (Info Migrants, 26 June 2019) 

27 June: The Home Office is ordered to pay £45,000 in compensation to a Vietnamese trafficking victim who was unlawfully detained in Morton Hall detention centre for five months last year after officials mistook him for a man deported from the UK in 2011. (Guardian, 27 June 2019)

RAIDS AND DEPORTATIONS 

27 June: According to Italian interior ministry figures, the number of asylum seekers deported to Italy from elsewhere in Europe under the Dublin regulation has tripled since 2014, raising concerns about their treatment in the country. (Guardian, 27 June 2019)

29 June: At Gay Pride in Paris, around a hundred mostly women protesters from the ‘Gouines against deportations’ collective block an Air France float in protest at the airline’s complicity in deportations. (Huffington Post, 29 June 2019)

ANTI-FASCISM AND THE FAR RIGHT 

18 June: An email signed by the ‘musicians of the Straatsstreichorchester’ is sent to politicians and media organisations across Germany warning that the murder of CDU politician Walter Lübcke is the first of ‘upcoming purges’ on left-leaning politicians, refugees and Jews in Germany. (Guardian, 20 June 2019)

26 June: Police in Austria search two apartments in Vienna linked to Generation Identity leader Martin Sellner as the investigation into the Christchurch massacre widens to include his US-based fiancée Brittany Pettibone and her alleged connections with the Australian far-right figure Blair Cottrell. (Guardian, 26 June 2019)

26 June: The Guardian reveals that Scotland Yard has paid over £700,000 in out-of-court compensation settlements to 153 anti-fascist activists who were detained during a counter-demonstration against Tommy Robinson in London in September 2013. Internal documents also show that two undercover officers were paid to spy on the anti-fascists. (Guardian, 26 June 2019)

26 June: Stephan Ernst, a 45-year-old German man with previous convictions for serious anti-migrant crimes, confesses to the ‘political murder’ of CDU politician Walter Lübcke, who was known among the far Right for supporting Merkel’s refugee policies in 2015. (Guardian, 26 June 2019)

26 June: Thessaloniki municipal authorities refuse to allow the far-right Golden Dawn to use public spaces to campaign for national elections in early July. (Keep Talking Greece, 26 June 2019)

27 June: Germany’s domestic intelligence service publishes a report showing a 3.2 per cent increase in violent crimes committed by known right-wing extremists, a new upturn following a dip after the peaks of 2015 and 2016. (Deutsche Welle, 27 June 2019)

28 June: The research agency RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland warns that the Nordkreuz (Northern Cross) group, which has close links with police and military, has accessed police records on 25,000 people in order to compile a  ‘death list’ of left-wing and pro-refugee targets, has stockpiled weapons and ordered 200 body bags and quicklime to kill and dispose of victims.  (Guardian, 28 June 2019)

29 June: After far-right group Cs take a bus to Barcelona’s Gay Pride march, ignoring organisers’ refusal of permission to join the march, LGBTI activists surround the bus chanting ‘They shall not pass’ and paint the bus with ‘fascists out’ and ‘LGBTI in struggle’, forcing the group to leave. (Público, 29 June 2019)

2 July: Britain First leader Paul Golding speaks at a special session of the Russian State Duma at an event hosted by the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia entitled the International Conference of Peace-Loving Forces. The Polish extreme-right party Falanga also attended. (Independent, 2 July 2019)

ELECTORAL POLITICS 

22 June: In a video obtained by the Observer, shot in July 2018, Trump’s far-right former campaign manager Steve Bannon discusses his contact with Conservative leadership candidate and ex-foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who last summer dismissed rumours of their association as a ‘lefty delusion’. (Guardian, 22 June 2019)

24 June: In Spain, Toni Roldán, the economic spokesperson for the centre-right Citizens party, resigns over the party’s drift to the Right and its alliance with the far-right Vox party after regional and municipal elections. (Guardian, 24 June 2019)

POLICE AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

20 June: In France, a 17-year-old boy, identified only as Farès, is taken to hospital after being stabbed in the neck with scissors by a police officer in Vaujours, Seine-Saint-Denis. Police claim that the teenager was with friends when he was arrested for taunting the police. (Le Point, 27 June 2019)

24 June: An inquest finds that Rafal Sochacki, a Polish cleaner subject to a European Arrest Warrant, died in June 2017 from excessive body temperature after being transported in a hot custody van by a Serco driver and subsequently held in a cell at Westminster Magistrates’ Court for almost 5 hours with only ‘faulty’ air-conditioning, on one of the hottest days of the year. (BBC News, 24 June 2019)

25 June: An inquest rules that ‘excessive’ and ‘probably avoidable’ restraint by Warwickshire Police, including the use of tasers and batons, contributed to the death of Darren Cumberbatch in July 2017. (BBC News, 25 June 2019)

27 June: An inquest rules that Leroy ‘Junior’ Medford died of a heroin overdose while in custody in April 2017, but that officers tasked with supervising Medford lacked awareness of drugs procedure, including the need for constant observation. (Get Reading, 27 June 2019)

27 June: A freedom of information request reveals that just one per cent of complaints made against Avon and Somerset police for racism since 2014 have been upheld. As local community leaders say they have lost faith, the police issue a statement saying that all complaints are treated seriously and ‘racism has no place in our police force’. (Bristol Evening Post, 27 June 2019)

2 July: The Guardian reports that a National Crime Agency investigation (Operation Probitas) into claims that some Metropolitan police officers involved in the Stephen Lawrence murder investigation were corrupt, has collapsed. The Independent Office for Police Conduct confirms that no further action is to be taken against the prime suspect, former detective sergeant John Davidson. (Guardian, 2 July 2019)

NATIONAL SECURITY

29 June: The Belgian press report that dual Belgian-Moroccan national Ali Aarrass, wrongly imprisoned in Morocco since 2010 and adopted by Amnesty International in its campaign against torture, is named by an anonymous official as a suspect in a notorious string of 28 unsolved killings in Brabant, Belgium in the 1980s. The Free Ali campaign points out that the accusation comes as Ali, due for release next year, takes the Belgian state to court for its failure to protect his interests. (RTBF, 29 June 2019)

DISCRIMINATION 

19 June: The parliamentary human rights committee publishes evidence from human rights and data protection organisation warning that widespread data collection practices by private companies are not fully understood by most users, and may embed existing discrimination and lead to self-censorship. (Guardian, 19 June 2019)

19 June: The Equality and Human Rights Commission publishes a report saying that discrimination is going unchallenged because of lack of legal aid for those affected to take cases to court. Read the report here. (EHRC press release, 19 June 2019)

26 June: A report by Sisters for Change and the Manchester Maya Project warns that, as a result of institutional racism and sexism, BAME women and children in Greater Manchester who have been victims of domestic violence are not receiving the protection or specialist help they need. (Guardian, 26 June 2019)

27 June: A leaked draft report into the causes of the Windrush scandal, commissioned by the Home Office, finds that when the department implemented its ‘hostile environment’ policies it failed in its legal duty to prevent racial discrimination. It also accuses officials of ‘recklessness’. (Guardian, 27 June 2019)

1 July: A crematorium worker is awarded £6,000 compensation in a case that ended up at an employment tribunal but started in 2016 when a parks cemetery official, speaking at a meeting of Greenwich council about a burial ground in south-east London, asked whether the ‘residents of Bromley would want to be buried next to a Muslim’ and ‘No offence to the Muslim community but that’s what the Muslims do, they move in and take over.’ (Kent Live, 1 July 2019)

1 July: The Court of Appeal confirms a previous ruling in favour of the Agudas Israel Housing Association, confirming that it is not discriminatory to provide specialist services for Orthodox Jews in north London because of the significant disadvantages they face in accessing social housing. (Inside Housing, 1 July 2019)

2 July: A discrimination claim against the Ministry of Defence is launched by Hani Gue, a former black paratrooper, who claims that he suffered years of racist abuse in his 3 Para army unit and that fellow soldiers decorated company accommodation with Nazi, Confederate and SS flags, as well as pictures of Hitler. This is the latest in a series of controversies involving 3 Para, with one video showing paratroopers supporting Tommy Robinson and another shooting wax bullets at a poster of Jeremy Corbyn on a target range in Kabul. (Guardian, 2 July 2019)

HEALTH 

27 June: Research by psychologists at the University of Manchester and Lancaster suggests that discrimination is associated with a greater risk of psychosis. (Open Access Government, 27 June 2019)

EDUCATION

20 June: The charity Refugee Action says that funding for English lessons for refugees and migrants (ESOL) has been slashed by over 60 per over the last decade, falling from £212.3m in 2008 to £105m last year, as a result of austerity cuts to the Adult Education Budget. (Metro, 20 June 2019)

27 June: After a petition by 100 overseas students called on Sajid Javid to make a public statement about the English language testing scandal, the House of Commons public accounts committee announces an investigation into the issue. (Guardian, 27 June 2019)

27 June: Trustees of the University of Warwick student’s union launch an investigation into institutional racism and allegations that the student union’s ‘exclusively white’ senior leadership demonstrate ‘a culture of ignorance and complacency’. (Coventry Live, 27 June 2019)

2 July: Netpol reports that a 14-year-old Derbyshire schoolboy was labelled a ‘domestic extremist’ and his family hounded by counter-extremism police, after he said he was an anti-fascist during a lesson on the US civil rights movement. (Netpol, 2 July 2019)

MEDIA AND CULTURE 

20 June: Six writers and activists withdraw from the annual Bradford Literature Festival after learning that organisers of the 10-day event accepted money provided as part of the Home Office’s counter-extremism ‘Building a Stronger Britain Together’ strategy. (Guardian, 20 June 2019)

28 June: Hollywood actors and directors issue a public statement of support for Cinema America after four cinemagoers are attacked by men suspected of belonging to the youth wing of the far-right Casa Pound party, at an outdoor screening of Paul Schrader’s First Reformed in Rome. (Guardian, 28 June 2019)

28 June: Stormzy becomes the first black British solo artist to headline Glastonbury Festival, and is gloriously received by the crowd and reviewers. He wears a stab-proof Union Jack vest and, three songs in, samples a speech by David Lammy MP describing racial disproportionality in the criminal justice system. (BBC News, 29 June 2019)

HOUSING, EVICTIONS AND HOMELESSNESS

19 June: One man dies in hospital and another remains in a critical condition after their tarpaulin tent was set on fire in a suspected arson attack in Ilford, east London, the previous night. Police believe the men were homeless Romanians labourers, and are appealing to the East European community to identify the two victims. (Guardian, 20 June 2019; Evening Standard, 22 June 2019)

20 June: The Big Issue Foundation calls on Heather Wheeler, minister for homelessness, to resign after it emerges during the filming of an ITV documentary that she described rough sleepers in her South Derbyshire constituency as ‘the traditional type, old tinkers, knife cutters wandering through’. (Guardian, 20 June 2019)

20 June: A report by Help Refugees, L’Auberge des Migrants, Human Rights Observers and Refugee Info Bus reveal that there were over 800 forced evictions of displaced people in Calais and Grande-Synthe, near Dunkirk, between August 2018 and June 2019. Read the report here. (Help Refugees press release, 20 June 2019; Guardian, 22 June 2019)

27 June: A hundred demonstrators tie a chain to Serco’s Glasgow offices during a protest against the security company’s resumption of its lock-change eviction policy against asylum seekers it houses in the city. (Common Space, 27 June 2019)

2 July: Civic Platform accuses Brussels’ city authority of caring only for the city’s image when it hosts the Tour de France, after police with dogs move around 90 homeless migrants from Maximilian Park. The authorities say that complaints had been made by local residents and that the city’s homelessness agency has been given money to provide extra accommodation for those removed for one month. (Guardian, 2 July 2019)

SPORT

2 July:  British Sikh amateur boxer Aaron Singh challenges the Welsh Amateur Boxing Association over a rule that fighters must be clean shaven, which he claims is discriminatory as it prevents him from competing because of his faith. England Boxing overturned the rule following a campaign by Sikh and Muslim boxers and the WABA must now consider its position. (BBC News, 2 July 2019)

EMPLOYMENT AND EXPLOITATION

25 June: The European Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) calls on European countries to enforce labour laws to protect migrant workers as it publishes new research on severe exploitation of migrant workers across global supply chains where workers complain of ‘concentration camp conditions’  and of being treated ‘like dogs’ and ‘slaves’.  FRA claims its study was impeded by ‘mafia networks’. (European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, press release, 25 June 2019).

25 June: New Home Office country guidance on asylum seeking women who have been trafficked from Nigeria says that some become ‘wealthy from prostitution’ and attain a ‘high socio-economic status’ upon returning home. (Free Movement, 28 June 2019)

RACIAL VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT

19 June: Following allegations of a racist attack on a Middlesborough taxi driver, who received hospital treatment for his injuries, police confirm they have received ‘a number’ of other reports of assault in the same area at a similar time. (Teesside Live, Teesside Live, 19 June 2019)

19 June: In Burnley, a court hears that a drunk woman punched a bus depot boss in the nose, racially abused him and called him a rapist, after she was told to leave the bus. (Mirror, 19 June 2019)

21 June: At Bellingham train station, two men sipping cans of pink gin are filmed hurling racist and homophobic abuse at a black man, telling him to ‘f*** off’ after Brexit. (Mirror, 22 June 2019)

21 June: Julia Ogiehor, a Liberal Democrat councillor for Muswell Hill in Haringey, north London, is aggressively confronted by two men asking her where she is from – refusing to believe that she was from London – and calling her uneducated. (Ham & High, 22 June 2019)

21 June: A 14-year-old boy’s hair is ripped out in an alleged racist attack by a girl in Long Ashton, Somerset. (Bristol Post, 26 June 2019)

23 June: The mother of a 14-year-old boy who was racially abused and punched in the stomach on his way home in Woodbridge, Suffolk, says that the ‘growing culture of intolerance’ is getting worse, and that the family has discussed moving as a result. (East Anglian Daily Times, 23 June 2019)

24 June:  In a case described as the ‘worst known peacetime atrocity against women in Cyprus’, Nikos Metaxas, a  Greek-Cypriot army captain, is given seven life sentences after pleading guilty to the premeditated murder and abduction of five migrant domestic workers from the Philippines, Romania and Nepal, and two of their daughters, between September 2016 and July 2018. (Guardian, 24 June 2019)

26 June: Avon and Somerset’s police launch a CCTV appeal after a racially aggravated assault at a post office in Warmley. (Avon and Somerset police news, 26 June 2019)

27 June: Police appeal for information after a 15-year-old girl is racially abused and punched in the face by a man in Swindon. (Swindon Advertiser, 27 June 2019)

28 June: At Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court, a 40-year-old woman pleads guilty to racially aggravated threatening behaviour, for racially abusing a mother and threatening to set fire to her house while her children were inside in May 2019. (Derbyshire Live, 28 June 2019)

1 July: New figures show that despite the fact that mosques account for  52% of all religious hate crime, just 22 mosques received funding last year, with applications by 24 mosques rejected. The Muslim Council of Britain has told the Home Office that widespread distrust of the Home Office’s Prevent counter-extremism strategy has led some Muslim communi8ties to ignore the fund. (Guardian, 1 July  2019)

2 July: A south London pensioner is found guilty of a racially-aggravated public order offence after a court hears how he ‘unleashed a torrent of racist abuse’ at a black female customer in a betting shop describing her as a ‘f***ing n****’ and telling her ‘when Brexit comes you will be gone’ (Independent, 2 July 2019)

2 July: A man is arrested for a suspected racially aggravated public order offence following an anti-Semitic incident in Bethnal Green during which a Jewish man was threatened with a knife. (East London Advertiser, 2 July 2019)

This calendar was compiled by the IRR News Team with the help of Joseph Maggs, Ifhat Shaheen-Smith and Graeme Atkinson.

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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