Calendar of racism and resistance (22 April – 5 May 2016)

May 5, 2016 — 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

20 April: The Home Office announces that a new process for resettling unaccompanied asylum seeking children will commence in July. (Guardian, 21 April 2016)

Home Office221 April: The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman publishes: Independent investigation into the death of Mr Pinakinbhai Patel, a detainee at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre on 20 April 2015. Download it here.

21 April: The Ministry of Justice proposes increasing the costs to appellants of immigration appeals by up to 500 per cent in order to meet a Ministry deficit. (Guardian, 21 April 2016)

22 April: Asian restauranteurs lobby the government over immigration restrictions which have created a shortage of trained Asian chefs, leading to the closure of approximately 600 curry restaurants in the past 18 months. (Guardian, 22 April 2016)

25 April: Home secretary Theresa May says the UK must withdraw from the European human rights system regardless of the referendum result. (Guardian, 25 April 2016)

26 April: The Danish Justice Ministry announces that the Danish Home Guard will take over some border control duties from the police, such as ‘random checks’ at Denmark’s border with Germany, in a move meant to relieve pressure on the police. The Danish Home Guard, established after World War Two, consists of volunteers providing support to the armed forces. (The Local, 26 April 2016)

JRF-logo27 April: The Joseph Rowntree Foundation publishes new research on destitution which finds that migrants, who face restricted access to jobs and benefits, are disproportionately likely to become destitute. Download the research here. (Guardian, 27 April 2016)

27 April: The body of 29-year-old Nangyalai Dawoodzai, an Afghan man who worked as an interpreter for the British army is found in a Birmingham hostel. He is believed to have killed himself after being told he faced deportation to Italy under the Dublin regulation. (Guardian, 2 May 2016)

28 April: The inquest into the death of 29-year-old Carlito Vale, an orphan from Mozambique, hears how his body was found on top of an office block in Richmond, west London, after falling from the plane he had stowed away in June 2015. A verdict of accidental death was recorded. (Wandsworth Guardian, 28 April 2016)

28 April: The Italian government announces plans to fingerprint all migrants crossing the Mediterranean as soon as they are picked up by rescue boats. (The Local, 28 April 2016)

1 May: Romanian sex workers plan a challenge to Operation Nexus, a policy under which foreign national offenders are deported, saying their status as legitimate self-employed workers is recognised in EU law. Sex workers in London and Manchester without convictions have recently been targeted for deportation. (Guardian, 1 May 2016)

1 May: A man wanting to give clothes to asylum seekers housed at Manchester airport’s Britannia Hotel in Northenden is turned away by Serco staff and instead directed to the Red Cross, who claim they too have been denied access to the people staying at the hotel. (Manchester Evening News, 1 May 2016)

2 May: The European Asylum Support Agency announces more security measures, including deployment of police and barbed wire around the perimeter of the Lesbos ‘hotspot’ at Moria, where detained asylum seekers rioted last week. (Politico, 2 May 2016)

4 May: Bus drivers in Caen, which is close to French cross-Channel ports, are asked to count migrants who board their buses and note where they get off, it is revealed. (Politico, 4 May 2016)

4 May: Prime minister David Cameron agrees that the government will take an unspecified number of child refugees from Europe, in a change of policy forced on him by the strength of opposition. (BBC News, 4 May 2016)

4 May: The European Commission agrees an extension of temporary controls at the internal borders of the Schengen area for a further six months. The governments of Denmark, Sweden, Austria, Belgium, France and Germany had asked for a two-year extension. (Euractiv, 4 May 2016)

4 May: The European Commission proposes fines of €250,000 per refugee for member states refusing to take their share of refugees. (BBC News, 4 May 2016)

4 May: It is revealed that a lone 16-year-old Syrian refugee was detained for almost a month after the Home Office refused to believe his age, or to look at documentary proof of it, and despite injuries a Home Office doctor said were consistent with torture. (Guardian, 4 May 2016)

Policing and criminal justice

18 April: It is revealed that Capita has paid 44 ‘service credits’ [fines] as a result of failing to meet contractual requirements in its courtroom interpreting contract. (Law Gazette, 18 April 2016)

MInistry of justice21 April: The Ministry of Justice publishes: ‘Use of language interpreter and translation services in courts and tribunals statistics: 1 January 2013 to December 2015’. View and download them here.

aire-centre-logo26 April: The AIRE Centre launches a crowdfunding appeal for a judicial review to challenge a joint Met Police and Home Office initiative, Operation Nexus, that allows people with no criminal convictions to be deported from the UK. Read about it here.

29 April: The inquest into the death of 17-year-old Jack Susianta, who died in 2015 after jumping into the River Lea while being pursued by police, finds that he died as a result of a drug-induced accident. His parents and members of the public criticised the police for their failure to go in after him to rescue him. (Guardian, 29 April 2016)

29 April: A report by HM Inspector of Prisons on HMP Leeds is critical of prison officers who made a Muslim woman remove her veil in public when she visited, and of routine searches of babies and toddlers. (Daily Mirror, 29 April 2016)

ShekuBayoh_edit1 May: It emerges that the two police officers involved in the death of Sheku Bayoh in May 2015 have been on sick leave (on full pay) since his death. (Daily Record, 1 May 2016)

4 May: Two Bristol police officers, Helen Harris and Leanne Winter, are dismissed over their treatment of Bijan Ebrahimi, who was murdered in 2013. The officers were found to have treated Ebrahimi without respect or courtesy, and played a part in turning a small dispute into a ‘neighbourhood-wide paedophile hunt’. (Bristol Post, 4 May 2016)Bijan Ebrahimi

4 May: Concerns are raised over clauses in the Policing and Crime Bill which give the police powers to make foreign nationals produce documents to prove their nationality. (Guardian, 4 May 2016)

4 May: Ministry of Justice figures reveal that over 2,000 cases were adjourned as a result of failures in the provision of interpreting services by Capita. (Guardian, 4 May 2016)

4 May: The inquest jury into the death of 29-year-old Shalane Blackwood finds that ‘systematic failings amounting to neglect’, at HMP Nottingham, contributed to his death in August 2015. (Nottingham Post, 4 May 2016)

National security 

21 April: David Anderson QC, Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, publishes: Citizenship removal resulting in statelessness: first report of the independent reviewer on the operation of the power to remove citizenship obtained by naturalisation from persons who have no other citizenship. Download it here.

21 April: The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of assembly is critical of the government’s Prevent strategy which ‘could end up promoting extremism, rather than countering it.’ (Guardian, 21 April 2016)

2 May: The Guardian reveals that the government’s Research, Information and Communications Unit (Ricu) has funded ‘clandestine propaganda campaigns intended to bring about “attitudinal and behavioural change” among young British Muslims as part of a counter-radicalisation programme’. (Guardian, 2 May 2016)

cage_report2 May: CAGE publishes a report: ‘We are completely independent’: The Home Office, Breakthrough Media and the PREVENT counter-narrative industry. Download the report here.

Violence & harassment

22 April: The first ever report on anti-Muslim racism in Austria, produced by the Documentation Office for Muslims in Austria in partnership with the Islamic Faith Community in Austria, records 156 assaults against Muslims in 2015, with around 95 per cent of the incidents aimed at women. (The Local, 22 April 2016) 

26 April: A 43-year-old man is dragged from his car as it is stopped in traffic and beaten by three ‘beer-bellied’ men in a transit van in Ashton-under-Lyne. (Manchester Evening News, 29 April 2016)

29 April: A 39-year-old man, with his two children in Hanley Park, Stoke, is attacked, racially abused and slashed across the face with a ‘sharp instrument’ in an unprovoked attack. (Stoke Sentinel, 4 May 2016)

3 May: Neville Lawrence, the father of Stephen Lawrence who was murdered in a racist attack, threatens to boycott an inquiry into the actions of undercover police officers if it is too secretive. (Daily Mirror, 3 May 2016)

4 May: Local people mark the anniversary of the murder of 25-year-old Bangladeshi textile worker Altab Ali, the victim of a racist attack by three teenagers in St Mary’s Park in Whitechapel, east London on 4 May 1978. (BBC News, 4 May 2016)

Media

22 April: Kent Police issue a statement on an alleged gang-rape carried out at Bluewater shopping centre earlier this month saying it was carried out by ‘white, English and non-Muslim [men]’ after there was media speculation over the alleged perpetrators. (Daily Mirror, 22 April 2016)

Education

24 April: Following the election of Malia Bouattia as the first Black Muslim president of the NUS, students from several universities call for disaffiliation from the NUS, with Jewish student groups citing several statements Bouattia has made in the past about Zionism. Bouattia denies claims of anti-Semitism, saying she has been misunderstood. (Guardian, 24 April 2016)

Employment

23 April: The Nursing and Midwifery Council rules that nurse Claire Main’s fitness to practice was impaired and gives her a one-year caution for acting in a racially aggressive manner following an altercation outside an Aberdeen bar. (Aberdeen Press and Journal, 23 April 2016)

Electoral politics

24 April: In the first round of the Austrian presidential elections, extreme-right Freedom Party candidate, Norbert Hofer, gains 36 per cent of the vote, winning an overwhelming victory in all Austria’s states save Vienna. (Guardian, 25 May 2016)

29 April: Following the suspension of several Labour members, including Naz Shah MP and Ken Livingstone, pending investigations into anti-Semitism, Jeremy Corbyn sets up an independent inquiry into anti-Semitism and other forms of  discrimination led by Shami Chakrabarti. Labour also announces that it will  immediately draw up new rules, banning antisemitic behaviour and other forms of discrimination, which will be submitted to its national executive committee within weeks. (Guardian, 29 April 2016)

30 April: The Guardian reveals that prime minister David Cameron has sent letters targeting London’s non-Muslim ethnic groups, warning them of the dangers of electing Sadiq Khan as mayor, in a move described by some recipients as incitement to racial and religious hatred. (Guardian, 30 April 2016)

Extreme Right

19 April: German counter-terrorism officers arrest five people in Frietel, near Dresden, on suspicion of forming a far-right terrorist organisation, causing grievous bodily harm and attempted murder. The group is linked to attacks on refugee shelters, as well as an explosives attack on the car of a local councillor. (Deutsche Welle, 19 April 2016) 

Government policy

19 April: Latvia’s Ministry of Justice announces a plan to ban the niqab, citing security concerns and the need to protect Latvian culture. It is believed that only three women in the whole country wear the full face veil. (New York Times, 19 April 2016)

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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