Calendar of racism and resistance (23 October – 5 November 2015)

November 5, 2015 — 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

15 October: The Home Office announces the closure of Dover immigration removal centre, Free Movement, 23 October 2015)

19 October: The Hope Project publishes: Destitute and asylum-seeking women in the West Midlands: Immigration issues and charity support related to housing and subsidy. Download the report here (pdf file, 2.8mb).

Yarl's Wood

Yarl’s Wood

20 October: An inquest records a verdict that 34-year-old Pinakin Patel, who was detained with his wife when they came with visas for a holiday, died of natural causes after suffering a heart attack at Yarl’s Wood detention centre in February 2015. The centre had not implemented a Home Office emergency strategy ordered after an earlier death. (Bedfordshire on Sunday, 20 October 2015)

21 October: Caroline Lucas MP tables an early day motion (EDM) on ‘Family reunification for refugees’. View the EDM here.

22 October:  The Swedish government, supported by the opposition, announces  tough new measures against asylum seekers on the day  that two people are stabbed to death in a racist attack at the Kronan School. (see below) 

28 October: The National Audit Office announces an investigation into Yarl’s Wood removal centre.

28 October: Austrian interior minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner announces that Austria will build a fence along its border with Slovenia, in order to ensure an ‘orderly, controlled entry’ into the country. (The Local, 28 October 2015)

Alois Dvorzak with his wife

Alois Dvorzak with his wife

29 October: The inquest into the death of immigration detainee Alois Dvorzac in February 2013 records a highly critical verdict. The 84-year-old dementia sufferer died handcuffed in hospital after suffering a heart attack in Harmondsworth removal centre. Download the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman report on the death here (pdf file, 160kb) (Open Democracy, 29 October 2015)

30 October: The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee publishes: The work of the Immigration Directorates (Q2 2015). Download the report here (pdf file, 683kb).

Dheklia_Cyprus3 November: People detained on a British RAF base in Cyprus issue emotional appeals to be released and allowed to seek asylum. (Independent3 November 2015)

3 November: The Hungarian parliament votes to reject the EU refugee quota (Budapest Business Journal, 4 November 2015, cited by Statewatch)

4 November: Over 200 Roma migrants sleep outside Malmö town hall in protest over their eviction from a camp on the outskirts of the Swedish town. The local council has said that it will create a winter shelter with space for 40 of the most vulnerable people. (The Local, 4 November 2015) 

Policing and criminal justice

19 October: The Independent Police Complaints Commission finds that body-worn cameras are not ‘fit for purpose’ after examining footage following the shooting of Nathan Brophy in Brixton in August. The cameras are currently on trial in ten London boroughs. (BBC News, 19 October 2015)

21 October: The government announces the terms of reference for the independent review into deaths and serious incidents in police custody and the chair of the inquiry, Dame Elish Angiolini (former Lord Advocate of Scotland).

22 October: Commonweal Housing publishes a report: Justice after release: housing options for miscarriage of justice victims, a call to action. Download the report here (pdf file, 474kb).

KingsleyBurrell22 October: Following a highly critical inquest verdict, the Crown Prosecution Service announces that it is to reconsider bringing charges against the officers involved in the death of Kingsley Burrell in Birmingham in 2011, an option it previously rejected. (Birmingham Mail, 22 October 2015)

25 October: The Daily Record reveals that Police Scotland contacted the Sierra Leone Embassy in London to repatriate Sheku Bayoh’s body just two days after his death in an altercation with police. Alarmed embassy officials contacted Bayoh’s family in Scotland, who prevented the planned repatriation. (Daily Record, 25 October 2015)Sheku Bayoh edit2

27 October: A legal challenge to the doctrine of joint enterprise begins at the Supreme Court. (Justice Gap, October 2015)

27 October: The Court of Appeal rules that the family of Mark Duggan can appeal an earlier High Court ruling over the inquest verdict of lawful killing. (Guardian, 27 October 2015

29 October: The Ministry of Justice releases statistics on deaths, assaults and injuries in detention, which are at their highest for a decade. Download the statistics here. (Guardian, 29 October 2015)

UFFC demo 201531 October: The United Families and Friends campaign holds its seventeenth annual march to remember those that have died in police, prison, immigration and psychiatric detention. (Russia Today, 1 November 2015)

2 November: PC Jonathan Williams is sacked from Essex Police after being found guilty of gross misconduct in sending racist and homophobic text messages. (Essex Chronicle, 2 November 2015)

3 November: JUSTICE publishes a report: Freedom from Suspicion: building a surveillance framework for a digital age. Download the report here (pdf file, 803kb)

4 November: The family of Leon Briggs hold a vigil outside Luton police station on the second anniversary of his death, the day after hearing that the force has reneged on a promise to allow a plaque to commemorate him, citing ‘potential legal implications’. (Luton Today, 3 November 2015)Leon Briggs plaque

Violence and harassment

23 October: Gary Scott is jailed for 18 months for assault and affray, Steven Rayon and Christopher Johnson both receive suspended prison sentences after they admit attacking two Polish men in Wrexham, leaving one man unconscious with a broken jaw. (Shropshire Star, 23 October 2015)

24 October: Two pigs’ heads with racist slogans are left outside a church in west Belfast. (BBC News, 24 October 2015)

Pigs heads Belfast28 October: A Muslim woman in her forties is racially abused, punched and kicked in the head by two women on a bus in south London. (Independent, 2 November 2015)

1 November: A final interview with the father of Surjit Singh Chhokar, who was murdered in a racist attack in 1998 in Scotland, is published, days after his death. (Daily Record, 1 November 2015)DarshanSinghChhokar

2 November: Tell Mama publishes a report: We fear for our lives: offline and online experiences of anti-Muslim hostility. Download the report here (pdf file 4.5mb).

Media

3 November: MailOnline columnist Katie Hopkins criticises police for investigating her for incitement to racial hatred after she called migrants ‘cockroaches’ and said she would use gunships to ‘stop’ them, when it emerges she will not face charges. (Huffington Post, 3 November 2015)

Education

16 October: The Equality Commission NI publishes: Key inequalities in education, a draft statement. Download it here. (pdf file 993kb)

Government policy

Counter-Extremism Strategy19 October: The Government publishes its ‘Counter Extremism Strategy’. View and download it here.

22 October: A judicial review over directions given by the Charity Commission over the future funding of advocacy group Cage is withdrawn after all three parties agreed a statement agreeing that the Charity Commission ‘has no power to require trustees to fetter the future exercise of their fiduciary duties under its general power to give advice and guidance’. (Civil Society, 22 October 2015) 

Extreme Right 

22 October: Far-right sympathiser Anton Lundin Pettersson, 21, fatally stabs teaching assistant Lavin Eskandar and 15-year-old student Ahmed Hassan and critically injuries two more, all chosen for their skin colour, at the Kronan school in the Swedish industrial town of Trollhättan. Police shoot their assailant, who dies in hospital. (Guardian, 23 October 2015)

22 October: Jewish Defence League activists in Paris attack a BuzzFeed journalist in a protest against Agence France Presse’s coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict. (Guardian, 23 October 2015)

26 October: Four neo-Nazis are arrested in Dortmund, western Germany, after a series of violent attacks. On one day, three men attacked a group of people using a telescopic baton and knife, and the following day six men approached four men, asked their nationalities and on hearing they were not German, attacked them with wooden slats, bats and bottles, and continued to kick them on the ground. (The Local, 27 October 2015)

2 November: An assessment of the activities of Tommy Robinson (aka Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) in the two years since he left the EDL is published. (Religious Reader, 2 November 2015)

4 November: Nineteen men are charged with violent disorder following a Britain First demonstration in Rotherham in September. (Sheffield Star, 4 November 2015)

4 November: The home secretary bans American Matthew Heimbach, 25, from entering the UK as his presence ‘would not be conducive to the public good’. Heimbach is a neo-Nazi who has made anti-semitic comments and is the president of the Traditional Youth Network. (Guardian, 4 November 2015)

Party politics

23 October: The Danish People’s Party is fined by Copenhagen City Court for an advertisement in a newspaper in 2013 listing the names of 685 new citizens, stating that one of them was ‘a danger to Denmark’s security. Now he will become a Dane’. Fifteen of those named filed a libel suit against the party, with the Court ruling in their favour. (The Local, 23 October 2015)

25 October: The nationalist, conservative and anti-immigration Law and Justice Party wins 37.6 per cent of the vote and an absolute majority in the Polish general election. During the election campaign, its chairman Jaroslaw Kaczyánski sought to make the refugee crisis an issue, claiming that refugees were bringing ‘cholera to the Greek islands, dysentery to Vienna, various types of parasites’. (Guardian, 26 October 2015) 

Employment

October 2015: The Institut Montaigne in France publishes a report by Marie-Anne Valfort: Religious discrimination in access to employment: a reality. Download the report here (pdf file, 3.5mb)

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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