Calendar of racism and resistance (24 February – 9 March 2017)

March 9, 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

24 February: Following a legal challenge by the Refugee Council, the High Court rules that local authorities must support age-disputed asylum seekers as children. (EIN, 27 February 2017)

26 February: Irene Clennell, 52, is deported from the UK to Singapore despite being married to a British man for over 27 years after her leave to remain was withdrawn after she spent time with her dying parents. (Guardian, 26 February 2017)

26 February: Home Office guidance, which advises gay Afghan asylum seekers to pretend they are straight if deported, is condemned by campaigners. (Observer, 26 February 2017)

26 February: In Sweden, up to 20 people are hurt in a fire at an asylum shelter in Vanersborg, near Gothenburg. Police say the cause of the fire is unknown although they are investigating arson. (BBC News, 26 February 2017)

27 February: The deportation of Bangor University student Shiromini Satkunarajah and her mother is stayed after concerted campaigning before it is due to take place. (Guardian, 28 February 2017)

27 February: A 17-year-old Afghani boy commits suicide in a reception centre in Wasserburg, Germany. He arrived alone in 2015 after travelling alone from Kabul in a journey taking months, and had recently been suffering from depression. (AYS, 4 March 2017, Schwabische, 4 March 2017)

27 February: The Home Office publishes Detention Services Order 08/2016: Management of Adults at Risk in Immigration Detention, download it here.

1 March: The House of Lords votes to amend the Brexit Bill to protect the rights of EU nationals in the UK, defying the government, which says it will reverse the amendment in the Commons. (Independent, 2 March 2017)

1 March: After a campaign to reverse a Home Office refusal of a visa to a Nigerian woman seeking to donate stem cells to her sister, the operation is successfully performed. (BBC News, 1 March 2017)

1 March: UNHCR takes up the case of a Syrian family living in Elin Pelin, Bulgaria, after the town’s mayor refuses to register and issue ID documents to them on the grounds that Muslims from Syria are not welcome in the town, a breach of the law regarding access to civil registration. (Balkan Insight, 1 March 2017)

2 March: Calais mayor Natacha Bouchart bans the distribution of food to migrants, calling it a security risk, to prevent the establishment of a new refugee camp. Charities say they will ignore the decree. (Guardian, 2 March 2017)

3 March: Two Malian refugees, Mamadou Konate, 33, and Nouhou Doumbia, 36, die as fire breaks out in a settlement for migrant farmworkers in Puglia, southern Italy, two days after an order is made for the shantytown to be cleared. The cause of the fire is unknown. (Guardian, 3 March 2017).

3 March: A Zimbabwean man who saved two children from a house fire in Manchester has been told he faces deportation after his asylum claim is refused, and despite suffering smoke inhalation, he cannot further use the NHS. (Guardian, 3 March 2017)

4 March: The Hungarian government extends the state of emergency for six months and says its second fence at the Serbian border, to be built by 700 prisoners by May, will be electrified. (AYS, 4 March 2017)

4 March: The Belgian government says it will start deporting refused asylum seekers to Afghanistan if they refuse voluntary departure, under the EU-Afghanistan agreement made last year. (TOLO News, 4 March 2017)

cantstaycantgo5 March: The British Red Cross publishes stories on ‘the people forgotten by our asylum system’, highlighting the plight of people being pushed into destitution. Download the report, Can’t Stay. Can’t Go. Refused asylum seekers who cannot be returned here (pdf file, 1.5mb). (BBC News, 3 March 2017)

5 March: 35 asylum seeking children who have been housed in the south of France go on hunger strike, protesting the lack of movement on their cases. It will not be until the end of the month that they can begin to be considered for school. Officials tell them to be patient, saying they will not be given preferential treatment. (Are You Syrious, 8 March 2017)

6 March: The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee publishes: Unaccompanied child migrants, download the report here (pdf file, 183kb).

6 March: The House of Lords European Union Committee publishes: Brexit: UK-EU movement of people, download the report here (pdf file, 1mb).

homesnotborders7 March: A new report reveals that leading homeless charities, such as St Mungo’s and Thames Reach, have passed information on some rough sleepers to the Home Office, leading to their removal from the UK. Read the Corporate Watch report: The Round-Up: rough sleeper immigration raids and charity collaborationhere or download a copy here (pdf file, 218kb). (Guardian, 7 March 2017) 

7 March: As statistics are published showing that asylum was granted to only 425 of the 29,400 people who applied last year, Hungary’s parliament approves the automatic detention of all asylum seekers, both entering and already present, in container camps at its southern border, reinstating a practice suspended in 2013. Human rights groups have heavily criticised the measure. (Al Jazeera, 7 March 2017)

7 March: The Home Office attempts to reassure EU students that they will not be deported if they do not possess private medical insurance, after a UK-based German student claims she was threatened with removal because she could not produce the correct documents on her return from a conference in Sweden. (Guardian, 7 March 2017)

7 March: Seven victims of torture begin a case at the high court challenging their detention after their claimed injuries and abuse failed to meet a new Home Office definition of torture. (Guardian, 7 March 2017)

Violence and harassment 

19 February: A man claims that he was struck over the head with a hammer and told to ‘Go back to Romania’ after an argument at a Bootle car boot sale. (Daily Record, 4 March 2017)

26 February: The owner of a Fife takeaway considers a complaint to the Crown Office after it accepts pleas from seven men who kicked and beat him to the ground in his shop, hours after the Paris terror attacks in November 2015, that the attack was not racially motivated. (Daily Record, 26 February 2017)

27 February: A report published by the German Interior Ministry reveals that in 2016 there were more than 3,500 attacks against refugees and asylum shelters, leaving 560 people injured including 43 children. Separate figures show a further 217 attacks against organisations and volunteers working with asylum seekers. (Al Jazeera, 27 February 2017)

5 March: A gang of ten people, male and female, aged between 14-20, drag a taxi-driver from his cab in what police are treating as a racially motivated assault and robbery in Edinburgh. (Daily Record, 6 March 2017)

5 March: RAF serviceman Michael Saunders is jailed for 24 days by Colchester Military Court Centre after writing obscene racial abuse on Facebook: ‘Like I say to my brother f**k all the black c***s, I mean all of them. Join the military and you get to kill them without going to prison, it’s f*****g fantastic.’ (Metro, 6 March 2017)

6 March: Manchester Evening News publishes a video showing an inmate at Forest Bank prison, dressed as Rambo, racially abusing and threatening to skin two Asian prisoners. (Manchester Evening News, 6 March 2017)

8 March: Three schoolboys who filmed themselves racially attacking a  Liverpool shopkeeper are jailed for between 18 and 24 months in a young offenders’ institution. In the attack in December last year, the Sri Lankan shopkeeper suffered a broken jaw and fractured eye sockets. (Liverpool Echo, 8 March 2017)

8 March: An Exmouth family claim they are being forced out of their home by a targeted campaign of racially motivated violence, in which their car has been damaged five times in as many months. (DevonLive, 8 March 2017)

Policing and criminal justice

22 February: An inquest into the death of Valdas Jasiunas is told that the homeless Lithuanian man might have been released from police custody had his epilepsy been recorded when he had been arrested earlier. Instead he was found collapsed in a cell in Forest Gate police station in September 2010 and died later in hospital. (Newham Recorder, 22 February 2017)

23 February: The Met police is accused of trying to gag its critics after it announces a cut in funding to the Metropolitan Black Police Association which will result in the loss of three staff. (Guardian, 23 February 2017)

23 February: Police announce a forensic review into the unsolved murder of Trevor Monerville, who was killed in 1994, seven years after sustaining brain injuries in suspicious circumstances in 1987. (Hackney Gazette, 23 February 2017)

24 February: Neil Acourt, one of the men accused, but not convicted of the 1993 murder of Stephen Lawrence, is jailed for over six years after being convicted for his part in a drug smuggling operation. (Guardian, 24 February 2017)

24 February: Teenage students blockade more than a dozen high schools in Paris in protest at the alleged police rape of Theo. The Mouvement Inter Luttes Indépendent organises demonstrations in several cities calling for an end to ‘racist spot checks’ on school students. (Guardian, 24 February 2017)

27 February: A member of a family reporting a racist attack to Longsight police station in Manchester is arrested and cautioned after their assailants allegedly talk their way out of the incident. The family complain to Greater Manchester Police over their handling of the incident. (Manchester Evening News, 5 March 2017)

27 February: A care-worker has been charged with sexually abusing 15 children, between 2013 and 2016, in an asylum centre in southern Norway. The children involved are being interviewed at a refuge for children and youths of violence and sexual abuse.  The accused has been placed in pre-trial detention, but has not admitted guilt. (The Local, 27 February 2017)

2 March: The family of Mark Duggan launches a judicial review of the coroner’s directions at the inquest into his shooting by police in August 2005. (Guardian, 2 March 2017)

2 March: It is announced that police officers will be issued with new and more powerful tasers – the X2 stun gun, despite concerns following the death of Dalian Atkinson in Telford in August 2016. (Shropshire Star, 2 March 2017)

Olaseni Lewis

Olaseni Lewis

3 March: The inquest into the death of Olaseni Lewis is told that a ’vicious cycle’ of restraint and severe agitation caused him to collapse into cardiac arrest while being restrained by 11 police officers at Bethlem hospital in August 2010. (This is Local London, 3 March 2017)

6 March: A study of police stop and search in Southampton finds that black people are more likely to be stopped and searched, and the rate is four times more than expected. (ITV, 6 March 2017)

7 March: New guidelines issued by the Sentencing Council, which come into force on 1 June, state that when sentencing, children’s courts should take into account the overrepresentation of BAME children in the youth justice system. (Children & Young People Now, 7 March 2017)

9 March: The family of Joseph Phuong have spoken out after the inquest into his death was postponed until September. The 32-year-old died in hospital in June 2015, 24 hours after being arrested by police in Twickenham. (Evening Standard, 9 March 2017) 

Far Right

24 February: Coventry man Thomas Law is jailed for two and half years after being found guilty of violent disorder at a demonstration in Dover in January 2016 against refugees and asylum seekers organised by the South East Infidels. Another man, Martin Corner, is jailed for two years for violent disorder. (Coventry Telegraph, 24 February 2017)

24 February: The far-Right Italian Northern League offers to pay the legal fees of two Lidl supermarket employees in Tuscany who shut two Roma women in a recycling container, and filmed the women’s desperate attempts to escape. The video went viral when posted on Facebook, prompting Lidl to launch an investigation. (The Local, 24 February 2017)

25 February: Jacek Międlar, a far-right Polish priest, is detained at Stansted airport to prevent him attending a Britain First rally in Telford. (Guardian and Shropshire Star, 25 February 2017)

25 February: Four people are charged with public order and racially and religiously aggravated offences after an EDL march in Rotherham. (Rotherham Advertiser, 28 February 2017)

4 March: Far-right protestors hold a demonstration outside Bristol crown court protesting the 12-month sentence given to Kevin Crehan who is jailed after leaving bacon at a mosque and was found dead in prison in December 2016. (Metro, 4 March 2017)

8 March: The Crown Prosecution Service announces it is to re-examine its decision not to prosecute Jeremy Bedford-Turner for a speech at London’s Cenotaph in 2015 for incitement to racial or religious hatred followinga a cmapign by the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism. (BBC News, 8 March 2017)

Education

23 February: The University of East London launches a short course, the Open Learning Initiative, to give refugees and asylum seekers the grounding to progress to a foundation course and ultimately a degree. (Independent, 11 February 2017)

23 February: A London tour guide claims to have found London’s earliest mosque, situated in Camden, dating back to 1895. (Londonist, 23 February 2017)

27 February: 250 academics sign a letter protesting that free speech is under attack from the government’s adoption and circulation to all universities of a controversial definition of anti-semitism which they say conflates pro-Palestinian activism and anti-semitism, as universities of Exeter, Central Lancashire and London cancel student events marking Israel Apartheid Week.(Guardian, 27 February 2017)

2 March: A high school in Wuppertal, Germany, asks teachers to note names of Muslim students who ‘pray provocatively’ in school. The letter circulated to teachers, confirmed as authentic by the state capital government authority, uses ‘police jargon’ to describe the instructions. (The Local, 2 March 2017)

3 March: New Beacon Books launches a fundraiser to ‘Help save UK’s first black bookshop’. View details here.

3 March: The University of Oslo stops its collaboration with the Norwegian authorities to assess the ages of unaccompanied minors using orthodontic x-rays technique. This decision is made following the Norwegian Medical Association’s December ruling that the process is unethical. (The Local, 3 March 2017)

5 March: The University of Reading orders its Agricultural Society to apologise for offending the Traveller community after it held a ‘P***y night’ last October. (Reading Chronicle, 5 March 2017)

Employment 

1 March: A government-backed review calls for firms to publish a breakdown of their workforce by race and pay after finding that people from BAME backgrounds are still disadvantaged at work. Download the report, Race in the workplace, here. (BBC News, 2017)

1 March: Mark Scott, an Aberdeen Council social worker, is struck off the Scottish Social Services Council register after it found he had made racist and sectarian comments. (Press & Journal, 1 March 2017)

3 March: After losing a High Court case against Transport for London over TfL’s requirement for minicab drivers to pass a written English exam, Uber says it will appeal. (Guardian, 3 March 2017)

5 March: The Equalities and Human Rights Commission is accused by race campaigners of targeting BAME staff for compulsory redundancies. (Guardian, 5 March 2017)

Media

24 February: Trevor Kavanagh, associate editor of the Sun, faces calls for his resignation from Ipso, the press watchdog, after it rules that the paper made false claims about the number of asylum seekers lying about their age. (Guardian, 24 February 2017)

3 March: 22 Swedish religious studies research specialists sign a blog post calling the report commissioned by Sweden’s Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) in to the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood ‘almost conspiracy-theory like’.  They argue that the report ignores previous research, lacks sources, and bases conclusions on personal views rather than evidence. MSB have defended the report saying that it is a feasibility study aimed at highlighting areas for further study and research. (The Local, 3 March 2017)

6 March: HOPE not Hate publish a report: Breitbart: a rightwing plot to shape Europe’s future, download it here (pdf file, 3mb).

7 March: Students at Glasgow University nominate far-right Milo Yiannopoulos (former Breitbart editor) as one of ten candidates for rector; other students protest the decision. (Independent, 7 March 2017)

Party politics

1 March: Driffield town council’s standards committee finds that former mayor and councillor Heather Venter breached the authority’s code of conduct after ‘liking’ racist Facebook posts. She is ordered to apologise to the town council. (BBC News, 1 March 2017)

2 March: Nigel Farage accuses Douglas Carswell, Ukip’s only MP, of preventing the party from becoming a radical anti-immigration party. (Guardian, 2 March 2017)

8 March: Plymouth councillor Jonny Morris is suspended for three months and ordered to attend a diversity training course after making a Nazi salute during a meeting. (Plymouth Herald, 8 March 2017)

National security

9 February: The Equality and Human Rights Commission publishes advice and guidance: Delivering the Prevent duty in a proportionate and fair way: A guide for higher education providers in England on how to use equality and human rights law in the context of Prevent, download it here.

1 March: Middle East Eye reveals that Prevent training presentations at universities name former Guantanamo detainee Moazzam Begg and Cage in case studies of ‘extremist views’. (Middle East Eye, 1 March 2017)

9 March: The European court of human rights rules that the UK’s policy of stripping British terror suspects of their citizenship while abroad to bar them from returning to Britain is lawful. (Guardian, 9 March 2017)

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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