Calendar of racism and resistance (24 March – 6 April 2017)
April 6, 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 & migration
March: The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) publishes a factsheet on immigration detention, download it here (pdf file, 95kb).
11 March: Campaigners protest outside Morton Hall immigration removal centre in Lincolnshire following the death of Lukasz Debowski in January, and complain of intrusive police surveillance. (Open Democracy, 21 March 2017)
15 March: Migrant Voice publishes Roads to nowhere: case studies of Europe’s Dublin Regulation and its impacts, read the report here.
15 March: The European Court of Justice rules unlawful the arbitrary detention of asylum seekers pending their expulsion to other EU states under the Dublin Regulation. (European Court of Justice, 15 March 2017)
21 March: An HM Inspectorate of Prisons report into Morton Hall immigration removal centre finds that a child was held for 151 days and other children were held for 12 days and 36 days. Download the report here. (Open Democracy, 21 March 2017)
22 March: The Independent Monitoring Board publishes: CEDARS Pre-Departure Accommodation: Independent Monitoring Board 2016 Annual Report, download it here.
22 March: The Lille Administrative court suspends the mayor of Calais’ ban on food distribution to migrants in the city, ruling that it obstructs the fulfilment of elementary needs and the right not to be subjected to inhuman treatment. (Lille Administrative Tribunal, AYS, 22 March 2017)
23 March: The Austrian interior minister, Wolfgang Sobotka, in collaboration with refugee support groups, doubles to €1,000 the normal 500-euro cash grant to refugees who volunteer to return home. The drive is targeted at ‘those who are not likely to be granted the right to long-term residence’. (The Local, 23 March 2017)
23 March: Three volunteers are arrested and charged with violating a city order in the Italian border town of Ventimiglia for distributing food to migrants after the mayor banned all food distribution to refugee and migrants in the town. (The Local, 23 March 2017)
23 March: A Sicilian prosecutor, Carmelo Zuccaro, is leading an investigation into suspected complicity between charity-funded rescue boats and smugglers sending out overcrowded dinghies. He claims that traffickers, either on board the dinghies or on land, may be calling the rescue vessels directly, rather than being routed through the coordinating centre in Rome. (The Local, 23 March 2017)
25 March: Disabled asylum seeker Lovelyn Edobor, 49, who uses a wheelchair, claims that Capita staff ‘dragged her like a goat’ with a chain at Heathrow during an attempted deportation. (Guardian, 28 March 2017)
26 March: An Observer investigation finds that hundreds of Syrian asylum seekers in the UK face destitution and are struggling to survive, while many have been detained and fear deportation to Bulgaria or Hungary. (Observer, 26 March 2017)
26 March: The anti-slavery commissioner criticises the police for failing to help Vietnamese teenagers enslaved by gangs who traffic them to tend to cannabis plants. (Guardian, 26 March 2017)
27 March: In a case brought by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee on behalf of a traumatised pregnant Ugandan torture survivor and her eight children, the European Court of Human Rights orders the Hungarian government not to move the family to the border detention camps pending the hearing. (Hungarian Spectrum, AYS, 28 March 2017)
27 March: An unnamed 25-year-old Syrian refugee is found hanged in Piraeus passenger ferry terminal, Greece, in an apparent suicide. (Ekathimerini, 27 March 2017)
27 March: Protests take place against mass deportations from Sweden, Austria and Germany. Protests and legal actions result in some Afghan nationals being taken off a Frontex deportation flight from Gothenburg, Sweden which picks up further deportees in Vienna, while over 200 protest at Munich as fifteen Afghans are deported (including two who had attempted suicide). (AYS, BR24, 28 March 2017)
28 March: The Upper Tribunal rules that Home Office attempts to postpone the appeal hearings of unaccompanied minors in Calais refused entry to join family in the UK are wrong, and that the rights of the children ‘clearly outweigh’ convenience. (Independent, 29 March 2017)
28 March: The European Court of Human Rights rules that Russia’s holding of asylum seekers in the transit zone of Moscow airport for between five months and two years was an illegal deprivation of liberty, and the lack of beds, privacy or hygiene facilities amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment. (ECtHR, 28 March 2017)
29 March: A runway at Stansted airport is temporarily closed after anti-deportation protesters attempt to stop a plane carrying eight deportees from taking off. (Guardian, 28 March 2017)
30 March: The European Court of Human Rights orders Greece to pay damages of €12,000-€16,000 each to undocumented Bangladeshi migrants for failing to protect them against forced labour picking strawberries on a farm. The men were unpaid, guarded and shot when they demanded wages. (ECtHR, 30 March 2017)
30 March: Denmark’s integration minister, Inger Støjberg, asks citizens to contact the authorities if they suspect a person of being an illegal immigrant. ‘Completely normal Danes’ are urged to contact the police if they are ‘at their local pizzeria and think that there is something weird going on in the back room’. (The Local, 30 March 2017)
30 March: A young Syrian man sets himself on fire in the Vial detention camp on Chios after reportedly having his asylum claim rejected for a second time. He is in critical condition with burns to 85 per cent of his body. (The Local, 30 March 2017)
1 April: A young Afghan man commits suicide near Munich after his asylum application is rejected. (AYS, 1 April 2017)
2 April: A woman is given a 14-month suspended jail sentence for trying to ‘smuggle’ a woman and two children into the UK in the boot of her car, in January, as she returned from France. (Kent Online, 2 April 2017)
3 April: Stojan Jankovic, a popular shop worker who has lived in the UK for 26 years and was detained by immigration officers the day after article 50 was triggered, has two weeks to challenge his deportation following the intervention of MP Keir Starmer. (Guardian, 3 April 2017)
4 April: Asylum seekers in the UK are attempting to conceal their status to avoid being discriminated against — or even attacked — charities and experts warn. (Independent, 4 April 2017)
5 April: A leaked Cabinet Office paper seen by the Independent reportedly exposes how Theresa May ‘sabotaged’ a government-wide plan to explain the benefits of immigration to the British public. (Independent, 5 April 2017)
4 April: GEO Group UK Ltd and Nestor Primecare Services Ltd, which ran Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre and its health services in October 2012, are to face criminal charges for breaching health and safety laws over the death of Ghanaian national Prince Fosu (31), who was found dead in his cell. (BBC News, 4 April 2017)
5 April: Miriam Macarron’Arroyo, a Spanish woman who was found dead in a river gorge in Bristol in January, feared she could be deported because of Brexit, an inquest hears. The assistant coroner finds no conclusive evidence that she intended to take her own life. (Guardian, 5 April 2017)
5 April: A couple who have been seeking asylum for nearly a decade are detained at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre after the Home Office loses their file. Yogesh Maharjan says that his wife Prabina was tortured and abused as a political activist in Nepal and faces significant dangers if she is deported. (Morning Star, 5 April 2017)
6 April: The Home Office increases the fee for an application for settled status to £2,297 and for a parent or grandparent to join family in the UK to £3,250.
Violence and harassment
23 March: A woman in her 40s stubs a cigarette out in a man’s face after racially abusing him as he waits at a bus stop in Telford. (Shropshire Star, 24 March 2017)
23 March: PC Liam O’Carroll is charged with assaults on police and racially aggravated common assault in Forest Gate following an incident on 10 October while off-duty. (Newham Recorder, 24 March 2017)
26 March: A Sikh shopkeeper in Stroud who intervenes to stop a group attacking a Polish teenager is beaten with crowbars and run over at high speed, leaving him with serious injuries. His wife says he is racially abused in the attack. Police later say the initial incident was not ‘related to race or ethnicity’. (Stroud News & Journal, 5 April 2017)
28 March: Luton police appeal for information after an Asian man was ‘viciously and violently’ attacked by five men who smashed the windows of his car before dragging him from it and beating him. (Luton Today, 28 March 2017)
29 March: In Austria, the Documentation and Consultancy Centre for Muslims records 253 Islamophobic attacks in 2016, a 62 percent increase on the previous year. By far the majority of the attacks were against women, and over half took place on public transport or public spaces. (The Muslim News, 29 March 2017)
29 March: Walter Pantellaro, 27, is ordered to be detained in Broadmoor indefinitely for attempted murder, wounding with intent, and racially aggravated assault after breaking into a Vauxhall home in the early hours of 1 May, beating a brother and sister and attacking them with a knife because, he told police, ‘I am racist’. (Evening Standard, 29 March 2017)
29 March: The triggering of Article 50 leads to an immediate spike in online hate speech, according to researchers at the Social Data Science Lab at Cardiff University. (Independent, 30 March 2017)
29 March: Over a third (34 per cent) of black and minority ethnic people (BAME) witnessed or experienced racial abuse in the seven months following the June 2016 Brexit vote, a Trades Union Congress (TUC) poll of over 1,000 people finds. (Voice, 29 March 2017)
30 March: Two young women are sentenced to suspended jail terms, youth rehabilitation and unpaid community work for an attack on a taxi driver in July 2016 in Wokingham which left the driver with a broken ankle and £6,000 worth of damage to his taxi. (Bracknell News, 30 March 2017)
31 March: The Austrian interior ministry acknowledges a sharp rise in attacks against refugee shelters in 2016, with hate crime incidents ranging from racist graffiti to arson, windows smashed and gas pipes slashed. In three-quarters of the 49 cases, the perpetrators were never found. (World Bulletin, 31 March 2017)
3 April: A man in Tunbridge Wells is given a six-month prison sentence for racially abusing a Muslim taxi driver in August 2015. The court heard that ‘he always asks whether taxi drivers are Muslim because he doesn’t want his money going towards them or their religion’. (Kent Live, 3 April 2017)
3 April: Research by academics from Essex University indicates that being a victim of racist harassment increases anxiety and depression, and has an overall negative impact on mental health. (Conversation, 3 April 2017)
5 April: After a brutal attack on a teenage asylum seeker in Croydon on 31 March, which leaves him with a fractured spine and eye-socket and a bleed on the brain, thirteen people are charged with a variety of offences including racially aggravated grievous bodily harm. The police announce that they are still hunting three ‘key individuals’. (Guardian, 5 April 2017)
Policing and criminal justice
22 March: Police forcibly remove the Union of Muslim Associations of Clichy (UAMC) from their mosque after the city legislature decides it should be repurposed as a library. (CCIF, 24 March 2017)
24 March: Judah Adunbi, 63, who was tasered in the face by Bristol police in February, says he is still suffering pain, memory loss and jerking movements as a result. (Bristol Post, 24 March 2017)
24 March: PC Peter Crofts is sacked from the British Transport Police following disciplinary proceedings for gross misconduct, after a video emerged of him striking a black man with a baton at Kings Cross station in March 2016. (Evening Standard, 24 March 2017)
27 March: The Victoria Derbyshire programme hears allegations from Grime artists that information provided to police on the controversial risk assessment form 696, which in some forces requires organisers of music events to state the ethnic makeup of audiences, has been used to cancel gigs on race grounds. (BBC News, 27 March 2017)
28 March: A report by the Centre for Justice Innovation finds that a belief that courts treat BAME people unfairly prevents them from taking advantage of sentence reductions and reinforces unequal outcomes. Download the report, Building Trust: How our courts can improve the criminal court experience for Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic defendants, here. (Guardian, 28 March 2017)
28 March: The inquest into the death of Ondrej Suha, from Slovakia, finds that the 19-year-old took his own life in December 2015 at Brinsford young offenders institute after being told that he could be deported to a country that he left aged 4. (Guardian, 28 March 2017)
29 March: The family of Mark Duggan lose their appeal against a 2014 inquest verdict that he was lawfully killed in August 2011. (Guardian, 29 March 2017)
29 March: Five police officers involved in the arrest of Julian Cole in Bedford in 2013, which left him paralysed, suffering from brain damage and requiring full-time care, will not face criminal charges, the CPS decides. (BBC News, 29 March 2017)
31 March: It is revealed that fifteen current and former officers and civilian staff from Bedfordshire Police are under investigation by the IPCC for gross misconduct for their role in a case of internal racial discrimination. (ITV News, 31 March 2017)
2 April: Around 6,000 people protest in Paris following the police killing of 56-year-old Liu Shaoyo, which police claim was in self defence, but the family say he was shot without warning. (The Local, 3 April 2017)
5 April: In response to a Freedom of Information request, the Met police admit passing on details of both victims and witnesses of crime to the Home Office if there are ‘concerns’ over their immigration status. (Politics.co.uk, 5 April 2017)
24 March: Lancashire man Bretton Vaughan, 45, pleads guilty to violent disorder and is jailed for 42 months after taking part in a violent anti-migrant protest in Dover on 30 January 2016. (Kent Online, 24 March 2017)
25 March: Around 40 fascists attend a white pride march in Edinburgh which is met by a 400-strong counter-protest; ten people are arrested. (Daily Record, 25 March 2017)
31 March: A Munich court orders a new psychiatric assessment of Beate Zschäpe, the sole surviving member of the terrorist neo-nazi NSU after her lawyers argue that she suffers from a mental disorder making her dependent on others, and if convicted her sentence should be reduced on grounds of diminished responsibility. (The Daily Sabah, 31 March 2017)
March: The Runnymede Trust publishes: Minority Report: Race and Class in post-Brexit Britain, download it here (pdf file, 935kb).
21 March: Glasgow lawyer Aamer Anwar is elected rector of Glasgow University, beating former Breitbart editor, Milo Yiannopoulos. (BBC News, 21 March 2017)
28 March: It is revealed that New Beacon Books, Britain’s first black bookshop, has reached its crowdfunding target which will allow the shop to remain open. (Islington Gazette, 28 March 2017)
29 March: The University of Manchester is criticised for its decision to discipline two students for their role in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign during Israel Apartheid Week earlier in the month. (Middle East Monitor, 29 March 2017)
5 April: Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn announces a new investigation by the Party’s executive committee into comments by Ken Livingstone, following his reactions to, and an outcry from Jewish leaders and some Labour MPs at, the original disciplinary panel suspending him from holding office in the Party for another year for bringing it ‘into disrepute’ for comments about Hitler’s support for Zionism, rather than expelling him. (BBC News, 5 April 2017)
6 April: A Conservative council candidate in Aberdeenshire, Ron McKail, apologises for sharing social media posts from Britain First and the EDL. (Evening Express, 6 April 2017)
28 March: The Government Equalities Office publishes the findings from a study exploring issues associated with measuring caste discrimination in Britain: Measuring caste discrimination in Britain – a feasibility study, download it here. It is also carrying out a public consultation on ‘Caste in Great Britain and equality law,’ view details here. The consultation closes on 18 July 2017.
5 April: The Supreme Court rules that a complainant alleging indirect discrimination through the application of a criterion or practice which fewer people of a particular race can comply with does not have to prove the reason why they cannot comply. (Supreme Court, 5 April 2017)
28 March: The buy-to-let landlord, Fergus Wilson, defends his decision to ban ‘coloured people’ from renting his homes because of the ‘curry smell at the end of the tenancy’. The Equality and Human Rights Commission pledges to investigate. (Huffington Post, 29 March 2017)
29 March: The Welsh Government publishes its ‘Gypsy and traveller caravan count: January 2017,’ a biannual report which includes information on authorised, unauthorised and local authority sites, view it here.
29 March: The High Court grants Barking and Dagenham Council an interim injunction banning 64 named Gypsies and Travellers and ‘persons unknown’ from 140 sites across the borough. (Barking and Dagenham Post, 30 March 2017)
22 March: The German Press Council loosens its guideline that the ethnicity or religion of an offender should not be mentioned in reports. (The Local, 23 March 2017)
1 April: Broadcaster, journalist, writer and civil-rights activist Darcus Howe dies aged 74. (Guardian, 3 April 2017)
28 March: Lord Herman Ouseley, head of anti-racist football campaign Kick It Out, calls on Premier League boss Richard Scudamore to show more leadership in the effort to increase the number of BAME football managers. (Belfast Telegraph, 29 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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