Calendar of racism and resistance (25 November – 8 December 2016)

December 8, 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

21 November: The malnourished body of an 18-year-old Afghan refugee who froze to death is found in an abandoned industrial building in northern Bulgaria near the Serbian border, the tenth known death of a refugee in Bulgaria. On the same day, another refugee, believed to be Eritrean, is killed by a train in Bolzano, Italy, as he tries to climb on to a freight train. (Der Standard, 22 November 2016)

24 November: A woman and her 6-year-old child die when a gas canister explodes while cooking at the Moria refugee camp in Lesbos, provoking a riot at the migrant processing ‘hotspot’ which residents describe as an open prison. (EU Observer, 25 November 2016)

24 November: A 23-year-old Afghan refugee commits suicide at Sid, Serbia, apparently following several unsuccessful attempts to cross the border into Hungary. (AreYouSyrious, 24 November 2016)

24 November: Bulgarian police use tear gas and water cannon to disperse around 1,500 refugees protesting a ban on their leaving the Harmanli reception centre on medical grounds. The Bulgarian Refugee Agency blames tensions on false claims in the local press that the refugees have communicable skin diseases. (Al Jazeera, 24 November 2016)

25 November: The government backs down on immigration tribunal fee increases. Pending a further review, fees will revert to their previous level and those who paid at the new level will be refunded. (Hansard, 25 November 2016)

26 November: Campaigners demonstrate outside Campsfield removal centre in Oxfordshire, to mark the twenty-three years since it opened. (Oxford Mail, 27 November 2016)

27 November: A 15-year-old youth, amongst those being transported from the Harmanli refugee centre following the riots (see above), is in a critical condition after being taken to hospital with a brain haemorrhage. (Sofia Globe, 28 November)

30 November: Amnesty International describes as an ‘affront to justice’ a 10-year sentence under the Hungarian anti-terrorism laws handed down to a Syrian refugee, legally resident in Cyprus, who was arrested trying to help his elderly parents and other family members cross the Serbian border into Hungary in September 2015, and accused of orchestrating clashes between refugees and police. (Guardian, 30 November 2016)

1 December: Tarek Chowdhury, 64, is murdered in Colnbrook immigration removal centre in west London. (Get West London, 2 December 2016)

1 December: The Home Office, UK Visas and Immigration, Department of Health and NHS publish: ‘Improving Mental Health Services in Immigration Detention: An Action Plan.’ Download the action plan here.

1 December: The Guardian reveals that Theresa May, when home secretary, wanted the children of parents who were in the UK unlawfully to be pushed to the bottom of school waiting lists. (Guardian, 1 December 2016)

1 December: Provisions of the Immigration Act criminalising landlords letting to undocumented migrants, and ‘remove first, appeal later’ for most human rights appeals by migrants, come into force. (Free Movement, 1 December 2016)

3 December: Thousands demonstrate outside Yarl’s Wood detention centre near Bedford. (Guardian, 3 December 2016)

4 December: A report by Help Refugees, An uncertain future, accuses the Home Office of avoiding its responsibilities to child refugees dispersed from Calais when the camp was demolished last month, whom it promised to resettle in the UK. Download the report here.

4 December: BBC News reports on poor conditions in housing for asylum seekers in Wales provided by private company Clearsprings, which was previously criticised for making asylum seekers wear wristbands in order to receive food. (BBC News, 4 December 2016)

5 December: The Home Office pays £950,000 to settle a damages claim for wrongly suspending the licence of a catering college for ten weeks, forcing the company to close. (Doughty Street, 5 December 2016)

5 December: Home secretary Amber Rudd says that over three million EU citizens living in the UK will need official papers to live in the UK. (Guardian, 6 December 2016)

6 December: An unnamed man is found dead at Morton Hall immigration detention centre. According to the Unity Centre he had been detained for two years and had apparently lived in the UK for 27 years. (Unity Centre, 7 December 2016)

8 December: The Home Affairs Committee launches an inquiry into developing an effective post-Brexit immigration policy. The committee’s members will host meetings around the UK to hear people’s views. (Home Affairs Committee, 8 December 2016)

Violence and harassment

24 November: The Police Service of Northern Ireland publishes: Incidents and Crimes with a Hate Motivation Recorded by the Police in Northern Ireland: Quarterly Update to 30 September 2016, download them here.

24 November: A Muslim father of three in Willesden, north-west London claims that he and his family have been subjected to a thirteen-year campaign of racial harassment and the police have done little to help. In the latest attack the family’s car was seriously damaged. (Evening Standard, 24 November 2016)

25 November: Police begin an investigation into racist stickers which have appeared at tube stations and bus stops which target Sadiq Khan, London mayor. (Evening Standard, 25 November 2016)

26 November: New research finds that over 50,000 abusive and offensive tweets were sent celebrating the death of Jo Cox, MP, in the month following her murder. Read the research here. (Guardian, 26 November 2016)

27 November: Unidentified assailants throw a Molotov cocktail against the wall of a refugee centre near Vienna. Nobody is injured. (Reuters, 28 November 2016)

28 November: A man racially abuses two headscarved girls on a Manchester tram and threatens to set them on fire. (Manchester Evening News, 30 November 2016)

28 November: South Yorkshire police release e-fits of two men wanted in connection with the racially motivated stabbing of two 18-year-olds in Shalesmoor, Sheffield on 28 October; one suffered life threatening injuries. (Sheffield Star, 28 November 2016)

1 December: A 15-year-old boy is charged with the manslaughter of a Polish man, Arkadiusz Jóźwik, 40, who was killed in Harlow, Essex in August. (Guardian, 1 December 2016)

1 December: The government backs a national anti-hate crime campaign,‘Better Than That’, in response to the rise in racist incidents following the EU Referendum. (Guardian, 1 December 2016)

5 December: Lindsey White begins an appeal at Belfast’s high court against her conviction for the racially motivated murder of Polish man Marek Muszynski in Newry in July 2009. (Belfast Telegraph, 5 December 2016)

7 December: Joshua Bonehill-Paine is convicted of racially harassing Labour MP Luciana Berger after writing anti-Semitic blogs. (Somerset Live, 7 December 2016)

Policing & criminal justice

25 November: The Independent Police Complaints Commission refers its investigation into the shooting of Jermaine Baker to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider whether charges will be brought against the police officer involved. (Guardian, 25 November 2016)

30 November: Four Metropolitan police officers who say they were ‘branded abusive thugs’ after the arrest of terror suspect Babar Ahmad 13 years ago win the right to seek compensation from the Met commissioner for his failure to defend them over Ahmad’s claim that they had beaten him up. (Guardian, 30 November 2016)

28 November: Three West Midlands police officers deny charges of perverting the course of justice and perjury after allegedly giving false testimony to the inquest on the death of Kingsley Burrell in Birmingham in 2011. All three are granted unconditional bail. (BBC News, 28 November 2016)

1 December: Police appeal for witnesses to the arrest of Mzee Mohammed (who later died) in Liverpool in July to come forward. (Guardian, 1 December 2016)

Education

24 November: The government concedes that parents can retract consent for collection of their children’s nationality and country of origin data by stating ‘refuse’, and the DfE will remove those data from the autumn schools census. (Hansard, 24 November 2016)

Far Right

26 November: A small group of fascists hold a demonstration in Bolton against a new mosque. An even smaller group of fascists hold a demonstration in Egham against the sacking of two members from Royal Holloway College. Both demonstrations face strong opposition from anti-fascist protestors. (Anti Fascist Network, 26 November 2016)

28 November: The Hungarian Islamic Community (MIK) accuses László Toroczkai, the far-Right Jobbik mayor of Ásotthalom, of fomenting Islamophobia after he issues a decree banning mosque construction, the use of a muezzin at prayer times and the wearing of full-face veils. The measures are necessary to ‘protect the community and its traditions from any mass settlement from outside,’ claims Toroczkai. (Guardian, 28 November 2016)

30 November: German police raid premises associated with the Free Comradeship of Dresden, arresting six people accused of acts including arson and bodily harm during attacks which targeted refugee accommodation, political opponents and mosques in eastern Saxony. (Deutsche Welle, 30 November 2016)

4 December: The far-right Freedom party’s candidate, Norbert Hofer, loses the re-run of the Austrian presidential election, securing 48.3 per cent of the vote. Austria’s new president, Alexander Van der Bellen, supported by the Green party, won 51.7 percent of the vote. (AP, 4 December 2016)

4 December: A report reveals that far-right groups are manipulating and controlling Google and Facebook, whose search engines give prominence to websites promoting hate. (Observer, 4 December 2016)

National security

20 November: The NHS referred 420 staff and patients to the Prevent programme in the year to July 2016 through concerns about radicalisation, it is revealed. (BBC News, 20 November 2016)

30 November: the National Union of Students announces the launch of a helpline for students affected by the government’s Prevent strategy. (Huffington Post, 30 November 2016)

1 December: The Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation publishes a report: The operation of the Terrorism Acts in 2015, download it here.

6 December: A legal case begins in the High Court challenging the government Prevent policy which targets violent extremism. (BBC News, 6 December 2016)

Discrimination

30 November: The Slovakian government introduces a law aimed at making it harder for Islam to be officially recognised as a religion. The new law requires a religion to have at least 50,000 members to qualify for state subsidies. There are 2,000 Muslims in Slovakia, and no official mosques.(Reuters, 30 November 2016)

5 December: Louise Casey’s community cohesion report is condemned by Muslim groups for blaming Muslims for self-segregation. Download The Casey Review: A review into opportunity and integration, it here. (Guardian, 6 December 2016)

7 December: German Chancellor Angela Merkel endorses a partial ban on full-face veils, proposed by her party the CDU. (Guardian, 7 December 2016)

Media

29 November: The government approves the appointment of four white men to the board of Channel 4 and vetoes the appointment of the other candidate, a black woman, in what is seen as a controversial move. (Guardian, 29 November 2016)

6 December: It is announced that New Beacon Books, one of the oldest black bookshops in London (founded by John La Rose), is to close. (Bookseller, 6 December 2016)

Employment

25 November: A tribunal finds that a Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) worker was victimised and unfairly dismissed, but the STUC is cleared of racial discrimination. (Herald, 25 November 2016)

Sport

25 November: Chadderton FC is allowed to stay in its Sunday league after a special meeting votes on the club’s future following allegations of racial abuse and threatening behaviour. (Oldham Chronicle, 25 November 2016)

27 November: Police release footage of Chelsea fans chanting racist songs at Tottenham supporters on a tube train. (Daily Mirror, 28 November 2016)

Party politics

27 November: The Equality and Human Rights Commission writes to all UK political parties asking them to tone down their post-Brexit rhetoric. Read the letter here. (Guardian, 27 November 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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