Calendar of racism and resistance (26 January – 9 February 2017)

February 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 immigration

migration-observatoryJanuary 2016: The Migration Observatory publishes a report: Young People and Migration in the UK: An Overview. View and download it here.

27 January: The Belgian interior minister announces that Belgium, France and the Netherlands are to draw up passenger lists and introduce passport checks on Thalys and Eurostar rail services. (AP, 27 January 2017)

28 January: Noursan, a two-month-old baby girl with cystic fibrosis and respiratory problems, dies on the way to an Athens hospital. Her Syrian-Kurdish parents had constantly complained about the lack of oxygen support at the Ritsona camp where they were accommodated, and the failure to move them closer to the hospital. (Enough is Enough, 30 January 2017)

28 January: A 46-year-old Syrian man dies in the Moria refugee camp in Lesbos, possibly from inhaling toxic fumes from heaters. (IB Times, 31 January 2017)

statewatch30 January: Statewatch publishes a report by Yasha Maccanico: Eighth report on relocation and resettlement, download it here (pdf file, 452kb). 

30 January: A man believed to be 20-years-old and from Pakistan is found dead in a tent in the Moria camp, Lesbos, the third migrant to die there within a week. (Reuters, 30 January 2017)

31 January: Housing for asylum seekers provided by G4S, Serco and Clearsprings Ready Homes is condemned by the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee. Download the report here. (BBC News, 31 January 2017)

2 February: Italy signs a cooperation agreement with Libya to stop migration flows across the central Mediterranean and for ‘humanitarian repatriation’ of migrants to Libya in exchange for cash, training and equipment. (DW.com, 2 February 2017)

2 February: The Red Cross reveals that it provided food parcels and clothing to thousands of destitute refugees and asylum seekers in 2016, and the numbers needing help were ten per cent higher than the previous year. (Guardian, 2 February 2017)

3 February: The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration publishes: Inspection of Country of Origin Information November 2016 Report, download it here (pdf file, 2mb).

3 February: It is reported that the notorious Dungavel immigration removal centre is to stay open despite proposals to close it down, after plans to build a short-term holding centre near Glasgow airport were rejected. (Evening Times, 3 February 2017)

3 February: Following revelations in a German embassy report that refugees are being tortured and executed in Libyan ‘concentration camps’, EU leaders at the Malta summit are warned against stranding refugees in Libya, as they contemplate a deal to stop the refugee boats. (Guardian, 31 January 2017, Independent, 3 February 2017)

hm-border-force_500x500_thumb3 February: The Anti-slavery commissioner and chief inspector of borders condemn failures of Border Force officers to find and protect thousands of slavery victims. Read their report here. (Guardian, 3 February 2017)

3 February: A declaration published on 12 January is signed by over 350 French migrant support groups, trade unions and human rights groups, in a campaign against the criminalisation of solidarity. Délinquants Solidaires is also organising rallies in Lille, Paris and Nice next week. (La Cimade, 3 February 2017)

3 February: Theresa May announces funding for the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Asia and Latin America, although no putative host countries have agreed yet. (Guardian, 3 February 2017)

4 February: Protest marches take place in Lesbos and outside the Greek migration ministry in Athens in memory of the three refugees who died in one week in freezing conditions in Lesbos. The protesters call for the closure of the ‘death camps’. (Press TV, 4 February 2017)

5 February: Sixteen-year-old Afghan asylum-seeker Jawad Nezami commits suicide in Sweden, the second such suicide in a month. (Facebook page of Afghanistan Migrants Advice Support Organisation)

8 February: The Hungarian government announces a plan to detain all asylum seekers for the duration of their claims, which would take ‘many months’ to process, in holding centres which would not be accessible to the media. Conditions in Hungary’s refugee camps have been severely criticised by human rights groups. (Guardian, 8 February 2017)

8 February: The Home Office announces that it will stop receiving children displaced through Europe’s migrant crisis as part of the Dubs amendment at the end of March. It revealed that a total of 350 children had arrived under the scheme since last year. (BBC News, 8 February 2017)

Trump and Europe

29 January: Extreme-right leaders across Europe welcome Donald Trump’s travel ban. Geert Wilders says ‘No more immigration from any Islamic country is exactly what we need’, while the Northern League’s Matteo Salvini declares that ‘What Trump’s doing on the other side of the ocean, I’d like it done also here’. (Dawn, 29 January 2017)

29 January: Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage welcomes Donald Trump’s executive order banning the entry of citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, and says he would like to see ‘extreme vetting’ in the UK. (Mirror, 29 January 2017)

30 January: A petition to stop Donald Trump’s state visit to Britain in the wake of his executive order imposing a travel ban on people from seven Muslim countries attracts over 1,250,000 signatures. (Guardian, 30 January 2017)

30 January: Nearly 60,000 Danish dual nationals are affected by Donald Trump’s travel ban, according to the Danish foreign ministry, which advises them against travel to the US. (The Local, 30 January 2017)

30 January: The French foreign affairs ministry advises French dual nationals affected by Trump’s travel ban to cancel trips to the US until the rules are clarified, as FN mayor Steeve Briois, a leading member of Marine Le Pen’s campaign team, says France should emulate the ban. (The Local, 30 January 2017)

31 January: Protests take place in dozens of towns and cities across the UK against Trump’s Muslim travel ban, as prime minister Theresa May is warned that her failure to condemn the ban will alienate Muslims. (Guardian, 31 January 2017)

1 February: Germany revises its travel advice to more than 130,000 German dual nationals with citizenship of one of the seven affected states, after the US says that travellers will be evaluated based on the passport they present rather than their dual national status. The EU’s migration commissioner confirms that this applies to all EU nationals with dual nationality. The Green Party proposes a ban on Trump’s entry to Germany. (The Local, 1 February 2017)

3 February: Forty-six leading Europeans including former prime ministers condemn Trump’s executive order on immigration and call on the EU summit in Malta to defend basic human rights including the right of refuge. (Guardian, 3 February 2017)

3 February: Norway’s former prime minister Kjell Magne Bondevik criticises the US travel ban as ‘provocative’ after being detained and questioned at Washington airport over an Iranian visa in his diplomatic passport. (Guardian, 3 February 2017)

3 February: The FN-backed mayor of Béziers, Robert Ménard, hosts a celebration of Donald Trump. Guest speakers are Frank Mitchell, a Tennessee-based radical right Christian historian and Rosine Ghawj, administrator of Donald Trump’s En Français Facebook and a member of Working Mothers for Donald Trump. (The Local, 3 February 2017)

4 February: Thousands join protests against Trump’s anti-Muslim order in London and across the UK, organised by Muslim, anti-racist and peace groups. (Guardian, 4 February 2017)

7 February: House of Commons speaker John Bercow says the migrant ban has made him ‘even more unwilling’ to invite Trump to address MPs, in the light of parliament’s ‘opposition to racism and sexism and support for equality before the law’. (Guardian, 7 February 2017)

8 February: The White House’s release of information on 78 ‘underreported terrorist attacks’ to support Trump’s claim that the media is biased in its reporting of terrorism, is rebutted across Europe. In the UK, the mother of murdered backpacker Mia Ayliffe-Chung writes an open letter to Trump clarifying that her daughter’s killing was not terrorist, while elsewhere in Europe, the list is ridiculed for its inclusion of the terrorist massacres in Paris and Berlin. (The Local, Guardian, 8 February 2017)

Violence and harassment

Arkadiusz Jóźwik

Arkadiusz Jóźwik

27 January: A 15-year-old boy appears in court and pleads not guilty to the manslaughter of 40-year-old Arkadiusz Jóźwik, a Polish man murdered in Harlow in August 2016. (Guardian, 27 January 2017)

27 January: Christopher Cole, 32, is jailed for ten years after pushing a Polish man on to Tube tracks at Bond Street station in June 2016. Cole, who was angry over the behaviour of Russian fans in Euro 2016, mistook his victim for a Russian. (Guardian, 27 January 2017) 

30 January: Nathan Waterman, 28, pleads guilty to GBH with intent after an unprovoked attack on a Kurdish man on a ferry, punching him on the jaw and pushing him over a railing on to a lower deck. He is jailed for four and a half years. (Hull Daily Mail, 31 January 2017)

1 February: Police appeal for information following a racially motivated attack on 28 January at Worthing train station, on a man who intervened to stop a group of girls from being attacked. (Sussex Argus, 1 February 2017)

2 February: The number of antisemitic incidents in the UK rose by more than a third to record levels in 2016, according to data released by the Community Security Trust. Read its report here. (Guardian, 2 February 2017)

6 February: Peter Scotter admits racially aggravated harassment and assault after racially abusing, beating and pulling the niqab off a woman in a Sunderland shopping centre in the days after the Brexit vote. (Guardian, 6 February 2017)

6 February: David Gallacher, 37, is charged with actual bodily harm, racially or religiously aggravated assault, assaulting police officers and common assault after an attack on a Somali woman who lost her unborn twin babies in Milton Keynes in August 2016. (Metro, 6 February 2017).

9 February: A Conservative official is suspended from the party after retweeting a message aimed at Labour MP Diane Abbott that portrayed her as an ape wearing lipstick who should be in a zoo. Alan Permain, deputy chairman of the South Ribble Conservative Association and a parish councillor, added a comment to the post reading: ‘Nice lips kid. But a shade too much rouge’. (Guardian, 9 February 2017)

Extreme right

27 January: A 17-year-old Bradford boy, described as a white supremacist and a member of the now proscribed National Action, is found guilty of making a pipe bomb, but cleared of another charge of preparing a terrorist act. (Guardian, 27 January 2017)

31 January: The Guardian reports that Adam Walker, leader of the BNP, has been working as a children’s sports coach, despite being banned from working with children for life. (Guardian, 31 January 2017)

30 January: Six Swiss soldiers, photographed making a Nazi salute in front of a swastika drawn in the snow, are detained pending disciplinary action. (The Local, 30 January 2017)

1 February: Seventeen years after the Düsseldorf train station bombing, which left ten people injured, the majority Jewish, a 50-year-old known neo-nazi is arrested. A former German soldier, he ran a military shop near the scene of the crime. (DW, 1 February 2017)

2 February: Die Zeit reports that a far-right website illegally selling pistols, shotguns and semi-automatic weapons, delivered from Hungary to Germany, has been taken down. The website encouraged people to buy weapons to scare immigrants. One gun was sold as ‘Migrant deterrent DP120’. (The Local, 3 February 2017)

4 February: Anti-fascists blockade a meeting being held by the far-right London Forum at the Kensington Holiday Inn, London. (Independent, 6 February 2017)

6 February: It is revealed that the government has hired a PR/ad agency, M&C Saatchi, to challenge online far-right extremism. (Guardian, 6 February 2017)

6 February: Marine Le Pen launches her presidential bid with a list of the FN’s 144 ‘commitments’ to the French people, including a promise to hold a referendum on a ‘French first’ policy in social housing and employment. (Guardian, 6 February 2017)

National security

17 January: An Amnesty International report which examines the expansion of security measures across 14 EU states in the last two years, warns that Europe is creating a perpetual state of emergency, with powers ‘intended to be exceptional … appearing more and more as permanent features of national law’. Download the report here

1 February: Thomson Reuters pays £10,000 damages and legal costs and apologies for naming Finsbury Park mosque as terrorist on its World-Check database, used by banks and financial service organisations, years after the mosque was reorganised. (Guardian, 2 February 2017)

Amnesty

Policing and criminal justice

26 January: The Independent Police Complaints Commission announces a delay into the investigation into the death of Mzee Mohammed in Liverpool, who died after being restrained by police officers, after the lead investigator is changed. (Liverpool Echo, 26 January 2017)

31 January: An unnamed police officer is sacked from Thames Valley Police for making racist comments. He was reported by another officer while on a training course at the College of Policing in Ryton. (Bucks Free Press, 31 January 2017)

1 February: A Catholic man wins a Supreme Court ruling that by allowing a loyalist demonstration outside his home in Short Strand, Belfast, the Police Service of Northern Ireland breached his rights to privacy and family life. (Guardian, 1 February 2017)

3 February: Police in four forces are still breaking rules on stop and search two years after they agreed to implement reforms, according to a report by HM Inspector of Constabulary. Read the report here. (Guardian, 3 February 2017)

3 February: Polish police raid the offices of the Monitoring Centre on Racist and Xenophobic Behaviour and the homes of some board members, seizing computers. Director Rafal Gawel believes the raids are linked to its investigation into ties between local officials, prosecutors and right-wing groups in Bialystok, eastern Poland. (Associated Press, 3 February 2017)

6 February: An inquest, scheduled to last ten weeks, begins at South London Coroners’ Court into the death of Olaseni Lewis, who died in August 2010 after being restrained by 11 police officers at Bethlem Royal hospital. (News Shopper, 6 February 2017)

6 February: Police in North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany, write to refugee centre administrators telling them that they should keep refugees away from February’s Cologne carnival, to stop ‘undesired interactions’ with the public. Police also tell staff to inform residents that they should ‘undergo police searches without complaint’. (The Local, 6 February 2017)

6 February: Four police officers are suspended, with one charged with the anal rape with a baton of a 22-year-old African man during an identity check in the north-east Paris suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois. Two nights of rioting follow the incident which is caught on police surveillance cameras. (Guardian, 6 February 2017)

8 February: Shafiq Mohammed, an anti-racist activist charged with racially aggravated behaviour at a protest by the Scottish Defence League in Ayshire in November 2015, receives an absolute discharge . (BBC News, 8 February 2017)

Employment

31 January: The Ministry of Justice begins a consultation on: ‘The introduction of fees in the Employment Tribunals’, view details about the consultation, which closes on 13 March 2017, here.

inside-out6 February: In an investigation into the job market in London by BBC’s Inside Out London, which sends out CVs with Muslim- and English-sounding names, the candidate with the English-sounding name was offered three times more interviews. (BBC News, 6 February 2017)

7 February: The Fire Service is criticised for its lack of diversity after new figures show that its workforce is 96 per cent white and 95 per cent male. (Guardian, 7 February 2017)

Education

27 January: A private member’s bill introduced by Lucy Allen MP which seeks to remove primary schools and nurseries from the ambit of the Prevent duty begins its second reading. (Parliament, 27 January 2017)

27 January: A local education authority is found to have racially discriminated against two brothers of mixed Indian and Middle Eastern heritage after they were reported to Bedfordshire police and questioned by uniformed police officers after teachers thought they might be at risk of radicalisation after one of the boys reported being given a toy gun as a gift. (Guardian, 27 January 2017)

31 January: The president of the Students’ Union at Strathclyde University, Malaysian-born Raj Jeyaraj, reports that he has been stalked and received racist death threats and hate mail after taking up the role. (Evening Times, 31 January 2017)

6 February: The government rejects recommendations by the youth select committee on tackling racism and religious discrimination in schools. (Children & Young People Now, 6 February 2017)

8 February: Bristol University establishes a task force to tackle racism, with the local mayor, after allegations of racism at the university. (BBC News, 8 February 2017)

Health

31 January: The public accounts committee warns the Department of Health to be cautious before extending the pilot scheme which requires patients to show two forms of identification before receiving treatment, warning that those in need may stay away from hospitals and miss out on care. (Guardian, 1 February 2017)

1 February: The former head of NHS Digital claims that the Home Office repeatedly pressurised him to hand over confidential patient data in order to trace immigration offenders while Theresa May was home secretary, despite concerns about the legal basis for doing so and his worries that it would deter patients from seeking medical help. (Guardian, 1 February 2017)

5 February: The Department of Health publishes the outcome to a consultation on: Overseas visitors and migrants: extending charges for NHS services, view it here.

BMA_Primary_Lockup_DarkBlue_CMYK6 February: The British Medical Association warns of possible ‘chaos and confusion’ following health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s announcement that from April, hospitals will be required by law to check whether patients are eligible for NHS treatment, and patients from abroad will be billed in advance for all non-urgent care. (Guardian, 6 February 2017)

Discrimination

6 February: In Vienna, at least 2,000 people demonstrate against the Austrian government’s plan to ban women wearing full-face-veils in public. (The Local, 6 February 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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