Calendar of racism and resistance (27 February – 12 March 2015)

March 12, 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

Yarl's Wood3 March: Serco suspends two staff members from Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre after the showing of a Channel 4 film, made undercover, on the treatment of detainees which revealed what the shadow home secretary called the ‘state-sanctioned abuse of women’. (Channel 4 News, 3 March 2015)

4 March: About a dozen female detainees at Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre protest after the showing of the Channel 4 documentary uncovering abuse by staff. (BBC News, 4 March 2015)

4 March: Covert filming by a detainee on behalf of Corporate Watch in Harmondsworth immigration removal centre shows a member of staff admitting that conditions are ‘sh*t’ and that detainees are not allowed to show what goes on inside the centre because the government ‘don’t want the bad publicity that would entail’. (Independent4 March 2015)

9 March: Detainees inside Harmondsworth immigration removal centre launch a hunger strike after a weekend of protests against conditions and demand an end to ‘indefinite deprivation of liberty and human rights’. (Channel 4 News, 9 March 2015)

11 March: The UK is quietly ejecting Syrian refugees back to the EU countries they first arrived in, and is making it progressively harder for Syrians to enter the UK legally, lawyers say. (Guardian11 March 2015)

11 March: Italy calls for at least three migrant facilities to be set up outside of the EU in countries such as Niger, Tunisia and Sudan in order to assess the legitimacy of asylum claims by migrants hoping to cross the Mediterranean. (Algarve Daily News, 12 March 2015)

12 March: The Home Office withdraws proposals to expand Campsfield House immigration removal centres in Oxfordshire. (Oxford Mail, 12 March 2015)

Policing and criminal justice

27 February: The Home Affairs Committee publishes Gangs and youth crime. Download the report here. (pdf file, 369kb)

foreign national prisoner1 March: A report by INQUEST reveals that 65 children and young adults have died in detention during the last four years, an average of one a month. Download the report, Stolen Lives and Missed opportunities: The deaths of young adults and children in prisonhere.

3 March: An inquest into the death of Habib Ullah  returns a verdict of death by ‘misadventure’, but Thames Valley police says there will be further action against officers involved. (Slough & South Bucks Observer3 March 2015)

5 March: The Met. police issues an appeal for witnesses who may have seen two men close to where 50-year-old Londoner Kester David was found murdered in July 2010 in suspicious circumstances. The IPCC is currently investigating how the case was originally investigated and whether crucial evidence was missed. (ITV News, 5 March 2015)

6 March: Civil Rights Defenders, acting on behalf of eleven Roma in Sweden, have filed a lawsuit against the government on the basis that a police register of Roma maintained by the regional Skåne police in southern Sweden is a violation of human rights and constitutes ethnic discrimination. (The Local, 6 March 2015)

10 March: An inquest is told that 37-year-old Jubel Miah died three days after being stopped and searched by police in Camden who thought that he had swallowed drugs in June 2014. (Hampstead & Highgate Express, 10 March 2015)

10 March: The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman publishes a report Learning from PPO Investigations: Self-inflicted deaths of prisoners – 2013/14. Download the report here.

11 March: HM Inspector of Constabulary publishes new report The welfare of vulnerable people in police custody. Download the report here.

12 March: The Home Secretary announces a public inquiry to be headed by a senior judge, Lord Justice Pitchford, to examine claims that undercover police officers spied on family campaigns, including that of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence. (Guardian, 12 March 2015)

Extreme-right politics

27 February: The New British Union of Fascists have issued posters calling for ‘total Aryanism to end the threat of terrorism and anarchy’ and aims to turn the Scottish town Elgin into ‘Citidel 1’ – the UK’s first fascist town. (Daily Record27 February 2015) 

28 February: Britain First members travel to Margate in an ‘armoured land rover’, offering to protect Nigel Farage from harassment from the ‘leftwing rabble’. (Huffington Post, 1 March 2015) 

5 March: Markus Nierth, the honorary mayor of Tröglitz, in Saxony-Anhalt (Germany), resigns after neo-Nazis from the National Democratic Party are given permission to demonstrate in front of his home over his support for asylum seekers. (Guardian, 9 March 2015)

5 March: The CPS rules that there is ‘insufficient evidence’ to bring charges against Britain First, whose members entered various Bradford mosques in May 2014 to hand out Bibles and encourage people to convert. (Telegraph & Argus, 5 March 2015)

7 March: Four people are arrested at an EDL rally in Manchester. (Manchester Evening News7 March 2015)

Party politics

12 March: Ukip leader Nigel Farage says in an interview with former Equality and Human Rights Commission chair, Trevor Phillips, that race and other anti-discrimination legislation should be abolished, arguing that it is no longer needed in the United Kingdom. (Guardian12 March 2015)

Violence and harassment

1 March: A study by academics from seven universities finds that the government’s rhetoric on immigration is alienating migrant communities and causing ‘new forms of racism’ to emerge across the country. (Independent1 March 2015)

Alex Peguero Sosa

Alex Peguero Sosa

9 March: The trial has begun of 44-year-old Lee Dent charged with the murder of 17-year-old Alex Peguero Sosa at a taxi rank in Plymouth in July 2014. The court is told that Sosa was stabbed in the neck with a bottle after taking exception to comments about his hair. (Guardian, 9 March 2015)

11 March: John Kavanagh, 31, is given an 11-year prison sentence for a ‘chilling’ racist attack on a black woman in Liverpool last year, during which he ‘slashed’ her face with a knife. (BBC News, 11 March 2015)

Government policy

25 February: The Turkish-Islamic Union of Austria says that it will challenge in the constitutional court the government’s  discriminatory ‘Law on Islam’ which bans foreign funding for Islamic organisations and requires any group claiming to represent Austrian Muslims to use a standardised German translation of the Koran. (Reuters, 25 February 2015)

Employment

5 March: An inquest hears how Slovakian migrant worker, Rene Tkacik, 44, was crushed to death by wet concrete as he worked on the Crossrail project in London. The inquest recorded a verdict of accidental death but also found that other factors contributed to his death including the ‘lack of clarity about the exclusion zone’ and unclear working guidelines. (Evening Standard, 11 March 2015)

10 March: According to figures from the Labour Party, the number of people from minority ethnic backgrounds, aged 16-24, that have been unemployed for more than a year has risen by 50 per cent since the Coalition came to power. (Guardian, 10 March 2015)

Media

7 March: The Romanian Embassy in London expresses ‘ bitterness and disappointment’ to the producers of a Channel Four programme, The Romanians Are Coming, accusing the makers of reinforcing negative stereotypes. (Guardian, 7 March 2015)

Sport

10 March: Offers of support flood in for Jimmy Thorunka, an athlete from Sierra Leone who was arrested by police after living on the street since the 2014 Commonwealth Games, after his plight was highlighted in the Guardian. (Guardian, 10 March 2015)

Education

1 March: The Communities Empowerment Network publishes a new report: Mapping the Exclusion Process: Inequality, Justice and the Business of Education. Download it here (pdf file, 561kb)

3 March: The All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees & the All Party Parliamentary Group on Migration publish The Report of the Inquiry into the Use of Immigration Detention in the United Kingdom. Download it here (pdf file, 482kb)

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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