Calendar of racism and resistance (6 – 19 July 2018)

July 19, 2018 — 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

July: Sentina D’Artanyan-Bristol, the mother of Dexter Bristol, ‘a child of the Windrush generation, who died this March, following a year of being rejected as a British citizen’ is raising funds to cover the legal costs of an inquest into his death. You can support her CrowdJustice appeal here.

July: The EU Ombudsman upholds the complaint of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights that EU asylum officials’ admissibility procedures for asylum claimants in Greek hotspots were unfair, but takes no action. (ECCHR, July 2018)

2 July: The Law Society condemns delays of up to two years in the Home Office handling of children’s asylum claims and calls for a dedicated and transparent asylum process for minors. (Law Society, 2 July 2018)

2 July: Corporate Watch publishes an updated version of its Charter flights factsheet, view it here

5 July: The European Parliament passes a resolution calling on EU member states to ensure that solidarity actions are not criminalised, and on the EU Commission to issue guidelines on what forms of ‘facilitation’ should not be criminalised, to allow NGOs to continue their work. (European Parliament, 5 July 2018)

Independent story on Mustafa-Dawood

Independent story on Mustafa-Dawood

5 July: The Independent Office for Police Conduct launches an investigation into the death of 23-year-old Sudanese migrant Mustafa Dawood, who fell from a factory roof on 30 June following an immigration raid on an adjacent car wash in Newport, Wales. Read the IOPC statement here. (BBC News, 5 July 2018) 

8 July: It is revealed that the Home Office has refused to extend the visas of children of a Grenfell Tower victim to enable them to stay in the UK during the public inquiry, in which they have core participant status. (Guardian, 9 July 2018)

(Credit: Daniel Renwick)

(Credit: Daniel Renwick)

9 July: JUSTICE issues a critical report on the immigration and asylum appeals system. Download the report here. (EIN, 9 July 2018)

9 July: The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announces that it will open a ‘transit centre’ in Tripoli to process 1,000 asylum seekers, and might open similar centres in Chad, Burkina Faso and Sudan. The move follows the EU’s stated policy of ‘offshore processing’ of asylum claims in Africa. (ECRE Press Review, 10 July 2018)

9 July: Refugee Action reports that destitute asylum seekers are being forced to wait months for asylum support and housing. (Guardian, 10 July 2018)

10 July: The Red Cross calls for reforms, including a 28-day time limit, to ‘damaging’ immigration detention. (Independent, 10 July 2018) 

10 July: After announcing a ban on all international rescue ships, the Italian interior ministry bans a private Italian ship carrying sixty-six rescued migrants from docking at any Italian port. (The Local, 10 July 2018) 

10 July: NGOs working in the hotspot in Lampedusa, Italy, say the rights of asylum seekers are being routinely violated and Tunisians in particular are regularly subject to forced repatriation. (InfoMigrants, 10 July 2018)

10 July: Presenting his ‘migration masterplan’, the German interior minister Horst Seehofer jokes that sixty-nine Afghan migrants were deported on his 69th birthday. (Deutsche Welle, 10 July 2018) 

10 July: The Aire Centre begins an appeal against the lawfulness of Operation Nexus, which deports ‘high-harm’ foreign nationals even if they have not committed any crimes in the UK. (Morning Star, 10 July 2018)

11 July: Calls grow for Germany’s interior minister to resign after one of the 69 Afghans deported as part of a tougher line on migration is reported to have killed himself on his return to Afghanistan. He was a 23-year-old who had lived in Germany for eight years when his asylum claim was rejected. (Guardian, 12 July 2018)

11 July: Thirty migrant and refugee support organisations and rights groups, including the Refugee Council, Liberty and JCWI, sign an open letter calling on the home secretary to remedy the ‘culture of disbelief’ towards migrants and asylum seekers. (Freedom from Torture, 11 July 2018)

11 July: An Indian man is awarded £50,000 damages for being detained under immigration powers for three months and separated from his 3-year-old daughter, who was placed in care and nearly adopted. (Channel 4 News, 11 July 2018, Independent, 12 July 2018)

12 July: Peter Clarke, the Chief Inspector of Prisons, writes to the Home Office over its ‘unacceptable’ failure to respond to any of his reports on immigration detention centres. (Free Movement, 12 July 2018)

13 July: The High Court rules that a 29-year-old Sri Lankan refugee from torture is entitled to ‘substantial damages’ for being unlawfully detained by the Home Office. (Morning Star, 13 July 2018)

15 July: A judge at the Court of Session in Edinburgh criticises the unlawful deportation of 27-year-old Solomon Getnet Yitbarek to Ethiopia whilst he had an active asylum claim, and orders the Home Office to issue travel documents and tickets to enable his return. (Herald, 15 July 2018)

18 July: The Italian government refuses to accept the bodies of a woman and a young boy retrieved by Proactiva Open Arms from a shipwreck in the central Mediterranean. The NGO sails on to Spain, declining an offer from Italy to receive the sole survivor, saying her wellbeing could not be guaranteed. (Reuters, 18 July 2018)

18 July: A Freedom of Information request reveals that the Home Office has illegally nullified the citizenship of hundreds of British citizens since 2013. (Free Movement, 18 July 2018)

Policing and criminal justice

3 July: In Nantes, France, young people clash with police after Aboubakar Fofana, a 22-year-old black man, is shot dead by the police. A demonstration of around 1,000 people calls for Justice for Abou. (Guardian, 6 July 2018)

5 July: The Ministry of Justice publishes a report: The effectiveness of rehabilitative services for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people: a rapid evidence assessment, download it here.

5 July: Victims of undercover policing launch a legal challenge to the refusal to appoint a diverse panel to sit with Judge Mitting, to bring an understanding of issues of racism, class and misogyny to the inquiry. (Guardian, 6 July 2018)

6 July: Portuguese man Andre Moura, 30, dies in hospital after being arrested following a domestic disturbance, and taken to Ashton-under-Lyne police station where he was found to be unresponsive. A video on social media allegedly shows Andre Moura being kneed in the head repeatedly by an officer. Ten police officers are placed on restricted duties. (Manchester Evening News, 12 July 2018)

8 July: The police officer who shot dead Aboubaker Fofana in France, sparking several nights of rioting, is charged with manslaughter and granted conditional release. He initially claimed self-defence but now says it was an accident. (The Local, 8 July 2018)

9 July: South Yorkshire Police begins an internal investigation into allegations of racism by 75-year-old Joy Sulph-Johnson, who says she has been forced to move from her home after police failed to properly investigate attacks on her and her property. (Yorkshire Post, 9 July 2018)

11 July: The Ministry of Justice publishes: HM Chief Inspector of Prisons annual report: 2017 to 2018, download it here

Mikey Powell

11 July: The family of Mikey Powell, 38, who died in the custody of West Midlands police in 2013 after being hit by a police car, sprayed with CS spray and restrained, is awarded £300,000 compensation. (Birmingham Mail, 11 July 2018)

11 July: A West Midlands police officer receives a final written warning at a misconduct hearing after being filmed searching a property in Coventry in August 2017 and asking a black man, ‘you going to go Black Lives Matter on us are you? … You would be the first one I’d shoot if I had a gun’. (Coventry Observer, 11 July 2018)

17 July: Research reveals that young black men in London are disproportionately prosecuted for breach of dispersal orders under controversial powers given to councils and police in 2014. (Guardian, 18 July 2018)

19 July: The Ministry of Justice is conducting a review into the provision of legal aid and is asking bereaved families and their lawyers to share their experience of inquests. View further details here.

19 July: Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary finds large-scale failings in the way hate crimes are dealt with, despite the issue supposedly being a priority. Download the report, Understanding the difference: The initial police response to hate crime, here. (Guardian, 19 July 2018)

Anti-fascism and the far Right 

10 July: Middle East Monitor reveals that a pro-Israel think-tank, Middle East Forum, has claimed that it is funding the legal expenses of ex-leader of the EDL Tommy Robinson, aka Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, as well as funding recent ‘Free Tommy Robinson’ protests. (Middle East Monitor, 10 July 2018)

11 July: After a five-year trial, Beate Zschäpe, a former member of the National Socialist Underground (NSU), whose members murdered ten people between 2000-2007, is sentenced to life imprisonment. In other verdicts described as ‘unbelievably soft’, Ralf Wohlleben is found guilty of supplying the gun for the murders and sentenced to ten years; André Eminger, who wore the logo of a far-right heavy metal band in court, is sentenced to thirty months for assisting the cell in hiring apartments and vehicles. (Guardian, 11 July 2018)

14 July: Councillor Jolene Bunting, who a year ago attended a Britain First rally and applauded its leader, joins a ‘UK freedom rally’ in Belfast city centre attended by around 150, and opposed by twice that number. (Belfast News Letter, 15 July 2018)

14 July: The Guardian reveals that a representative of US President Donald Trump raised the case of Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, who has been jailed for contempt of court, with Britain’s ambassador to the US. And twelve people are arrested after thousands of protesters and counter-protesters clash with police at a ‘Free Tommy Robinson’ rally in support of Donald Trump and jailed far-right activist Robinson in central London. (Guardian, 14 July 2018)

15 July: Steve Bannon, alt-right activist and former-advisor to Trump, voices his support in an interview with LBC radio, allegedly claiming off-air that ‘Tommy Robinson is the backbone of this country’. (Guardian15 July 2018)

16 July: Jack Coulson, 19, who was previously given a rehabilitation order after being found guilty of making a pipe bomb, appears in court again and admits possession of a document for terrorist purposes. (Yorkshire Evening Post, 16 July 2018)

18 July: Christopher Lythgoe, 32, is jailed for eight years and Matthew Hankinson, 24, is jailed for six years in connection with the activities of banned far-right group National Action. They were on trial with four others including Jack Renshaw, who admitted preparing an act of terrorism (he planned to murder Rosie Cooper MP) and was convicted earlier this year on two counts of stirring up racial hatred in speeches he made in 2016. (BBC News, 18 July 2018)

18 July: Tommy Robinson, aka Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, remains in prison as the Court of Appeal considers his appeal against his ‘excessive’ thirteen-month sentence for contempt of court. (Guardian, 18 July 2018)

Education 

4 July: It is announced that UTC@Harbourside, a university technical college in Newhaven, is to close in August 2018 after allegations of racist bullying and poor leadership. (The Argus, 4 July 2018)

9 July: Ofsted chief Amanda Spielman accuses minority groups ‘with a sense of religious or cultural entitlement’ of attempting to exert undue influence on school policy on the wearing of the hijab. (Guardian, 10 July 2018)

12 July: Lancashire county council bans meat from animals that have not been stunned from council-supplied school meals, prompting accusations of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. (Guardian, 12 July 2018)

Media and culture

8 July: German former central banker Thilo Sarrazin launches a legal action against publisher Random House over its decision not to release his book, Hostile takeover: how Islam hampers progress and threatens society, which will now be published by FinanzBuch Verlag. (Guardian, 8 July 2018)

17 July: A Channel 4 Dispatches documentary reveals that Facebook moderators ‘protect’ far-right activists and pages, because they generate revenue. (Guardian, 17 July 2018)

Electoral politics

6 July: Councillor Ian Hibberd, a former Tory mayor of Romsey, is expelled for making a racist comment about a Sikh Lib Dem parish councillor. (Daily Echo, 6 July 2018)

13 July: Tory MP Michael Fabricant apologises for sharing a racist tweet about London mayor Sadiq Khan. The MP is later interviewed on Channel 4 News with what looks like an apartheid-era South African flag on his mantelpiece. (The Canary, 13 July 2018)

Discrimination

12 July: The Hungarian Scout Association refuses to allow a group of children from Sajókaz to participate in a scout troop session, on the grounds that three of the group are Roma and so do not fit into the Hungarian Christian scouts due to their origin and faith. (Daily News Hungary, 12 July 2018)

Violence and harassment: attacks on people 

4 July: A 19-year-old Muslim woman is brutally assaulted in Anderlues, near Brussels, by two men who take off her headscarf and tear open her shirt, exposing her upper body. They call her a ‘filthy Arab’ and use a sharp object to cut a cross into her body. (TRT World, 4 July 2018)

9 July: Police appeal for information after a 28-year-old man was racially abused and glassed outside a bar on Queen Street, Oxford. (Oxford Mail, 9 July 2018)

10 July: A 16-year-old Syrian asylum seeker who had just arrived in Lesbos, Greece with his family, is hospitalised after being shot in the head and legs by a farmer in Moria. (Ekathemerini, 10 July 2018)

15 July: Police appeal for information after a teenage girl is hospitalised following a racially aggravated attack by a gang of twenty youths in Witham, Essex. (EssexLive, 15 July 2018) 

Violence and harassment: abuse

7 July: A Polish man is racially abused on a bus between Poole and Bournemouth in an unprovoked attack which is filmed and posted on social media. (Bournemouth Echo, 13 July 2018)

Violence and harassment: charges

9 July: Two 14-year-old boys are charged over an alleged racist attack on 26 May that left a 17-year-old boy with ‘serious facial injuries’ in Gorbals, Glasgow. (GlasgowLive, 9 July 2018)

Violence and harassment: convictions

4 July: Michelle Field, 46, who spat at a five-month-old baby and called the child and her grandmother ‘dirty, stinking Gypsies’ in Pembroke Dock, Pembrokeshire in July 2017, is found guilty of racially aggravated common assault and given a suspended sentence and ordered to pay the child compensation. (BBC News, 4 July 2018)

13 July: Four people are found guilty of a racially motivated arson attack on a Roma camp during a protest in Turin in 2011, which took place after a young Italian girl fabricated a story that she had been raped by Gypsies. (ANSA, 13 July 2018)

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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