Calendar of racism and resistance (9 – 23 March 2017)

March 23, 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 migration

March: Women for Refugee Women publish a report: The Way Ahead: An asylum system without detention, download it here (pdf file, 3mb).

miclu-391x125-logo_final2 March: The Migrant and Refugee Children’s Legal Unit (MiCLU) publish a report: Precarious Citizenship: Unseen, Settled and Alone – The Legal and Protection Needs of ‘Undocumented’ Children and Young People in England and Wales, download it here (pdf file, 14.1mb).

2 March: A report from the Council of Europe highlights the poor conditions of migrant camps in Italy, finding unaccompanied child migrants particularly vulnerable. (The Local, 9 March 2017)

7 March: A Zimbabwean boxer, Bhekitshe Moyo, who was facing deportation, is found hanged in a south London park. (Evening Standard, 16 March 2017)

9 March: The Home Office loses its appeal court challenge against a ruling that an unaccompanied asylum seeking minor was entitled to damages for unlawful detention after his claim to be under 18 was not believed. (Guardian, 9 March 2017)

9 March: New Home Office guidance puts refugee protection on a temporary basis, requiring officials considering applications for settlement from refugees who have been in the UK for five years to see whether it is safe to return them to their country of origin. (Guardian, 9 March 2017)

9 March: It is revealed that local authorities have pledged a total of 21,650 homes for Syrian refugees, more than the 20,000 places the government pledged in 2015, with some councils saying more accommodation can be found as the need arises. (Guardian, 9 March 2017)

10 March: A Syrian refugee family is forced to move out of Belene, northern Bulgaria, after a municipal councillor from the Democrats and Patriots Coalition, Krasimir Todorov, organises a protest against their arrival in the town. The Catholic priest who offered them a home, who has received death threats, leaves Bulgaria. (Balkan Insight, 10 March 2017)

icai_logo10 March: A new report by the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) finds that UK aid to Libya, which funds refugee camps, risks causing unintended harm to migrants and could prevent them from reaching a place of safety. Download the report, The UK’s aid response to irregular migration in the central Mediterranean: A rapid review here. (Guardian, 10 March 2017)

10 March: A report on G4S-run Brook House immigration removal centre near Gatwick finds that four men have been detained for removal for over two years at the ‘stark and impersonal’ prison-like centre. Download the report here. (ITV, 10 March 2017)

11 March: Campaigners protest outside Morton Hall immigration removal centre in Lincolnshire following two deaths within six weeks there. (ITV, 11 March 2017)

tact-fostering-adoption12 March: A leading charity, TACT Care, accuses the Home Office of failing to take up offers for care agencies to foster up to 100 child refugees a week to supplement the capacity of councils. (Observer, 12 March 2017)

12 March: Britain is using the Dublin regulation to return asylum seekers to EU countries where they are beaten, abused, held in cages and even waterboarded, according to lawyers and rights groups, who say many asylum seekers no longer report to the Home Office for fear of being detained or deported. (Guardian, 12 March 2017)

14 March: Charities criticise new Home Office criteria on the last children to be allowed to enter the UK under the Dubs scheme. Only children who arrived in Europe before 20 March 2016 are eligible for the scheme, which closes in April. (Guardian, 14 March 2017)

14 March: The European Court of Human Rights rules that Hungary’s detention of asylum seekers and their return to Serbia as a ‘safe third country’ violates their rights to liberty and provides no effective legal guarantees to protect them from the risk of ‘chain refoulement’ through Serbia. (EU Observer, 15 March 2017)

15 March: The Home Office publishes: Operation Nexus – High Harm, guidance that sets out the Immigration Enforcement definition of high harm cases and how Nexus High Harm teams function, download it here.

16 March: The government announces that support for asylum seekers will remain at £36.95 per week – below subsistence level. Read the Home Office report: Review of cash allowance paid to asylum seekers: 2016 here. (Independent, 19 March 2017)

16 March: Controversy over the Danish policy of using money allocated for international aid to pay some of the costs of the asylum system continues after it emerges that the Ministry of Finance is keeping 400 million kroner so diverted, but not spent due to an over-estimate of the number of asylum seekers coming to Denmark in 2016. (The Local, 16 March 2017)

21 March: An inspection of Morton Hall immigration removal centre finds that there has been a ‘significant decline in safety’ at the centre and that too many people are held for long periods. Download the Report on an unannounced inspection of Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre, 21 – 25 November 2016 here.

national-youth-advisory-service21 March: The National Youth Advocacy Service (NAYS) in Cardiff says that asylum seeking children are having to wait weeks for assessments, with some placed in adult accommodation while they wait. (Lincolnshire Live, 21 March 2017)

21 March: Newcastle City Council announces that private companies housing asylum seekers have been banned from forcing strangers to share rooms. (Chronicle Live, 21 March 2017)

21 March: The Shetland Solidarity with Refugees group finds that its collection point for goods and clothing, donated to help people caught up in the refugee crisis, has been broken into and ransacked. (Shetland Times, 22 March 2017)

21 March: Following revelations in 2014 of abuse of refugees in accommodation run by European Homecare in Burbach, in the German region of Rheinland-Palatinate, the public prosecutor charges 38 people, mostly current employees of the company, with ill-treatment. Refugees were regularly imprisoned in a special ‘problem room’ in the former barracks. Two employees of the district government are charged with culpable failure to protect the refugees. (WDR, 21 March 2017)

21 March: Fatima, a 62-year-old Syrian refugee from Aleppo with multiple chronic illnesses, dies in Athens, having failed in her bid to be reunited with her daughter and grand-daughter in Germany. Human Rights Watch says that the Greek authorities misinformed her of her rights under the EU relocation plan and that many other older asylum seekers are being treated in a similar fashion. (Human Rights Watch, 21 March 2017)

Violence and harassment

10 March: New figures show that 95 per cent of all hate crimes recorded on Jersey are racially motivated. (ITV, 10 March 2017)

13 March: A 64-year-old man who racially abused and harassed his neighbours on a Hull street for over twenty years is given a restraining order after local community policing teams finally gather enough evidence to prosecute the man. (Hull Daily Mail, 13 March 2017)

14 March: After he fails to appear in court, magistrates issue a warrant for the arrest of 37-year-old David Gallacher who is accused of kicking a woman, causing her to lose her unborn twins in a racially motivated attack last year in Milton Keynes. (Evening Standard, 15 March 2017)

15 March: Kieran Johnson, 19, pleads guilty to assault charges after launching an attack with a 17-year-old female friend on a group of students in Royston; he called the group ‘monkeys’ and flying-kicked one person before smashing the windscreen of car they took shelter in. Sentencing was adjourned. (Glasgow Live, 15 March 2017)

tuc_logo17 March: Research for the TUC finds that since the Brexit vote a third of BAME people have been racially abused or have witnessed racist abuse, view the research here. (Independent, 17 March 2017)

17 March: Two men are stabbed by a group of youths who use religiously offensive language at a bus stop in Langley, Slough. Both men receive hospital treatment, one for a stab wound to his back and leg and the other for a stab wound to his stomach. (Slough and South Bucks Observer, 22 March 2017)

20 March: Three men who attacked a Methill takeaway owner hours after the Paris attacks in 2015, are given community sentences, after not guilty pleas to the racially aggravated element of the crime were accepted. (Fife Today, 20 March 2017)

21 March: A coroner concludes that Gulf war veteran Scott Enion, 45, took his own life by jumping from a Dover cliff on New Year’s Day. Before his death, Mr Enion spoke of being bullied while in the army due to his racial background and that he was considering committing suicide. (Manchester Evening News, 2 March 2017)

Policing and criminal justice 

9 March: The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) refers the case of five police officers and a civilian staff member, involved in the death of Leon Brigg, at Luton police station in November 2013, to the Crown Prosecution Service. (BBC News, 9 March 2017)

12 March: It is revealed that Bristol police officers are more likely to taser black people than white people, as the IPCC investigates the tasering of 63-year-old Judah Adunbi, a member of the Independent Advisory Group set up to help police with race relations in the city. (Bristol Post, 12 March 2017)

13 March: An inquest into the death of homeless migrant Valdas Jasiunas at Forest Gate police station finds a catalogue of failures, but no evidence that any directly caused or contributed to the former teacher’s death. (Newham Recorder, 13 March 2017)

14 March: The IPCC publishes its: Annual report and accounts: 2015 to 2016, download them here.

16 March: PC Joshua Savage is charged with common assault, possession of a bladed article, criminal damage and threatening behaviour after a stop and search of a young black man in Camden which was filmed and widely shared on social media. (Evening Standard, 16 March 2017)

20 March: Joint Enterprise Not Guilty by Association (JENGbA) publish issue 41 of their newsletter, download it here (pdf file, 1.6mb)JENGbA logo

20 March: PC Alan Conran is found guilty of gross misconduct and sacked from Essex police after his failure to adequately investigate allegations of racial abuse. (Epping Forest Guardian, 20 March 2017)

Far right

12 March: It is revealed that far-right activists are planning a white pride ‘Remembering Our Past, Taking Back Our Future’ march on 25 March through Edinburgh on the same day a Sikh celebration is planned in the city. (Scotsman, 13 March 2017)

14 March: The LD50 gallery in Dalston, London, which hosted an alt-right event last year, and saw protests as a result, closes. (Hackney Post, 14 March 2017)

15 March: The far-right Freedom Party (PVV), led by Geert Wilders, wins 13 per cent of the vote and 20 seats in the Dutch general election, emerging as the largest party in Rotterdam but not doing as well nationally as predicted. The People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), led by the prime minister Mark Rutte, which adopted some of Wilder’s anti-immigration, anti-Muslim rhetoric and benefitted from a diplomatic row with Turkey, were easy winners. (Guardian, 17 March 2017)

15 March: In Germany, four members of the neo-nazi Old School Society are jailed for up to four and a half years for attempting to form a terrorist organisation with a view to bombing a refugee shelter in Saxony. (The Local, 15 March 2017)

19 March: Nick Griffin announces that he is moving to Hungary within the next six months. (Independent, 19 March 2017)

21 March: A 20-year-old asylum seeker is sprayed in the face with pepper spray close to a site at Helskini railway station where the anti-immigration group Suomi Ensin (Finland First) has set up a protest camp. (Helsinki Times, 21 March 2017)

22 March: Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson and ex-leader of the EDL) is widely criticised for rushing to Westminister and launching into an anti-Muslim tirade within hours of the deadly attack there. (Independent, 22 March 2017)

Discrimination

9 March: The Swiss parliament rejects a bill for a federal ban on the burqa, niqab and other full face coverings in public, saying that it could affect tourism and is not a significant issue in Switzerland.(The Local, 9 March 2017)

14 March: The Court of Justice of the EU rules that a ban on the wearing of headscarves in the workplace does not amount to direct religious discrimination provided that the wearing of all visible religious or philosophical symbols is banned by company rules, but may be indirect discrimination if it is dictated by a customer’s preference. (BBC News, 14 March 2017)

14 March: London’s Night Czar, Amy Lamé, urges people to take action against venues they feel may hold racist or discriminatory policies. (Buzzfeed News, 14 March 2017)

Employment

12 March: It is revealed that Muslim detective, DC Nighat Hubbard, is suing the Met police alleging racial and sexual discrimination. (Guardian, 12 March 2017)

Housing

16 March: The UK’s first female black mayor, Lydia Simmons, will have a council flat development built in her honour in Slough, it is announced. (BBC News, 16 March 2017)

Media

10 March: TV writers and producers threaten to boycott plans to measure diversity on TV after broadcasters refuse to reveal the ethnic breakdown of shows. (Guardian, 10 March 2017)

Party politics

14 March: Ukip funder Arron Banks claims he has quit the party and intends to establish ‘Ukip 2.0, the Force Awakens’. (Guardian, 14 March 2017)

15 March: Labour and UKIP Welsh Assembly members fail to agree an all-party anti-racism pledge urging local election candidates not to address immigration in a way that fosters resentment against ‘different races or nationalities’. (BBC News, 15 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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