Calendar of Racism and Resistance (15 – 29 July 2021)


Calendar of Racism and Resistance (15 – 29 July 2021)

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, MIGRATION, BORDERS & CITIZENSHIP

Asylum and migrant rights

14 July: The immigration minister states that more than 6 million European citizens have applied for settled status, but there are almost 6,000 cases outstanding for over a year, as a result of the pandemic, and fact that those with criminal charges pending have yet to face trial. (The Scotsman, 14 July 2021

15 July: The author of a new European Parliament report on Frontex, based on a four-month investigation, calls for the agency’s director to be fired over his failure to protect the rights of asylum seekers. (Guardian, 15 July 2021)

17 July: The Home Office announces a new scheme to resettle only ‘skilled’ refugees, after scrapping its commitment to general refugee resettlement, which is criticised by Refugee Action, as ‘a flimsy fig leaf to hide the horrors in their anti-refugee bill’. (Independent, 17 July 2021)

21 July: Lawyers’ groups including the Law Society warn against provisions in the Judicial Review Bill which will prevent challenges by the most marginalised and end the possibility of reviewing immigration and asylum cases where appeals have not been allowed. (Guardian, 21 July 2021)

22 July: In Brussels, Belgium, a 60-day hunger strike by 476 undocumented people demanding regularisation ends, with the migrants rushed to hospital, where some are in intensive care. The Belgium prime minister says ‘a government can never accept blackmail’. (Guardian, 22 July 2021)

22 July: A report by the Racial Justice Network and Queen Mary University finds that a toxic combination of government policy, Brexit, and the pandemic, is having a devastating impact on migrant communities, particularly impacting on their  ability to access life-saving medical treatment, mental health services and food, as many local shops during the pandemic would not accept the Aspen card, meaning they were unable to buy necessities. Download the report here. (Queen Mary University, 22 July 2021)

25 July: Supporters of the migrants’ hunger strike in Brussels, Belgium, announce the end of their occupation at the University of Ghent, a decision made in collaboration with the l’Union des sans-papiers pour la régularisation. (Brussels Times, 25 July 2021)

Hunger strikers in the occupied Béguinage church in Brussels, Belgium. Credit: The Left, Flickr.
Borders and internal controls

14 July: An IOM report reveals that the number of people dying attempting to reach Europe doubled in the first half of 2021, at least 1,146 deaths are recorded, with the Central Mediterranean route between Libya and Italy the deadliest. (Al Jazeera, 14 July 2021)

20 July: Priti Patel agrees to hand £55m to France to fund more border patrols to prevent small boats of migrants reaching Britain. (Guardian, 20 July 2021)

28 July: The Royal National Lifeboat Institution hits back at Nigel Farage’s accusation that it facilitated illegal immigration  by  operating a ‘migrant taxi service’ in the Channel, saying it is its moral and legal duty to save life. (Guardian, 28 July 2021)

Deportation

25 July: An FOI request reveals that people from Caribbean countries appear to be disproportionately targeted for deportation, despite the greater likelihood of their having significant ties in the UK. Ghanaians and Nigerian nationals are removed significantly more than the overall average. (Guardian, 26 July 2021)

Reception and Detention

15 July: Amnesty International launches a report detailing EU complicity in harrowing violations, including torture, sexual violence and forced labour, of men, women and children living in Libyan detention camps when returned from the Mediterranean. (Deutsche Welle, 15 July 2021)

18 July: A young Sudanese asylum seeker is found dead in hotel accommodation for asylum seekers near Heathrow Airport, launching a police inquiry. A Metropolitan police spokesperson said the death is not being treated as suspicious. (Guardian, 18 July 2021)

19 July: 46 charities write to the health minister about the high number of suicides among teenage asylum seekers. The Da’aro Youth Project has discovered that up to a dozen teenage asylum seekers either in the care system or care leavers have taken their own lives. (Guardian, 19 July 2021)

25 July: The Guardian reports that over 50 people have died in Home Office asylum-seeker accommodation in the last 5 years. Records show 3 babies are recorded to have died, 3 people died from COVID and 4 committed suicides. The causes of 31 of the deaths remains unconfirmed. (Guardian, 25 July 2021)

Citizenship and statelessness

17 July: Belgium charters a plane to repatriate its citizens,  six mothers and ten children from the al-Roj camp in North-east Syria. The women were arrested on arrival, having been sentenced in absentia for participation in the activities of a terrorist group. (Euronews, 17 July 2021) 

22 July: In its report, ‘Deprivation of nationality and the prevention of statelessness in Europe’, the European Network on Statelessness warns that deprivation of nationality is on the rise, with a lack of legal clarity and transparency. (ENS, 22 July 2021) 

23 July: The highly contentious French ‘law against separatism’ is passed, despite many organisations having mobilised for months against the bill’s Islamophobia. (Madmoizelle, 26 July 2021)

ELECTORAL POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT POLICY

21 July: Three days before the Budapest Pride march and echoing the 2016 referendum on mandatory migrant quotas, Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán announces a referendum on ‘child protection’, linking it to the   recent law making it an offence to ‘promote or portray’ homosexuality or gender reassignment. (Guardian, 21 July 2021)

ANTI-FASCISM, FAR RIGHT & EXTREME RIGHT POLITICS

14 July: MI5 director general says that extreme right-wing terrorism now accounts for one in five investigations, and 10 out of 29 disrupted late-state attack plots; highlighting the threat of radicalised teenagers in a ‘cult-like phenomenon’, with the youngest neo-Nazi terror suspect being 13. (Guardian, 14 July 2021)

18 July: Anti-vaccine protesters in Glogov, Poland, chanted ‘The Jews are behind the pandemic’ and ‘Jews rule the world’, while the far-right Confederation party, also involved in protests against coronavirus restrictions, shares a video of a supporter saying she ‘does not want Jewry’ in Poland. (Notes from Poland, 19 July 2021)

22 July: Tommy Robinson loses a libel case brought by a Syrian refugee schoolboy from Huddersfield who is awarded over £150,000 in damages after a video of an assault on him in the playground went viral, and Robinson posted on Facebook that the schoolboy was  ‘not innocent and he violently attacks young English girls in his school’, leading to the student receiving death threats. (Guardian, 22 July 2021)

25 July: The International League Against Racism and Antisemitism condemns French anti-vaccine protesters’ use of the yellow star to equate their condition to Jews during WWII. (Franceinfo, 25 July 2021)

26 July: In Greece, Golden Dawn supporters, regrouping around the Greeks for the Fatherland Party, are accused of exploiting anti-vax protests, comprising around half of the 3,500 people gathering in Athens against the ‘health dictatorship’. (Ekathimerini, 26 July 2021)

26 July: In Germany, the far-right Querdenker (lateral thinker) movement and the AfD party are accused of intimidating local authority volunteers by organising clean-up operations, childcare and delivery of warm food, in areas devastated by floods, while falsely claiming that emergency services are winding down their operations. (Guardian, 26 July 2021)

POLICING, PRISONS AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

14 July: In Germany, Berlin police investigating sedition, raid apartments and rooms connected to five police officers who shared racist content and right-wing imagery, as well as unconstitutional symbols, in an online chat group. (Deutsche Welle, 14 July 2021)

20 July:  In what is reported as vindication of Kids of Colour campaigning on police in schools, Manchester city council withdraws all existing school-based police officers in favour of police officers linked to areas in the city and an ‘Early Help Hub’. (Meteor, 20 July 2021)

21 July: A review by Alliance for Youth Justice and Manchester Metropolitan University finds that pandemic-related restrictive regimes implemented in youth jails and secure training centres have  ‘significantly aggravated’ problems faced by children, with some locked in their rooms for up to 23 hours a day, with a ban on visits by family members as well as lawyers and social workers. (Morning Star, 21 July 2021)

21 July: The Police Federation passes a vote of no confidence in Priti Patel. (Guardian, 22 July 2021)

22 July: Cardiff magistrates court clears a protester of obstructing the police by shining a torch on them as they filmed protesters at a January 2021 demonstration over the death of Mohamud Hassan. South Wales police have been targeting BLM activists for shining torches, as a form of collective punishment’ say anti-racists, with many convictions and fines. (Voice Wales, 22 July 2021)

23 July: In a letter before legal action sent to the Lord Chancellor, JENGbA announces a challenge to the ‘substantial injustice’ test imposed by the Supreme Court in 2016 when it ruled that joint enterprise had taken a ‘wrong turn’ but imposed a threshold for appeals which effectively closed down the possibility for legal reform. (The Justice Gap, 23 July 2021)

23 July: Cambridge City Council agrees to stand in solidarity with Gypsy and traveller communities amid concern that the new policing Bill criminalises their way of life. (Cambridge Independent, 23 July 2021)

24 July: An as yet unnamed man who had been hand-cuffed by police in Wood Green after being found with a knife and behaving erratically, dies in a north London hospital. Body camera footage and other material is being examined. (ITV, 26 July 2021)

26 July: FOI requests reveal that a total of 52 prisoners, approximately 40% of whom are not white British, are being held in conditions that ‘may amount to torture’ in Close Supervision Centres in high security jails in England and Wales. (Guardian, 26 July 2021)

27 July:  As part of a new Beating Crime Plan, the government proposes a  permanent relaxation of Section 60 stop and search powers, allowing for suspicionless searches in areas where serious violence could break out. A proposal for those doing community service work for anti-social behaviour to comprise  fluorescent-jacketed chain gangs is widely criticised. Police chiefs condemn Johnson’s high-profile strategy to tackle crime as ‘weird and gimmicky’. The National Black Police Association denies Johnson’s claims about the effectiveness of stop and search. (Independent; Guardian, 27 July 2021; Guardian, 28 July 2021)

27 July: A report commissioned by Andy Burnham, mayor of Greater Manchester, finds the Greater Manchester Police are 5 times more likely to stop black people than white, and 4 times more likely to use force on black people. The Chief Constable of Greater Manchester rejected the finding that the force is institutionally racist. (Guardian, 27 July 2021)

DISCRIMINATION, EQUALITIES AND HUMAN RIGHTS

14 July: Responding to an application by two Muslim women suspended from their workplaces in Germany for wearing headscarves, the European Court of Justice rules that companies can bar employees from wearing ‘any visible form of expression of political, philosophical or religious beliefs’ if it corresponds to a genuine need. (Deutsche Welle, 15 Germany 2021)

14 July: An inquiry, coordinated by the Runnymede Trust, finds that racial inequalities across the areas of health, the criminal justice system, education, employment, immigration and politics have ‘escalated’ since a similar inquiry reported five years ago. (Metro, 14 July 2021) 

16 July: An Irish Human Rights Commission audit finds councils are not meeting obligations to Travellers, with  only two thirds of the money allocated to local authorities to meet housing needs having been spent. (TheJournal.ie, 16 July 2021)

22 July: In France, seven women from the Citizens Alliance  are fined for wearing burkinis at the city pool in Grenoble, which was evacuated when they entered the pool. (Euronews, 22 July 2021)

22 July: An alliance of more than 220 organisations says proposals to change the Human Rights Act when coupled with the judicial review and courts bill pose a substantial threat to freedom and justice. (Guardian, 22 July 2021)

22 July: Six NGOs, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, bring a class action against the French state for ‘discriminatory identity checks’ by the police. (L’Est Éclair, 22 July 2021)

25 July: Lawyers for a British man detained in Somalia accuse for Foreign Office of complicity in his torture which includes hooding, sensory deprivation and waterboarding to persuade him to cooperate with the CIA. (Guardian, 25 July 2021)

EMPLOYMENT, EXPLOITATION AND INDUSTRIAL ACTION

27 July: According to research from Operation Black Vote OBV the number of people from an ethnic minority background in a prominent position has more than doubled in the last 4 years – 73 out of 1,100 now as opposed to 36 before. The greatest shift has been in politics and the least in the police, courts and security services. Simon Woolley of OBV attributed the change to conversations in the wake of George Floyd’s killing and Black Lives Matter protests. (Guardian, 28 July 2021)

HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE

15 July: MP Richard Holden introduces a clause to the Health and Care Bill to ban virginity testing and repair surgery. (BBC, 15 July 2021)

15 July: A local  investigation finds that because undocumented immigrants, without proof of address or ID, are being refused registration with GP surgeries, they have limited access to COVID-19 vaccines. (Newham Recorder, 15 July 2021)

16 July: An investigation by The Independent and the Bureau of Investigative Journalists finds that less than a quarter of British GPs would register someone without ID which means hundreds of thousands of undocumented migrants could be blocked from getting covid vaccinations. (Independent, 16 July 2021)

17 July: During July, Public Health England is surveying inequalities in women’s reproductive health after a number of recent reports revealed the extent of the disparities for  BAME women, including one  finding that black women are four times more likely to die during pregnancy or childbirth than white women, while Asian women are twice as likely. (iNews, 17 July 2021) 

20 July: Research shows that 55% of pregnant women admitted to hospital with COVID-19 are from a BAME background, even though they only make up a quarter of the births in England and Wales. Asian women are four times more likely than white women to be admitted to hospital with COVID-19 during pregnancy, while Black women are eight times more likely. (Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust, 20 July 2021) 

21 July: A report by the Medical Workforce Race Equality Standard finds that whilst the number of people from BAME backgrounds working for the NHS is the highest on record, discrimination continues to blight their experiences. (Independent, 21 July 2021) 

26 July: A study from King’s College London, into the causes of vaccine hesitancy amongst healthcare professionals, finds that amongst BAME staff, vaccine concerns were influenced by perceptions of institutional and structural discrimination. (King’s College London, 26 July 2021) 

27 July: A new Oxford University study finds that frequent and long-term application of lye-based hair relaxers used by Black women may have serious health effects, including an increased risk of breast cancer. (Guardian, 27 July 2021)

EDUCATION

21 July: In a speech to the Social Market Foundation, minister for schools, Nick Gibb, rejects calls to decolonise the curriculum in England. Amid mounting pressure to make the teaching of black history mandatory in schools and to diversify the national curriculum, he feels that what pupils learn  should not be tailored to a particular group. (Guardian, 21 July 2021)

CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORT

18 July: Guto Harri quits GB News after being suspended for taking the knee during a discussion about racism towards black footballers. (Guardian, 18 July 2021)

19 July: The Daily Telegraph newspaper reveals journalist Jess Brammar’s historical tweets that are critical of Boris Johnson, Brexit  and include references to racism in the British media and Britain’s imperial past, to suggest she is unsuitable  to become the head of the BBC’s news channels. (Telegraph, 19 July 2021)

19 July: Formula One condemns the racist abuse Lewis Hamilton is subjected to following his win at the British Grand Prix. F1, alongside the sport’s governing body, the FIA, and Hamilton’s Mercedes team which issued a joint statement in reaction to the abuse after Hamilton was involved in a crash that put Red Bull’s Max Verstappen out of the race. (Guardian, 19 July 2021)

21 July: A team of archivists and conservators will detach and preserve tributes left on a mural of Marcus Rashford, with plans for a digital exhibition to create ‘a lasting legacy of tolerance, love, and solidarity for future generations to learn from’. (Guardian, 21 July 2021)

22 July: Following a case in the High Court, the Jewish Chronicle agrees to pay substantial compensation for libel to Marc Wadsworth, a former Labour Party activist, whom the paper wrongly accused of being part of a group planning to target Jewish people in the Labour Party. (City A.M., 22 July 2021)

23 July: Gold medalist rower Mohamed Sbihi makes history as the first British Muslim flagbearer at the Olympics. (Guardian, 22 July 2021)

23 July: Online clothing retailers report record sales of t-shirts and sweatshirts expressing solidarity with England players Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jason Sancho who were racially abused online following the Euro 2020 final. (Guardian, 23 July 2021)

26 July: Tens of thousands of pounds that were raised after Marcus Rashford’s mural was defaced will be donated to a food poverty charity in Greater Manchester. (Guardian, 26 July 2021) 

26 July: A player in the French basketball team receives a wave of racist hate on social media hours before playing in her first Olympic game. (Ouest-France, 26 July 2021)

27 July: Broadcast media regulator OFCOM decides not to uphold a complaint made by UK Lawyers For Israel (UKLFI) against a Channel 4 news segment about British-Palestinians who feel that their experience of British colonialism is being sidelined. Read the ruling here. (Electronic Intifada, 27 July 2021)

RACIAL VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT

13 July: In Luton, two white men, aged around 30, shout racial abuse at a black man as he walks down a footpath and stab him in the leg with a sharp instrument, inflicting minor injuries. (Bedfordshire Police, 19 July 2021)

14 July: A man is handed a 24-month suspended sentence after he is found guilty of launching an unprovoked racist attack on a delivery driver in Bolton in January 2020, during which he punched and attempted to strangle the victim, whilst shouting racial abuse at him, and damaged the victim’s delivery van before setting it on fire. He also racially abused and head-butted a police officer upon arrest, breaking the officer’s nose and cutting him. (Manchester Evening News, 14 July 2021) 

14 July: Five students are excluded from a Cambridgeshire school Cambridgeshire after an unprovoked racist attack on at least one student on school grounds, the morning after England’s Euro defeat. (Ely Standard, 14 July 2021) 

16 July: Data from police forces in England and Wales (except Greater Manchester) reveals that racially and religiously aggravated offences in England and Wales were at their highest last year, with a 7% increase in recorded offences compared to the previous year. The Metropolitan Police say the Covid-19 pandemic had a direct impact on the rise in reports of racist incidents targeted at Chinese and south-east Asian people, whilst forces also report a backlash against those supporting the Black Lives Matter movement as a significant factor. (Morning Star, 16 July 2021) 

17 July: In Norwich, a 37-year-old Iraqi taxi driver is left with a head injury needing medical treatment, after being assaulted in an unprovoked racial attack. (Norwich Evening News, 19 July 2021) 

21 July: In Voghera, Italy, Massimo Adriatici, a former police commander and councillor for  the League party is put under house arrest after  shooting dead Moroccan Youns El Bossettaoui. The leader of the League calls the shooting self-defence against a foreign national with a criminal record and that it was accidental. (Euronews, 21 July 2021; Guardian, 23 July 2021)

21 July: In Holmlia, near Oslo, Norway, a memorial for Benjamin Hermansen, killed by neo-Nazis in a racially motivated attack in 2001, is daubed with the words ‘Breivik was right’, days before a commemoration for the 77 people that Brevik killed in a bomb attack in Oslo and a mass shooting at an AUF youth camp on Utøya island. (Euronews, 21 July 2021)

Mourners gathered at Oslo Cathedral the day after Breivik’s attacks in 2011. Credit: Johannes Grødem, Flickr.

22 July: A 57-year-old Rotherham woman is sentenced to 26 weeks in prison and banned from contacting her victims after being found guilty of carrying out a campaign of racially aggravated harassment in the town, between March and June 2020, during which she subjected her multiple victims to verbal and physical abuse. (South Yorkshire Police, 22 July 2021)

22 July: A 37-year-old Birmingham man is jailed for 8 weeks after he pleads guilty to the racially aggravated assault of a man in December 2020. (Asian Image, 22 July 2021)

23 July: The Police Service of Northern Ireland is investigating online posts about asylum seekers staying at a hotel in Carrickfergus as potential hate crimes, since they called for a protest outside the hotel and residents had to be moved for their own safety. (Belfast Telegraph, 23 July 2021)

The calendar was compiled with the help of Tania Bedi, Annabelle Woghiren, Graeme Atkinson, Lou Khalfaoui, Jess Pandian, Yewande Oyekan and Joseph Maggs.


Headline image: An RNLI lifeboat. Credit: Darren Hillman, Flickr


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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