Calendar of Racism and Resistance (16 – 29 March 2022)


Calendar of Racism and Resistance (16 – 29 March 2022)

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

17 March: As the Court of Appeal rejects the Home Office appeal against a ruling granting thousands of trafficking victims leave to remain in the UK, the independent anti-slavery commissioner condemns ministers’ failure to protect them and calls for changes to the law. (Guardian, 17 March 2022; Guardian, 17 March 2022) 

18 March: People applying to the Ukraine Family Scheme report delays as the Home Office fails to deliver on its promise of ‘streamlining’ the visa application process, and 43,000 applicants wait in hostels, unable to join their relatives in the UK. (Guardian, 18 March 2022)

18 March: As the number of people registering to host a Ukrainian refugee tops 150,000, the Homes for Ukraine scheme is criticised as ‘unworkable’, bureaucratic, slow and lacking safeguarding checks, putting refugees at risk of exploitation. A Facebook group matching refugees with hosts warns of infiltration by Russian trolls and traffickers. (Guardian, 18 March 2022; Guardian, 20 March 2022; Guardian, 21 March 2022; Guardian, 21 March 2022)

19 March: German courts rule that over 40,000 asylum seekers in Germany, who already have refugee status in Greece, should not be returned to Greece (under Dublin II) but have their claims processed in Germany, because their basic needs would not be met in Greece. (InfoMigrants, 21 March 2022)

21 March: Together with Refugees coalition launches a National Day of Action against the Nationality and Borders Bill ahead of the vote in the House of Commons. (Together with Refugees, 21 March 2022; BBC News, 21 March 2022)

Protesters at the March Against Racism in London on 19 March. Credit: Tim Dennell, Flickr.

22 March: The House of Commons votes to reinstate clauses in the Nationality and Borders Bill which criminalise refugees arriving without visas, allow the ‘offshoring’ of ‘inadmissible’ refugees (who have not travelled direct from their country) and the stripping of citizenship without notice, while deleting clauses facilitating family reunion and work for asylum seekers. (Guardian, 22 March 2022)

24 March: The government announces a permanent extension of free school meals for children with low-income parents on No Recourse to Public Funds. (Parliament, 24 March 2022)

25 March: The high court rules that the seizure of 2,000 mobile phones from asylum seekers arriving in the UK by boat, under an unpublished, blanket Home Office policy, was unlawful. (Guardian, 25 March 2022) 

25 March: It is reported that a number of Ukrainians are arriving without visas via Ireland, and are being placed in asylum hostels, as clarity is sought over their status and Home Office minister Tom Pursglove admits they would be criminalised under the Nationality and Borders Bill. (Independent, 25 March 2022, Guardian, 22 March 2022) 

25 March: As frustration mounts over visa delays under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, refugee housing charity Positive Action in Housing, criticises the scheme for giving ‘false hope’, while those on the ground in Ukraine say few have heard of it and it makes seeking sanctuary ‘artificially difficult’. (Guardian, 25 March 2022; Guardian, 25 March 2022; Guardian, 27 March 2022) 

28 March: Focus on Labour Exploitation and other charities call for help for thousands of Ukrainian seasonal farm workers, who risk destitution, isolation, exploitation and abuse, because, although their visas have been extended until 2024, they do not qualify for any scheme for Ukrainian refugees and are tied to their employer, cannot seek work outside agriculture, have no recourse to public funds and cannot bring in family members. (Guardian, 28 March 2022)

Borders and internal controls

21 March: As the Polish Border Guard say that 134 people tried to ‘illegally’ cross from Belarus in one day, an Ocalenie Foundation aid worker, referring to the treatment of  refugees at borders with Belarus and Ukraine,  says ‘It’s like there are two different countries in one, two totally different set of rules – people whose lives are worth saving and those who can die in the forest’. (Balkan Insight, 21 March 2022)

24 March. At the Polish-Ukraine border, humanitarian groups criticise vigilantes coming to the border ‘to defend women and children’ from suspected pimps and sex traffickers. For they include veterans of the French Foreign Legion; some wearing military fatigues which confuses refugees. (Guardian, 24 March 2022)

27 March: In Athens, Greece, more than 400 police are deployed in Operation Skupa (‘broom’) to carry out checks on asylum seekers and detain those who cannot produce identity documents. (Deutsche Welle, 27 March 2022)

28 March: The Global Black Coalition, launched by a medical student from Swaziland and now with 30 core members from Black-led charities, successfully evacuates 700 Africans from danger zones in Ukraine into Poland, Hungary, and Romania, but says approximately 3001,000 African students are still in Ukraine. (Buzz Feed, 23 March 2022)

Reception and detention

23 March: Following an investigation by Lighthouse Reports and other media outlets, on detention in EU facilities in Poland and Estonia of non-white student refugees fleeing Ukraine, the Polish border police confirms that the students are being detained. (Independent, 23 March 2022) 

23 March: During a visit to the scandal ridden Pournara centre in Cyprus, a KISA volunteer and a member of Migreurop allege they were violently assaulted by a security guard. They call for ministers responsible for the centre, now a site of punishment, to resign. (KISA, March 2022)

Crimes of solidarity

21 March: In Lesvos, Greece, Norwegian photographer, Knut Brey, 75, assisting volunteers working with refugees, is released on bail, after being charged with espionage. (Keep Talking Greece, 21 March 2022)

26 March: In Poland, four members of Grupa Granica are accused of smuggling migrants and detained; they say they were merely giving humanitarian aid to a family with seven children stranded in a Podlasie forest near the border with Belarus. (Guardian, 26 March 2022)

ELECTORAL POLITICS | GOVERNMENT POLICY

17 March: After the government publishes Inclusive Britain, its response to the 2021 Sewell report on racial disparities, the Race Equality Foundation criticises it for serving up ‘two day old porridge’, with initiatives, such as the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, being announced again. (Guardian, 17 March 2022

18 March: An anti-BLM, anti-LGBTQ ‘think tank’ Orthodox Conservatives, with links to the Conservative Party’s Common Sense Group, is reported to have further links with Ben Harris-Quinney, expelled from the Conservative Party in 2015, for being an alleged ‘racist and a homophobe’. (Vice, 18 March 2022)

27 March: The rector of the Paris Mosque warns that right-wing candidates in the French presidential election are creating a ‘spiral of hatred’ by competing with one another in the scapegoating of Muslims and Islam. (Guardian, 27 March 2022)

ANTI-FASCISM AND THE FAR RIGHT

19 March: The German government announces a new action plan on preventing and fighting far-right extremism which includes measures to expose its financing. (EU Observer, 19 March 2022)

15 March: An investigation by Signal in Greece finds that jailed Golden Dawn members are getting preferential treatment behind bars; not only the best prison jobs, but they circumvent bans on public communication and continue to be politically active, with their observations broadcast on YouTube. (Balkan Insight, 15 March 2022)

26 March: In Frankfurt, Germany, a 22-year-old ex-soldier, is charged with terrorist offences and violating weapons and explosives laws in relation to a plot to create a militant neo-Nazi organisation to take over the government and kill immigrants. (Deutsche Welle, 26 March 2022)

POLICING | PRISONS | CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

16 March: In response to the Sewell report, ministers announce they will drop the term Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) and increase local scrutiny of police stop and search, in an effort to foster inclusion and inform future policy-making. (Guardian16 March 2022)

16 March: Two Sussex police officers are dismissed without notice for gross misconduct following the excessive use of force against a 14-year-old girl, who was sprayed in the face with an incapacitant in a police vehicle and put in a spit guard. [No details of the child’s ethnicity are given] (Independent Office for Police Conduct, 16 March 2022)

17 March: As it concludes its investigation into the June 2021 death in police custody of  Stanislav Tomáš, in Teplice, the Czech Republic, the General Inspectorate of the Security Forces says police followed  correct procedures and that restraint, which included police officers kneeling on his neck, was not a factor in the 46-year-old Romani’s death. (Romea, March 2022)

Justice for Stanislav Tomas vigil in Glasgow
A vigil for Stanislav Tomáš in Glasgow. Credit: Susanna Hotham for Romano Lav, Twitter.

17 March: Equalities minister, Kemi Badenoch, addressing the Child Q case in parliament, states that ‘we have systems in place to ensure when things go wrong, we can right them’, but we cannot ‘stop any bad thing from happening to anyone in the country at any time’. The mayor of London says the IOPC should charge the police officers who carried out the strip-search with ‘gross misconduct’. The IOPC’s report, yet to be finalised, is said to focus on ‘misconduct’ and ‘whether the girl’s ethnicity played a part in the officers’ decision to strip search.’ (Chard and Ilminster News, 17 March 2022; IOPC, 16 March 2022)

18 March: Data analysis of unsolved homicides in London since May 2017 suggests that killings are now 50% less likely to be solved if the victim is Black or Asian than if white. (Open Democracy, 18 March 2022)

18 March: Hundreds of people gather outside Stoke Newington police station and Hackney Town Hall in London as well as in Manchester, to protest in support of Child Q, who issues a statement thanking supporters and reporting that she is suing the Metropolitan Police and taking civil action against her school. Hackney MP Diane Abbott says that 23 of 25 children strip-searched in the last year in Hackney and Tower Hamlets were black. 4Front Project, Hackney Cop Watch and several other grassroots groups launch their #EndStripSearch campaign. (Evening Standard, 18 March 2022; The Canary, 24 March 2022)

Poster for the protest outside Stoke Newington police station on 18 March. Credit: Hackney Cop Watch, Twitter.

21 March: Scotland’s Chief Constable says it is a ‘moral imperative and operational necessity’ for UK police forces to demonstrate ‘no tolerance for misogyny, racism, and discrimination’. (Guardian21 March 2022)

22 March: In Lesvos, Greece, a police officer convicted in absentia of public incitement to hatred and making racist comments on Facebook in 2017 is sentenced to an eight-month jail term and a 5,000 Euro fine. (Stonisi, 22 March 2022)

22 March: Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price, responding to new College of Policing Guidance that approves the use of  facial recognition technology, says it is racially biased and should be prohibited. (Nation.Cymru, 22 March 2022)

23 March: At an online community meeting, Hackney Basic Unit commander, Marcus Barnett says that two of the five officers involved in the strip-search of Child Q have been removed from frontline duties and admits that the Met has a problem with officers viewing inner-London children as adults. (Guardian, 23 March 2022)

23 March: Black entrepreneur Eric Boateng-Taylor makes a formal complaint after being stopped by officers and handcuffed in Croydon because he was not ‘dressed for the climate’ on account of wearing a coat in warm weather. Footage of the incident is viewed 40,000 times on Tik Tok. (Guardian,  25 March 2022)

24 March: FOI requests by Open Democracy reveal that 90% of Met police officers disciplined for racism against colleagues still work in the force, with just 5% (4 out of 76) sacked between 2017 and 2021. (Open Democracy, 24 March 2022)

25 March: It is reported that 75% of children strip-searched by the Met are from a BAME background. (LBC, 25 March 2022) 

27 March: In a BBC interview, education secretary, Nadhim Zahawi, promises to review policies on strip-searches and implement ‘tougher guidelines’ to ensure that no child is ‘exposed to [the] sort of trauma’ experienced by Child Q. (BBC News, 27 March 2022)

28 March: After the chair of the inquiry into the death of Sheku Bayoh in Kirkcaldy in May 2015 asks for immunity from prosecution for those police officers who give evidence,  Police Scotland the Crown Office refuses to provide such immunity  on the grounds that they are under a professional duty to tell the truth, regardless of the risk of self-incrimination. (Guardian, 28 March 2022)

EDUCATION

16 March: A report by the Royal Society of Chemistry finds that the ‘pervasive inequalities’ faced by black and minority ethnic chemists have restricted them from developing careers in academia. (Guardian, 16 March 2022) 

17 March: In its response to the Sewell report, the government recommends a new model history curriculum to teach Britain’s ‘complex past’ as well as a review of   what lessons can be learnt from multi-academy school trusts that are ‘most successful at bridging achievement gaps for different ethnic groups and raising overall life chances’.  (Guardian, 17 March 2022)

18 March: After the University of Nottingham rescinds its offer of an honorary degree for Tony Sewell, who headed the government inquiry into ‘racial disparities’ whose report was so controversial, he accuses the University of cowardice. (BBC News, 18 March 2022) 

21 March: An Afro-Belgian association supporting 48 African students who have fled Ukraine, calls on the Belgian government to allow them to complete their course at a Belgian university, a right afforded to Ukrainians. (Euronews, 21 March 2022)

23 March: The University of Helsinki, Finland, says its social media pages have been bombarded with thousands of automated bots calling for it to sanction and stop enrolling Russian students and staff. Although the source of the anti-Russian messages is unclear, the university says it has a responsibility to ensure that Russian students feel safe on campus. (Euronews, 23 March 2022)

23 March: An application by Jesus College Cambridge to remove from the Chapel a memorial of Tobias Rustat, a benefactor with significant ties to the African slave trade, is refused. The church court claims that the extent of Rustat’s financial ties to the slave trade is a ‘false narrative’ and the memorial should remain.  (Guardian, 23 March 2022)

24 March: Hundreds of students from City and Islington College protest against the school’s stop-and-search security checks that they say use the rise in knife crimes as an ‘excuse” to treat students like ‘criminals’. (Independent, 24 March 2022)

HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE

27 March: The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists demands the immediate suspension of NHS charges for maternity care for migrant women because of the damage caused to mothers and babies by fees amounting to over £7,000, the first time the College has come out against charges. (Guardian, 27 March 2022)

HOUSING | POVERTY | WELFARE

17 March: The Department of Work and Pensions cuts Discretionary Housing Payments by £40 million, affecting the most disadvantaged who are now at higher risk of eviction and homelessness. (Mirror, 17 March 2022)

23 March: The chief executive of Shelter England responds to the government’s 2022 Spring Statement, stating that ‘housing is at the root of the cost-of-living crisis’, and though the Chancellor has not acknowledged this, there is a need to invest in ‘social homes with affordable rent’ to prevent rising homelessness among the most marginalised communities. (Shelter England, 23 March 2022) 

COUNTER-TERRORISM AND NATIONAL SECURITY

21 March: Child Rights International Network publishes Preventing Safeguarding, an analysis of the government’s Prevent strategy that finds that, despite being sold as a way of safeguarding children, the Prevent strategy violates children’s fundamental rights. (CRIN, 21 March 2022)

CULTURE | MEDIA | SPORT

While we cannot cover all incidents of racist abuse on sportspersons or their responses, we provide a summary of the most important incidents. For more information follow Kick it Out.

18 March: The Telegraph and former Labour MP Ian Austin apologise and pay £40,000 damages to Laura Murray, a former aide to Jeremy Corbyn, after they falsely accused her of being an ‘anti-Jewish racist’ and part of the ‘vile antisemitism of Corbyn’s Labour’. (Guardian, 18 March 2022)

18 March: In the context of fake social media posts about criminal African and Middle Eastern migrants fleeing Ukraine, the Institute for Internet and Social Media research says that ‘incidents of misinformation’ in Poland have grown by 20,000%. (Open Democracy, 18 March 2022)

20 March: Facebook’s decision to allow hate speech against Russians, including calls for violence against Russian people and Russian soldiers, due to the war in Ukraine, breaks its rules on incitement and could hurt users caught up in other conflicts, says Access Now. The decision to allow praise for a right-wing battalion ‘in the context of defending Ukraine’ is also criticised. (Gulf Times, 20 March 2022)

23 March: In Finland, the broadcaster YLE comes under criticism for normalising racism and Nazism in its documentary series Soumineidot (Finnish Maidens) in which interviewees claim that non-white people are not Finns and that multiculturalism is damaging Finland. (YLE, 23 March 2022)

25 March: In a Daily Mail interview, deputy prime minister Dominic Raab justifies replacing the Human Rights Act with a British bill of rights on the grounds that free speech is being ‘whittled away’ by ‘wokery’ and ‘political correctness’. (Guardian, 25 March 2022)

25 March:  British rapper Lowkey draws support for his commitment to Palestine, after ‘We Believe in Israel’ lobby for him to be removed from Spotify with its director criticising Spotify for not upholding platform rules on promoting threatening content or content that incites violence in the context of criticism of Israel and antisemitism. (Middle East Monitor, 25 March 2022)

27 March: England and Wales Cricket Board launches an investigation after cricketer Umar Razaq says he was subjected to a disciplinary hearing after calling for an apology from a Leicestershire club whose members ‘blacked up’ for a fancy dress party. (Observer, 27 March 2022)

28 March: The Romanian culture minister calls for an investigation after an anti-Roma, antisemitic newspaper, Certitudinea (Certainty), is distributed in the foyer before a show at the National Theatre in Bucharest. (Balkan Insight, March 2022) 

RACIAL VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT

15 March: Two men from Essex, aged 55 and 31, are charged with causing racially or religiously aggravated harassment, alarm or distress following an incident at London Stanstead airport on board a departing flight in November 2021. (Hertfordshire Mercury, 15 March 2022)

21 March: The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemns the desecration by Azov (a neo-Nazi battalion fighting in Ukraine) of a second world war memorial in an Athens neighbourhood to Soviet soldiers executed during the Nazi occupation of Greece. (Greek City Times, 21 March 2022)

22 March: A woman who attacked and racially abused a man and kicked over his moped in Southampton in March 2022 is jailed after pleading guilty to racially aggravated assault, criminal damage and the assault of an emergency worker. (Daily Echo, 22 March 2022)

19 March:  In France, after Argentinian rugby player Federico Martín Aramburú is shot dead in a café in Paris, allegedly after a racist altercation, three people are detained, with two of them, according to the investigative news site StreetPress, being neo-fascists linked to Groupe Union Défense. One, a former soldier, with a history of violence, is arrested in Hungary, allegedly on his way to Ukraine. (StreetPress, 23 March 2022)

24 March: An elderly Asian man is racially abused by a group of five young men in Grantham, Lincolnshire. When a woman intervened to help, a member of the group allegedly sexually assaulted her. (Grantham journal, 26 March 2022) 

24 March: In Ireland, Akshanya Anand, 25, is subjected to a vicious racist attack by teenagers who shouted ‘you don’t deserve to be here’ as they beat her with a hurl on her way to work in East Wall, Dublin. (Irish Independent, 24 March 2022)

25 March: Romani Ukrainian refugees, accommodated in the village of Božičany in the Karlovy Vary Region, say they are leaving the Czech Republic for Germany after local teenagers assaulted their children with glass bottles and an accommodation manager allegedly attacked a little boy. (Romea, 23 March 2022)

26 March: A mother of two young children fears for her life after enduring three years of racially aggravated attacks since moving into her home in Broxtowe, Nottingham, and shares CCTV footage of a person throwing objects at her home. (Nottingham Post, 26 March 2022)

27 March: The police appeal for information following the racially aggravated assault of a 33-year-old man by three teenage boys, who attacked and racially abused the man whilst he was out for a run in Basingstoke. (Basingstoke Gazette, 27 March 2022)

The calendar was compiled with the help of Graeme Atkinson, Sira Thiam, Sigrid Corry, Donari Yahzid and Joseph Maggs. Thanks also to ECRE and Stopwatch, whose regular updates on asylum, migration and policing issues are an invaluable source of information. Find these stories and all others since 2014 on our searchable database, the Register of Racism and Resistance.


The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x