Calendar of Racism and Resistance (17 – 31 January 2023)


Calendar of Racism and Resistance (17 – 31 January 2023)

News

Written by: IRR News Team


A fortnightly resource for anti-racist and social justice campaigns, highlighting key events in the UK and Europe. Find these stories and all others since 2014 on our searchable database, the Register of Racism and Resistance.

ASYLUM | MIGRATION | BORDERS | CITIZENSHIP

Asylum and migrant rights

17 January: The OSCE Office of the Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings reports an ‘explosion’ of online searches for sexual content related to Ukrainian women and girls, with ‘Ukraine refugee porn’ emerging as a trending search. (Euronews, 17 January 2023)

22 January: Spanish national police dismantle a criminal network who forced Ukrainian refugees to work in three illicit tobacco factories making counterfeit cigarettes in La Rioja, Seville and Valencia and ‘crammed’ them into makeshift accommodation which they were not allowed to leave. (Euronews, 22 January 2023)

25 January: Information obtained by the Independent reveals that successful asylum decisions are not being communicated to refugees in Home Office hotel accommodation ‘until they have been moved from initial accommodation’. (Independent, 25 January 2023)

27 January: Home secretary Suella Braverman rejects reforms for a migrants’ commissioner and enhanced powers for the official inspector, agreed by her predecessor in the wake of the 2018 Windrush scandal. (Independent, 27 January 2023)

30 January: Tough new rules come into force under the Nationality and Borders Act, denying ‘foreign criminals’ sentenced to over 12 months access to modern slavery protections. (Independent, 30 January 2023)

Borders and internal controls

18 January: Caminando Fronteras, a Spanish non-profit organisation, reports that 2,390 migrants died or went missing in 2022 whilst attempting to reach Spain, including 288 women and 101 children. (APNews, 23 January 2023)

19 January: French coastguards condemn the British Channel rescue authorities for putting 38 lives in danger on 2 January by failing to rescue a dinghy in distress despite earlier agreeing to do so. (Guardian, 19 January 2023)

20 January: Refugees from Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq are illegally imprisoned on commercial ferries, confined in small spaces, sometimes handcuffed, and forcibly returned from Italy to Greece, according to an investigation by Lighthouse Reports and Al Jazeera, who claim hundreds have been subjected to the practice over the past two years. (Al Jazeera, 20 January 2023)

22 January: The Home Office announces a new taskforce to reintroduce ‘hostile environment’ policies, denying undocumented migrants access to bank accounts and finding new ways of checking immigration status through schools and the NHS. (Guardian, 22 January 2023)

24 January: Doctors Without Borders’ search and rescue vessel, the Geo Barents, rescues over 230 people from three boats at risk despite orders from the Italian authorities to ignore the refugees’ distress calls. (Morning Star, 30 January 2023)

25 January: The humanitarian organisation Sienos Grupe says it has a list of around 30 people whose families have lost contact with them at the LithuanianBelarussian border, and that a Sri Lankan man was found drowned in the Neris river in January. (Euronews, 25 January 2023)

26 January: A new report, They told me they couldn’t help me, reveals the failure of EU countries to provide protection to third-country refugees in Ukraine who had to flee again following the Russian invasion. (HIAS, 26 January 2023)

27 January: The Danish Refugee Council produces a fifth annual report, Protecting rights at borders, detailing systematic violence and pushbacks of migrants at the EU’s borders. It records incidents involving 5,756 people in 2022. (ReliefWeb, 27 January 2023)

31 January: A Refugee Council analysis of those crossing the Channel last year shows that at least 60 percent should have been granted asylum, that ‘safe and legal routes’ for them have dropped by three-quarters, and that under government proposals, they would be detained indefinitely. (Refugee Council, 31 January 2023)

31 January: The Home Office resumes responsibility for dealing with the small boats crossing the Channel, after eight months when the Navy was in charge. A small boats operational command mixes military and civilian staff and uses drones, boats, radar and cameras to track the boats. (ITV, 31 January 2023)

Reception and detention

18 January: It is revealed that the Home Office has failed to provide information or resources to London doctors for diphtheria vaccinations or translation and interpreting services for the 400 refugees dispersed to London from the Manston asylum processing centre. (Pulse, 18 January 2023)

21 January: A whistle-blower who works for Home Office contractor Mitie reveals that, with no authority taking responsibility for them, child asylum seekers are regularly kidnapped from the streets outside their asylum hotel accommodation in Brighton by traffickers, whilst earlier concerns raised with the Home Office remain unheeded. (Observer, 21 January 2023)

24 January: As part of an anti-drugs operation, 150 police officers, including special operations police, raid asylum shelters and private dwellings in Baden-Württemberg, south-western Germany. (Deutsche Welle, 24 January 2023)

26 January: Asylum seekers are turned away from Dublin’s Citywest emergency asylum transit hub due to overcrowding, as the Irish prime minister says the country may no longer be able to offer accommodation and the Refugee Council warns of large-scale homelessness’. (Irish Times, 26 January 2023, IrishTimes, 20 January 2023)

26 January: Refugee and children’s charities call for an immediate end to the use of hotels for children and an urgent independent investigation into the revelation that hundreds of children are missing from Home Office hotels. (Independent, 26 January 2023)

28 January: A second whistle-blower from the Brighton hotel where children are being kidnapped from the street reports that children there face violent threats and are subjected to abusive and racist behaviour from staff. (Guardian, 28 January 2023)

30 January: The long-standing unofficial migrant camp, El Walili in Almeria, south-eastern Spain, home to around 500 people, mostly migrant agricultural labourers from Morocco and sub-Saharan Africa working in surrounding fields, burns to the ground. The cause is unknown, but Spanish police reportedly entered the camp to begin evacuations prior to the fire. (InfoMigrants, 31 January 2023)

31 January: The Irish child and family agency Tusla reveals that 45 unaccompanied children seeking asylum who have gone missing from state care since 2017 are still unaccounted for. (RTE, 31 January 2023)

Deportations

25 January: As campaigners stage an open-top bus protest outside Parliament against the Rwanda policy, Together with Refugees research reveals that of the 213 asylum seekers told they will be removed to Rwanda, three-quarters come from refugee-producing countries. (Morning Star, 25 January 2023; Guardian, 25 January 2023)

Image: Campaign to scrap the Rwanda plan protest bus. Credit: Together with Refugees

26 January: European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen proposes fast-track screening and immediate return of anyone considered ineligible for asylum at the EU’s external borders, and is seeking agreement within the EU on a ‘safe countries’ list. (EuroNews, 27 January 2023)

Citizenship

24 January: France repatriates 15 women and 32 children from the Roj prison camp in north-eastern Syria, with the women taken into custody and the children placed in care. (Deutsche Welle, 24 January 2023)

ELECTORAL POLITICS | GOVERNMENT POLICY

24 January: The far-right Sweden Democrats’ parliament leader shares the platform at  a government press conference announcing an international information campaign to discourage asylum seekers from coming to the country, despite having no formal role in the government. (Le Monde, 26 January 2023)

25 January: The secretary general of the German Christian Democrats (CDU) says Hans-Georg Maassen, a former head of the intelligence services who claimed migrants are welcomed because of ‘racial teaching that sees white people as an inferior race’, uses far-right language and racist and antisemitic conspiracy theories, and should be expelled from the party. (National News, 25 January 2023)

25 January: A machete attack by a Moroccan man at two Catholic churches in Algeciras, Spain, leaves a church official dead, a priest and three other people injured. Santiago Abascal (Vox party) calls for a crackdown on unauthorised migration, while the Spanish Episcopal Conference secretary-general warns against demonising groups or identifying terrorism with any religion. (ABC News, 26 January 2023)

26 January: As ministers admit they have no idea of the whereabouts of 200 children abducted from asylum hotels, Conservative MP Jonathan Gullis comments ‘Well they shouldn’t have come here illegally’. (Left Foot Forward, 26 January 2023)

Image: 200 missing children posters outside the Home Office (Tuesday 31st January). Credit: Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants.

26 January: Sweden Democrats MP Martin Kunnunen links the 20 percent of the population born abroad in ‘low-income countries’ to ‘low education’ and rising income inequality, as the SD claim that plans to construct a bridge between the poor Stockholm neighbourhood of Rinkeby and the more affluent area of Sundbyberg will spread crime and delinquency. (Euronews, 26 January 2023)

27 January: As a preliminary investigation suggests that the Algeciras church attacker was linked to ‘Salafist jihadism’, the leader of Spain’s Popular Party is criticised for saying Christians had long since ceased killing in the name of their faith. NGOs call on political leaders to emulate the calm response shown by the people of Algeciras and the local church. (Guardian, 27 January 2023)

30 January:  The far-right FPÖ scores 25 percent of the vote (up by 10 percent) in a local election in Lower Austria. Members of the identitarian movement are taken into police custody after storming the Conservatives’ party offices prior to the vote. (Euractiv, 30 January 2023)

ANTI-FASCISM AND THE FAR RIGHT

14 January: Members of the far-right Patriotic Alternative movement stage a protest outside hotel accommodation in Colchester housing 100 asylum seekers and unveil a banner displaying hostility to asylum seekers. (Daily Gazette, 18 January 2023)

21 January: After the leader of the Danish far-right party Stram Kurs (Hard Line) burns a copy of the Qu’ran close to the Turkish embassy in Stockholm, Sweden, the Turkish foreign minister criticises Sweden’s ‘unacceptable attitude’ to a hate crime. (AA, 21 January 2023)

21 January: Refugee rights activists rally to oppose an anti-immigrant demonstration protesting the housing of asylum seekers in Dublin, Ireland, with placards declaring ‘Ireland is full’, accompanied by a new social media hashtag ‘Irish Lives Matter’. Sinn Féin councillor Mary Lou McDonald is denounced as a ‘traitor’. (Guardian, 22 January 2023)

21 January: Former soldier Alek Yerbury is exposed as a leading light in east Yorkshire Patriotic Alliance, who are campaigning against a potential sale of the Lawns former student halls in Cottingham, Hull to a company which provides accommodation for asylum seekers. (Hull Daily Mail, 21 January 2023)

23 January: The German federal prosecutor says that five people have been charged with treason, being members of a terrorist organisation attempting to replace the state with an ‘authoritarian system of government based on the model of the German Empire’.  (Guardian, 23 January 2023)

24 January: In the Netherlands, social media posts show the far-right leader of PEGIDA,  Edwin Wagensveld, tearing out pages of the Qu’ran and claiming he had the permission of the mayor of The Hague to do so. (TRT World, 24 January 2023)

25 January: Luca Benincasa, a member of the banned Feuerkrieg Division, is found guilty of   possessing indecent images of children and offences under the Terrorism Act after Nazi literature, artefacts, and instructions on how to make explosives and poisons were found at his Cardiff home. (Wales Online, 25 January 2023)

27 January: Daniel Harris, 19, accused of inspiring two far-right racist murderers in the US, is sentenced to 11 years after being found guilty of five counts of encouraging terrorism and possession of a 3D printer with intent to build a semi-automatic gun. (Guardian, 27 January 2023)

27 January: In Grevesmuehlen, north-east Germany, a demonstration of around 700 people, mostly from the far Right, leads to clashes with police when some attempt to break into a local district council building where the construction of refugee accommodation in Upahl is being discussed. (Anadolu Agency, 27 January 2023)

POLICING | PRISONS | CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

Cases of police racism and sexism – and the way they are dealt with – are often linked, and as a reflection of this, this section includes information on police misogyny.

17 January:  Three anti-apartheid protestors convicted of public order offences in 1972 have their convictions quashed at a London court after it emerges that senior Scotland Yard managers told an undercover police officer to lie at their trial. (Guardian, 17 January 2023)

17 January: The IOPC says that it will neither carry out an investigation into the Met’s failure to detect the criminal behaviour of sexual predator PC David Carrick or use its powers to demand one. (Guardian, 17 January 2023)

18 January: IOPC investigator Trisha Napier tells Newsnight that she resigned over the handling of a complaint about stop and search of black athletes Bianca Williams and Ricardo Dos Santos and that her original investigation was ‘watered down’. (Guardian, 18 January 2023)

18 January: Two serving Metropolitan Police officers tell ITV News there is a culture of racism and sexual abuse, including rape, in the force which has left some black staff feeling suicidal and that the Met Police Federation is part of the problem. (ITV, 18 January 2023)

19 January: The IOPC launches an investigation into four Metropolitan Police officers in connection with a strip-search of a 15-year-old girl at Walworth police station in December 2020. (BBC News, 19 January 2023)

20 January: Justice ministry data analysed by EQUAL finds ethnic minority groups more likely to be sent to crown court for trial and to be remanded in custody than their white counterparts, and to receive custodial and longer prison sentences despite having lower or similar conviction rates. Disproportionate sentencing and use of remand for those self-reporting as Chinese is particularly striking in the data. (Metro, 20 January 2023)

23 January: Two French police officers are investigated after a man, allegedly armed with a pistol, is shot dead in Paris. No details of the ethnicity of the victim are given. Thirteen people have been killed by police in the last year for allegedly refusing to obey orders. (Le Monde, 23 January 2023)

26 January: A female Thames Valley police officer is sacked for making racist remarks in private messages and leaking confidential police information to family and friends. (Buckinghamshire Live, 26 January 2023)

26 January: Met Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley tells the London Assembly to expect two or three officers to face trial each week until 2025 for domestic violence, violence against women and dishonesty. (Guardian, 26 January 2023)

27 January: The UN Working Group of experts on people of African descent calls for an immediate and unconditional moratorium on the use of joint enterprise, and criticises police strip-searches of children. (Guardian, 27 January 2023)

27 January: PC Bonnie Murphy is found guilty of gross misconduct and sacked from the Metropolitan police for requesting and receiving photos of a dead man from the officer jailed in December 2021 for taking and circulating photographs of murder victims Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry. (Guardian, 27 January 2023)

30 January: The family of Sourour Abouda, the third person of north African origin to be found dead at the Brussels Rue Royale police station in Belgium in two years, reject the police claim that her death on 12 January was a suicide by self-strangulation with her jumper. (Guardian, 30 January 2023)

COUNTER-TERRORISM AND NATIONAL SECURITY

26 January: The Danish government cites national security in rejecting opposition calls for an inquiry into claims made by Ahmed Samsam, sentenced in Spain for joining ISIS, that he worked undercover in Syria for Denmark’s spy agencies. (The Local, 26 January 2023)

26 January: The national lead for Prevent says that the incel subculture represents an emerging threat, with 77 suspected radical misogynists referred to the scheme in 2021-22. (Independent, 26 January 2023)

30 January: Prevent Watch sends a formal letter to the Home Office threatening legal action for defamation in the delayed review of the government’s Prevent strategy by Sir William Shawcross, so far unpublished, which is believed to list it among organisations supportive of Islamic terrorism because of its opposition to the Prevent programme. (Guardian, 30 January 2023)

HUMAN RIGHTS AND DISCRIMINATION

26 January: Tourists with a Moroccan-sounding name are structurally discriminated against when booking an Airbnb in Brussels, Belgium, a study by Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) finds. (Brussels Times, 26 January 2023)

28 January: Following a ten-day investigation, the UN’s Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent reports that Black people are subjected to ‘structural, institutional and systemic’ racism in Britain, with the disproportionate effects of austerity, along with ‘dehumanising’ policing practices, cited as particularly harmful. (LBC, 28 January 2023)

EDUCATION

19 January: A study by the University of Oxford and the Wellcome Trust recommends that university and funding bodies review their eligibility criteria for researchers who have completed a doctorate, as the current system disproportionately hurts underrepresented groups. (THE, 19 January 2023)

21 January: A report by the Community Security Trust (CST) reveals that allegations of antisemitic incidents related to London universities have doubled, with 150 reported in the academic years spanning 2020-22. (BBC, 21 January 2023)

26 January: A UCL Centre for Holocaust Education survey of over 1200 secondary school teachers across England finds that four in ten teachers report antisemitism among their students. One in six reports students voicing Holocaust denial ‘occasionally’ or ‘often,’ and three-quarters had heard students repeat online misinformation. (Holocaust Education – Press Release, 26 January 2023)

HOUSING | POVERTY | WELFARE

29 January: Housing secretary Michael Gove admits that ‘faulty and ambiguous’ government guidance, allowing cladding firms to ‘put people in danger to make a profit’, was partly to blame for the Grenfell fire. Developers will now be given a six-week deadline to sign a legally binding contract committing them to fixing unsafe tower blocks or be banned from building new homes. (Guardian, 29 January 2023)

Grenfell Tower draped in memorial green heart and text "Grenfell: forever in our hearts".
‘Grenfell: forever in our hearts’ memorial. Credit: Cory Doctorow, Flickr.

EMPLOYMENT | EXPLOITATION | INDUSTRIAL ACTION

20 January: It is revealed that Leicestershire crime commissioner Rupert Matthews (Conservative party) was taken to an employment tribunal by his own ethics committee after allegedly disbanding the group for raising concerns over his condemnation of Black Lives Matter. The case was settled out of court. (Guardian, 20 January 2023)

23 January: Unions accuse the government of trying to pit workers against each other as 21 trades unions sign a migrant workers’ pledge calling for an end to temporary visa schemes, a firewall between labour standards and immigration enforcement and calling on employers not to cooperate with immigration raids. (Independent, 23 January 2023)

24 January: Spanish prosecutors investigate aviation recruitment company Meccti over allegations that it made women applying to become flight attendants strip down to their underwear and vetted candidates according to race, with one applicant told that Kuwait Airlines don’t want cabin staff with dark skin.  (Irish Times, 24 January 2023)

25 January: Workers at Amazon’s Coventry warehouse, many BME and migrants, stage the company’s first UK strike in support of £15 per hour, describing the offer of a 50p-per-hour increase as ‘ridiculous’. (Guardian, 26 January 2023)

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.

17 January: An amendment to the online safety bill by culture secretary Michelle Donelan proposes to criminalise social media companies that show online videos of Channel crossings in a ‘positive light’. (Guardian, 18 January 2023)

18 January: The FA criticises the independent regulatory commission’s decision to hand former Crawley Town manager John Yems a 15-month ban for 12 breaches of anti-discrimination rules, stating that they requested a longer ban. Anti-racist organisation Kick It Out also condemns the panel’s reasoning that Yems is not a ‘conscious racist’. (Guardian18 January 2023)

19 January: A 54-year-old man from Staffordshire is fined £538 and given a three-year banning order by Birmingham Magistrates’ Court after he racially abused Raheem Sterling at Villa Park football stadium. (BBC News, 19 January 2023)

24 January: The street sign in La Rose Lane, renamed from Black Boy Lane after consultation by Haringey Council which highlighted the original name’s racist connotations, is vandalised 24 hours after being replaced. (Guardian, 24 January 2023)

25 January: A Channel 4 news report on Birmingham suggests more needs to be done on ‘cultural integration’ for the Homes for Ukraine scheme, with a number of Ukrainian refugees expressing concerns over ethnic diversity and there being ‘too many Muslims’ in the area. (Channel 4, 25 January 2023)

26 January: Real Madrid FC demands action after far-right Atletico Madrid ultras hang a racist effigy of Vinicius Jr before the Spanish football clubs’ derby on Thursday. (Al Jazeera26 January 2023)

26 January: In Leeds, the David Oluwale Bridge is opened, its name a symbol of historical institutional failures which, in 1969, saw police officers physically abuse and chase David Oluwale towards the River Aire where he drowned. (BBC News, 26 January 2023)

Image: Blue plaque for David Oluwale. Credit: Wikipedia

26 January: English Heritage announces it will put up a blue plaque to honour Trinidadian political activist, feminist and journalist Claudia Jones, founder of the first major British black newspaper, the West Indian Gazette, and the ‘founding spirit’ of the Notting Hill Carnival. (Guardian, 26 January 2023)

27 January: In Germany, plans to develop Die Kongresshalle, a Nazi rally ground, into a cultural and leisure centre are criticised by local group Baulust for their naivety and lack of dialogue with opposition groups. (Haaretz27 January 2023)

30 January: Bulgarian Football Union director Georgi Ivanov refuses to apologise after saying that players with ‘other skin colours’ should not play for the national team, telling National Radio that ‘as long as I’m director, a foreign player, with a foreign passport, other skin colour, won’t play’. (Balkan Insight, 30 January 2023)

31 January: The Never Again Association in Poland publishes a report on the antisemitic and anti-Ukrainian conspiracy theories promoted by the far-right YouTube channel Media Narodowe, which has over 250,000 subscribers and is subsidised by the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. (Never Again Association, press release, 31 January 2023)

24 January: A 32-year-old man is issued with a three-year football banning order for shouting racist abuse during a match between Everton and Leicester City at Goodison Park in November 2022. (Liverpool World, 24 January 2023)

28 January: An FA Cup match at Ewood Park between Blackburn Rovers and Birmingham City is temporarily halted in the 90th minute after the Birmingham goalkeeper is subjected to racial abuse. Police appeal for witnesses. (Lancashire Telegraph, 30 January 2023)

RACIAL VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT

For sport-related violence see also CULTURE | MEDIA | SPORT

11 January: Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary arrest an unidentified man for an aggravated racial assault after he reportedly punched, pushed, and grabbed a 25-year-old male victim by the neck in Havant. (The News, 19 January 2023)

16 January: A 17-year-old girl is found guilty of setting fires inside three shops, assault and racially aggravated abuse following a series of incidents affecting six victims in Winchester in August 2022. Basingstoke youth court sentences her to 10 months in detention and to pay £90 in compensation. (Basingstoke Gazette, 18 January 2023)

19 January: A 54-year-old woman is found guilty of racially abusing one man and threatening another in Dolgellau on 15 September 2022. Caernarfon Magistrates’ Court hands her two restraining orders and a curfew, in addition to £299 court charges. (North Wales Chronicle, 9 February 2023) 

20 January: A 33-year-old woman and her five children flee their Birmingham council home after the property is attacked and vandalised twice in one week. Unidentified assailants shouted racial abuse, smashed a window, threw dog excrement at the door and graffitied English flags and racist slogans outside while the family remained indoors. (Birmingham Live, 20 January 2023)

20 January: Hertfordshire Constabulary appeal for witnesses to a racially aggravated common assault involving male drivers of a BMW and a van in Radlett. (Watford Observer, 20 January 2023)

20 January: A 38-year-old man is convicted of racially aggravated threatening behaviour and carrying a knife following an incident in Harrogate on 24 August 2022. York Crown Court issues him a six-month jail sentence. (Harrogate Advertiser, 20 January 2023)

15 January: A man suffers cuts to his face and a swollen, bruised eye after being racially abused and physically assaulted by an unidentified white man at a pub in Bedminster, Bristol. (ITV, 31 January 2023)

19 January: A 52-year-old man is found guilty of a racially-aggravated public order offence for throwing a banana and making monkey noises at a hospital security guard in February 2021. Manchester Evening News, 19 January 2023)

28 January: A 38-year-old woman is found guilty of making racially aggravated threats against a victim in an Aldi shop in Poole in May 2022. Poole Magistrates’ Court orders her to pay a £120 fine and £100 in compensation. (Daily Echo, 28 January 2023)

The calendar was compiled with the help of Graeme Atkinson, Sophie Chauhan, Margaret McAdam, Louis Ordish and Joseph Maggs. Thanks also to ECRE, the Never Again Association, Stopwatch and The Week in Work, whose regular updates on asylum, migration, far Right, racial violence, employment 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


Featured image: 200 missing children posters outside the Home Office (Tuesday 31st January). Credit: Queer activist group Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants.


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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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