Calendar of Racism and Resistance (19 January – 2 February 2022)


Calendar of Racism and Resistance (19 January – 2 February 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

19 January: The High Court rules that Home Office procedures for conducting fast-track age assessment of newly-arrived asylum seekers, involving detention of young people and without established safeguards, are unlawful. (Independent, 19 January 2022)

19 January: Charges of affray, criminal damage and assault against asylum seeker Mohammed Ali Alamin, arising out of disturbances at Napier barracks following a Covid outbreak in January 2021, are dropped for ‘insufficient evidence’. (BBC News, 26 January 2022)

30 January: Ponnampalam Jothibala, a 69-year-old Sri Lankan Tamil, is granted indefinite leave to remain after 16 years on immigration bail and decades of homelessness and destitution owing to Home Office mistakes. (Guardian, 30 January 2022)

29 January: Thousands of Turkish nationals admitted under EU law to run small businesses in the UK have been left in limbo, endlessly awaiting visa renewals, since the UK left the EU, in some cases unable to work for over a year and becoming destitute and ill, the Independent reveals. (Independent, 29 January 2022)

31 January: A six-month ‘amnesty’ scheme opens in Ireland for undocumented migrants who have lived there for four years, and families with children under 18, to get legal status, enabling them to work and opening a path to Irish citizenship. (BBC News, 31 January 2022)

Borders and internal controls

21 January: Academics in Germany launch a petition for a visa policy that permits transnational cooperation, after two experts in looted artefacts from Cameroon are denied visas to enter Germany to participate at a German-African collaborative workshop exploring the collection of Max von Stetten, a former commander of the Imperial German troops in colonial times. (Deutsche Welle, 21 January 2022)

23 January: A stowaway is found in the wheel arch of a freight plane at Amsterdam’s Schipol airport, the Netherlands, and is taken to hospital, after surviving an 11-hour flight from South Africa. (Deutsche Welle, 23 January 2022)

26 January: The Home Office rejects the recommendation of the Independent Office for Police Conduct that its officials wear body cameras during enforcement raids, following the death of 23-year-old Sudanese refused asylum seeker Mustafa Dawood during a raid on a car wash in 2018. Last November, an inquest jury found immigration officials’ actions might have contributed to his death. (Independent, 26 January 2022)

27 January: In a legal challenge, the Home Office admits its secret policy between April and November 2020 of seizing the phones of all newly arrived asylum seekers and demanding access to the contents was unlawful, but justifies it as necessary to pursue human smugglers. (Guardian, 27 January 2022) 

30 January: Ministers including home secretary Priti Patel, attorney-general Suella Braverman, Victoria Atkins, Baroness Williams, James Heapie and Baroness Goldie are accused of misleading Parliament and the public by continuing to refer to small-boat Channel crossings as ‘illegal’ despite the Court of Appeal ruling in December that such crossings are not illegal, the Independent reveals. (Independent, 30 January 2022)

31 January: The prime minister of Lithuania announces plans to install surveillance cameras along the entire 680-kilometre-long border with Belarus, at a cost of 40 million Euros. (Deutsche Press Agency, 430 January 2022)

31 January: Oxfam reports that 20,000 migrants intercepted by the EU-trained Libyan coastguard went missing in 2021, and it is feared many are held by traffickers or local armed groups in Libya’s secret prisons, where torture and abuses are rife. (InfoMigrants, 1 February 2022)

Reception and detention

25 January: An evaluation of a Home-Office-funded Alternatives to Detention project involving 20 women refused asylum seekers in Newcastle reports that community alternatives to detention are cheaper, less stressful for those involved and achieve the same level of compliance. (Chronicle Live, 25 January 2022)

21 January: After an action brought by ten organisations, a Belgian court fines the Federal Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers for its failure to register the majority of asylum applications at the Petit-Château arrival centre. (RTBF, 21 January 2022)

24 January: In Greece, 33 humanitarian organisations call on the authorities to distribute food to everyone in need, regardless of status, saying that a deterrent asylum system has left 40% of refugees living in camps (around 6,000 people, many of whom are children), with no food allowance. (Guardian, 24 January 2022)

29 January: In Sint-Laureins, East Flanders, Belgium, around 500 people demonstrate against a proposal to open a new refugee centre in a former monastery that has been unoccupied for years. (RTBF, 29 January 2022)

31 January: Another former barracks at RAF Manston, near Napier barracks in Kent, is due to go into service as a screening hub and short-term asylum accommodation, despite widespread condemnation of conditions at Napier. (Morning Star, 1 February 2022)

31 January: Scotland’s social justice secretary Shona Robinson writes to Westminster immigration minister Kevin Foster demanding a four-nations meeting over the Home Office’s continued procurement of Scottish hotels to house asylum seekers, without consultation, leaving them without means of communication, legal assistance or health care. (The Scotsman, 31 January 2022)

Deportation

21 January: Research carried out by Free Movement reveals that at least 464 people have had their citizenship removed since 2006; the failure of the Home Office to provide statistics is criticised. (Guardian, 21 January 2022)

26 January: The Court of Appeal rules that stripping citizenship without notice is unlawful, rejecting the Home Office’ appeal against a High Court ruling. (Independent, 27 January 2022)

ELECTORAL POLITICS | GOVERNMENT POLICY

19 January: In Mainz, the trial of a former Alternative for Germany politician charged with public incitement to commit criminal acts opens. The Baden-Württemburg politician allegedly called for the overthrow of the state as part of a group that stormed the Reichstag in 2020 during protests against Covid curbs. (Deutsche Welle, 19 January 2022)

24 January: After Nusrat Ghani MP claims she was sacked from a ministerial post in 2015 after being told her ‘Muslimness’ was ‘making colleagues uncomfortable’, the prime minister launches a Cabinet Office inquiry. Tory whip Michael Fabricant MP says he doubts Ghani faced prejudice as it was ‘not apparent’ she was a Muslim. (Guardian, 24 January 2022)

23 January: The superintendent of the Malopolska province, Poland – which includes Krakow and Auschwitz – is alleged to have drawn up a list of hundreds of groups combating antisemitism and Holocaust denial, including The Never Again Association, the Auschwitz Jewish Centre, the Association of Roma in Poland, and  Down syndrome advocates, which are to be banned from engaging with students. (Haaretz, 23 January 2022)

29 January: After a two-day summit in Madrid hosted by the Spanish far-right Vox party, European far-right politicians from nine countries including France’s Marine Le Pen and the Hungarian and Polish prime ministers agree a ‘roadmap’ for a patriotic Europe. In defending Europe ‘we will not allow the hammer-and-sickle flag to fly, nor the crescent moon flag, nor the dark flag of the global elites’ says Vox’s leader. (Euronews, 29 January 2022; Guardian, 30 January 2022; Balkan Insight, 30 January; Euractiv, 31 January 2022)

1 February: In the Portuguese general election, the far-right Chega party, whose campaign rested on anti-Roma rhetoric, attacks on benefits recipients and the lambasting of a corrupt elite, emerges as the third largest parliamentary party. With 7.15% of the vote, it now has 12 seats in the parliament. (Guardian, 30 January 2022; BBC News, 31 January 2022)

ANTI-FASCISM AND THE FAR RIGHT

With anti-migrant, anti-equalities, anti-abortion, misogynistic and anti-LGBTQI activities increasingly interlinking, we now incorporate information on the Christian Right, the libertarian Right and related US donor networks.

18 January: The tragic murder of teacher Ashling Murphy, 23, in Ireland is exploited by far-right groups on social media who spread false stories about a Romanian national and a Syrian living in direct provision in Tullamore and posed as defenders of ‘Irish women’ while attacking feminists for blaming all men for the murder. (Irish Times, 18 January 2022) 

19 January: After the Alliance for Romanian Unity and the neo-Nazi New Right target Timisoara city mayor Dominic Fritz and violently storm city hall, 23 mayors sign a statement declaring solidarity with the town’s German mayor. (Taiwan News, 19 January 2022)

19 January: After the Solicitor General intervened at the Court of Appeal under the Unduly Lenient Sentence Scheme, far-right sympathiser Ben John, initially spared prison, after being convicted of a terrorist offence, and instructed to read alternative literature like Jane Austen and Dickens, is given a two-year suspended sentence. (Independent, 19 January 2022; Gov.uk, 19 January 2022)

19 January: Derbyshire far-right troll Paul Shelton is jailed for a series of Facebook rants calling for mosques to be burnt down. (Manchester Evening News, 19 January 2022)

20 January: The trial of four members of an alleged West Yorkshire fascist terror cell in Keighley opens at Sheffield Crown Court and is expected to last five weeks. (ITV News, 20 January 2022)

20 January: Recently released tax documents reveal that Richard Uihlein, founder of Uline, a go-to arts shipping company, donated millions to far-right activists, think-tanks and media outlets in 2020, including Turning Point US which has a division in the UK. (Artnet, 20 January 2022)

24-26 January: Police investigate claims that an 18-year-old biology student with mental health problems who stormed a lecture at Heidelberg university, Germany, killing a female student and wounding three others before killing himself, was previously linked to the neo-Nazi Der Dritte Weg (Third Way) which offers combat training for young people. (Vice, 26 January 2022; Euronews, 26 January 2022)

26 January: In Poland, a far-right activist from an unnamed group, who was found in possession of weapons, explosives and toxic substances in 2019, receives a prison term of more than five years for plotting a bomb attack on a mosque. (Notes from Poland, 26 January 2022)

28 January: Police raids across Spain lead to the seizure of weapons and the arrest of seven members of an ultra-right movement suspected of a coordinated hate crime campaign on social media and, in one case, involvement in an attack on a LGBTQ association building in Alcoy, Alicante. (Olive Press, January 2022)

28 January: The head of Austrian domestic intelligence says that right-wing extremists, particularly from Germany and Switzerland are using anti-vaccine protests to cross borders, to network and to spread ideology, including antisemitism. Anti-vaccine protests are a weekly occurrence in Austria. (Al Jazeera, 28 January 2022) 

31 January: As fears mount of a Russian invasion of  Ukraine, journalists warn that Ukraine’s far-right militia, such as the Azov Battalion, are  serving as an inspiration for neo-Nazis in the US and the EU, with some travelling to Ukraine to train with the movement and learn from its methods in the hope of replicating them back home. Azov Battalion founder, Andriy Biletsky, believes that Ukraine should ‘lead the white races of the world in a final crusade … against Semite-led Untermenschen [subhumans].’ (Buzzfeed, 31 January 2022)

POLICING | PRISONS | CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

18 January: The charity Release warns that the ‘skewed enforcement of drugs laws’ exacerbates racial profiling and the ‘hyper-criminalisation of ethnic minority groups’ leading to multiple harms, primarily carceral, which impact on people irrespective of whether they use cannabis. Read the report here. (Justice Gap, 18 January 2022)

24 January: After the High Court upholds the CPS’s decision not to charge a 14-year-old boy who allegedly pushed Christopher Kapessa into the river in Rhonda Cynon Taf in 2019, supporters describe the decision a ‘painful blow’ for Christopher’s family. (BBC News, 24 January 2022)

26 January: A United Nations expert mission to Switzerland concludes that racial profiling of people of African descent is a serious issue and that impunity for police misconduct has lasted decades. (Swiss Info, January 2022)

27 January: The ministry of justice releases figures on deaths and self-harm in prison in England and Wales; 371 deaths in the last year, the highest rate ever. Eighty-six were self-inflicted, 34 uncategorised of which 4 were ‘non-natural’. (Inquest, 27 January 2022)

30 January: In Greece, following a police chase in Aliveri, Volos, of a car with five young Roma aged 7 to 15 on board, an officer opens fire. A police commander claims the bullet that penetrated the driver’s side was fired by accident. The Panhellenic Confederation of Greek Roma say that it is was ‘pure luck’ that no one died. (The Press Project, 30 January 2022) 

1 February: A report from the Independent Office for Police Conduct reveals a culture of brutal misogyny, homophobia and racism at the Met Police’s Charing Cross police station in social media messages exchanged by up to 19 officers between 2016 and 2018. (Guardian, 1 February 2022)

COUNTER-TERRORISM AND NATIONAL SECURITY

21 January: Despite Egypt’s well documented record of human rights abuses in the name of countering terrorism, the EU approves a joint EU-Egypt bid to co-chair the Global Counterterrorism Forum. (Middle East Eye, 21 January 2022)

26 January: In France, anti-terror legislation is used to shut down websites of La Voie Droite, which publishes Islamic religious content, and Nantes Révoltée, which advertised a local demonstration against the far-right, with the government claiming they are a threat to ‘national values’. (Reuters, 26 January 2022)

27 January: The mother of an 11-year-old schoolboy of Muslim and Asian heritage who lives in the north of England and has special needs, condemns the referring of her child to Prevent after a fellow pupil reported the boy, who struggles with his homework, saying during a fire drill that he wished his school would burn down. (Guardian, 26 January 2022)

27 January:  In a case that sets a precedent, the CPS, following Home Office intervention, drops a case against the youngest girl ever charged with terrorism offences. The girl from Derbyshire, who held extreme-right beliefs, had, at the age of 14, been groomed and exploited sexually and in other ways, by an older male in the USA, and this amounts to trafficking, the authorities concluded. (BBC News, 27 January 2022)

DISCRIMINATION | EQUALITIES | HUMAN RIGHTS

18 January: A number of racial justice organisations including the IRR condemn the government’s election bill, which would require voters to show photo-ID, as an attempt to suppress voting among poor, black and disaffected voters. (Left Foot Forward, 18 January 2022)

27 January: The French collective Les Hijabeuses organises an impromptu game of football in Paris’s Luxemburg gardens to protest a recent vote in parliament to ban the wearing of religious symbols during events and competitions organised by the sports federation. (Euronews, 27 January 2022)

Eight members of Les Hijabeuses pose for a team portrait. Credit: Alexander Durie

27 January: An investigation into racial profiling at the Dutch tax office shows that in 11% of cases studied, comments were recorded on files relating to ethnicity, medical information and dual nationality – which is illegal. (Dutch News, 27 January 2022)

EMPLOYMENT | EXPLOITATION | INDUSTRIAL ACTION

31 January: Hundreds of outsourced porters, cleaners and catering staff employed by Serco at Barts, Royal London and Whipps Cross hospitals go on a two-week strike, saying the mainly BME workers are paid up to 15 per cent less than directly employed NHS staff, while outsourced workers at Croydon University Hospital protest at G4S’ refusal to pay sick pay to workers testing positive for Covid. (Morning Star, 31 January 2022; Guardian, 31 January 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.

21 January: Scotland’s first black professor, Sir Geoff Palmer, accuses academics Jonathan Hearn and Sir Tom Devine of racism after his review of Edinburgh’s role in the slave trade was criticised by Hearn in The Spectator. (Guardian, 21 January 2022)

25 January: The chairman of Middlesex County Cricket Club is criticised after making ‘outdated’ remarks stereotyping black and Asian cricket players by suggesting cricket’s lack of diversity was due to black players preferring football and rugby and the Asian community prioritising education. (Guardian, 25 January 2022) 

1 February: In Greece, Solomon and Reporters Without Borders, two independent media organisations investigating government-funded NGO Hopeton’s practices in providing asylum accommodation, are served with a legal notice by Hopeton to refrain from any action that could harm its reputation. Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation, known as SLAPPs, are increasingly being used against independent media, Solomon warns. (Solomon, 1 February 20222)

1 February: Dancer Oti Mabuse reveals she received racially abusive and ‘fat-shaming’ messages on social media after performing on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing. (Guardian, 1 February 2022) 

1 February: Barnet Football Club players claim they were threatened with the sack following discussions they would not play a league match after the club’s logistics manager was alleged to have made a racist comment in Barnet’s game with Stockport. (Guardian, 1 February 2022)

RACIAL VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT

23 January: In Athens, Greece, police say that an explosion outside a makeshift mosque was caused by a homemade device but provide no explanation as to the motivation for the attack. (Ekathimerini, 23 January 2022)

27 January: An 18-year-old teenager is charged with racially aggravated actual bodily harm and possession of an offensive weapon after two Jewish shop owners were attacked and hospitalised in Haringey, north London. (Guardian, 27 January 2022) 

29 January: The family of Jay Abatan a 42-year-old father who died following an attack outside a Brighton nightclub in 1999, which his family believe was racially motivated, hold a vigil outside Sussex police station on the 23rd anniversary since the death and renew their calls for justice. (Morning Star, 28 January 2022)  

1 February: A 32-year-old Uber driver who suffered a broken nose after being attacked and racially abused by a passenger on 25 December 2021 says he is ‘disappointed’ with Sussex police’s investigation which has led to no arrests. (The Argus, 1 February 2022)

The calendar was compiled with the help of Graeme Atkinson, Lou Khalfaoui and Joseph MaggsThanks also to ECRE and Stopwatch, whose regular updates on asylum, migration and policing issues are an invaluable source of information.


Headline image: Eight members of Les Hijabeuses pose for a team portrait. Credit: Alexander Durie


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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Joanna Tegnerowicz
Joanna Tegnerowicz
3 months ago

Regarding the list of “banned” groups drawn by the superintendent of a province in Poland, it is not a list of groups which fight anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, though some of these groups are on the list. It is a list of groups which supposedly “implement a strategy of gradual destruction of social norms on which marriage and family are based” and deliberately seek to sexualise children and young people “under the pretext of education”.

An association supporting families of people with Down syndrome is on the list most probably because it has published books on the sexuality of people with Down syndrome.

Here’s an article on the list of “banned” groups in English http://www.jewishpress.com/news/jewish-news/holocaust/polish-education-superintendent-wants-auschwitz-jewish-center-banned-for-sexualizing-children-under-pretext-of-education/2022/01/30/ and an article in Polish where one can see the full list of “harmful” groups and read about the official reasons for the creation of this list http://oko.press/kurator-nowak-wspolpracuje-z-ordo-iuris-i-antyszczepionkowcami-na-biurku-ma-juz-liste-niepozadanych-organizacji/

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