Calendar of Racism and Resistance (2 – 16 February 2022)


Calendar of Racism and Resistance (2 – 16 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

1 February: The Norwegian authorities finally grant permanent residence to 19-year-old Mustafa Hasan, stating that the immigration agency and the appeals commissions had not adequately considered the ties of the teenager, who had lived in Norway since he was a child, or his mental health. (News from Norway, 1 February 2022

10 February: A report by Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX) and the Latin American Women’s Rights Service (LAWRS) highlights the negative impact of data-sharing by police or labour inspectors with the Home Office for victims of crime, including domestic abuse and labour exploitation. (FLEX, 10 February 2022)

15 February: A report by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) warns that LGBTI asylum seekers face double discrimination in Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Malta, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK. (Euronews, 15 February 2022)

Borders and internal controls

2 February: After the Turkish authorities find the bodies of 12 migrants frozen to death very close to the border with Greece, they accuse Greek border guards of illegal push backs; they were without shoes and stripped of clothes. (Euronews, 2 February 2022)

3 February: A further seven frozen bodies are found on the Turkish side of the Greek border. The head of the local lawyers’ association says 22 people entering Greece were stripped of their clothes and boots and thrown into the river and calls for Greek and Turkish lawyers to work together to ensure those responsible are brought to justice. (AP News, 3 February 2022)

6 February: The ‘Global Day of Struggle against Deaths at Borders’, is marked with events across Europe, with 38 organisations in Malta rallying around the slogan ‘Humans not numbers’. (ECRE Weekly Bulletin, 11 February 2022

38 organisations in Malta rallying around the slogan ‘Humans not numbers’.
Organisations in Malta protesting against border deaths. Credit: Alarm Phone, Twitter.

8 February: The Court of Appeal quashes the assisting illegal entry convictions of seven more asylum seekers who steered boats across the Channel, on the basis that the Home Office and prosecutors were continuing to misapply the law when what was being done was not illegal. (Independent, 9 February 2022)

9 February: The British government places 1,000 troops on standby to deploy to eastern Europe in the event of a refugee crisis prompted by an invasion of Ukraine. Army engineers helped shore up the Polish border against refugees coming from Belarus last year. (Guardian, 9 February 2022)

10 February: A Yemeni refugee couple claims the Greek coastguard threw them and a cousin into the sea, knowing they could not swim, as they violently removed them from Chios Island and took them back to Turkish territorial waters. The pair were rescued by the Turkish coastguard, but the cousin remains missing. (Middle East Monitor, 10 February 2022)

10 February: Somalia’s foreign ministry calls on the UNHCR to investigate the deaths of five Somali nationals whose bodies were found along the Greek-Turkish border on 2 February. (Anadolu Agency, 10 February 2022)

11 February: After a migrant on board a boat destined for Lampedusa, Italy, is allegedly beaten to death, six Egyptians, believed to be the migrant crew, are arrested and charged with aiding illegal immigration and murder. (InfoMigrants, 11 February 2022) 

11 February: The EU seeks to deploy Frontex personnel as well as drones and surveillance equipment in Senegal, to prevent migrant journeys to the Spanish Canary Islands, despite over 12 inquiries into alleged human rights abuses by the border agency in the past year. (ECRE Weekly Bulletin, 11 February 2022)

Reception and detention

1 February: The Welsh government launches a two-month pilot scheme offering free bus and train travel to asylum seekers, who have only £40 per week for everything except housing expenses and often miss appointments through inability to afford transport. (Forbes, 14 February 2022) 

2 February: The Home Office says it has already exceeded its resettlement quota of 5,000 Afghan citizens for this year, through counting 6,500 Afghans already in the UK, including Afghan family members of British citizens, towards the total of 20,000 to be resettled over 4 years – so no more Afghans will be eligible for resettlement this year. (Independent, 2 February 2022)

3 February: The government is spending £4.7 million a day housing 37,000 refugees in hotels, nearly four times the figure given to the Home Affairs Committee earlier in the week, it is revealed. (Independent, 3 February 2022)  

8 February: A court in Greece orders the state to pay a Syrian family damages over a fire that broke out in their camp in 2016, severely injuring two children. The argument that the refugees were responsible for the fire in their tent was rejected on the grounds that the state has a legal obligation to provide adequate and safe reception conditions. (ECRE Weekly Bulletin, 11 February 2022) 

8 February: In Lesvos, Greece, four people are arrested and charged with arson, property destruction and other offences in relation to destruction of machinery used in the construction of a new camp on the island.  (ECRE Weekly Bulletin, 11 February 2022)

10 February: In Switzerland, the National Commission for the Prevention of Torture criticises three deportation centres in the canton of Bern for failing to adequately care for children and families and living conditions that do not comply with the UN children’s convention. (Swissinfo, 10 February 2022)

13 February: The Polish ombudsman finds that humanitarian conditions inside the country’s border detention centres for migrants are worse than prisons and breach international, EU and constitutional law, with children and torture victims among those detained and unable to access asylum procedures, as well as  finding pushbacks at the border. (Brussels Times, 13 February 2022)

Deportation

10 February: A BBC Newsnight investigation reveals further evidence that many foreign students branded as cheats in English-language tests between 2011 and 2014 and served with deportation notices were innocent, and that despite the evidence from ETS, the company running the tests, being exposed years ago as wholly unreliable, the Home Office still relies on it against the students. (BBC News, 10 February 2022)

Citizenship

3 February: The Supreme Court upholds the right of the Home Office to charge over £1,000 to register children entitled to British citizenship, nearly three times the administrative cost of registration. (Independent, 2 February 2022; Supreme Court, 3 February 2022) 

ELECTORAL POLITICS | GOVERNMENT POLICY

7 February: The Labour Party drop its case against Diana Neslen, an 82-year-old Jewish woman who threatened to sue the party for unlawful discrimination based on her belief in anti-Zionism. (Guardian, 7 February 2022)

10 February: In the run-up to the general election in Hungary, the parliamentary leader of the governing party  says George Soros is ‘attacking’ Hungary over its ‘anti-paedophile and child protection law’, which attempts to shield children from propaganda on sexual orientation  while Tamas Deutsch  MEP claims that there is  ‘irrefutable evidence’ that  Soros’s network, including ‘the Soros-affiliate Amnesty International’ is using ‘manipulative methods’ to ‘spread blatant lies and smears’ about Hungary. (Hungary Matters, 6 February 2022; Budapest Times, 10 February 2022)

11 February: The Labour Party suspends the whip from south London MP Neil Coyle who is under investigation for alleged racist comments made to a journalist from a British Chinese background in a House of Commons bar. (Guardian, 11 February 2022)

13 February: Les Républicains’ French presidential candidate Valérie Pécresse tells a rally in Paris that she opposes ‘woke’ movements, and the wearing of the hijab. Rival candidate Éric Zemmour’s support for an anti-immigration ‘wall’ around the edges of the EU appears to be endorsed by Pécresse  (Guardian, 13 February 2022)

15 February: In Spain, the far-right Vox party, which took 17.6% of the vote (13 seats, up 12) in a snap regional election in Castilla y León, demands a place in the new coalition government. (Guardian, 13 February 2022; Guardian, 14 February 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 as well as information relating to the incel movement.

1 February: The Norwegian parole board refuses a parole request from mass murderer Anders Breivik, who has never shown remorse, stating that there is a clear risk that he will return to the behaviour which led to the killing of 77 people.(Euronews, 1 February 2022)

3 February: A 27-year-old man from northern Denmark, who posted online his hatred of women, was active in an internet forum lauding terror, and was a member of a shooting club, has been detained in a psychiatric facility for planning several attacks on schools in Aarhus. (Euronews, 3 February 2022)

4 February: Dr Matthew Feldman, director of the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right resigns following criticism of a blog on the centre’s website by Dr Craig McCann entitled ‘Beware the Anti-Fascists, for they have become what they oppose’. (C4ARR, Twitter, February 2022)

10 February: In Bavaria, Germany, police search the home of a man accused of spreading antisemitic content and Holocaust denial on a Telegram channel. (Deutsche Welle, 10 February 2022)

12 February: The encrypted messaging app Telegram shuts down 64 accounts in Germany, including that of Attila Hildmann, who spread antisemitic messages and disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic. (Deutsche Welle, 12 February 2022)  

POLICING | PRISONS | CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

3 February: A Greater Manchester police officer receives a written warning after an IOPC investigation finds he breached professional standards in relation to using CS Spray during the arrest of a 13-year-old in Moss Side in 2020. [No details of ethnicity of child are given in the report]. (IOPC, 3 February 2022)

7 February: A week before the trial of two members of Greek Helsinki Monitor, a number of international organisations warn against the use of sanctions to silence legitimate human rights work in Greece. After the GHM made a complaint against the Bishop Seraphim of Piraeus inciting discrimination against the Jewish community, they were accused of spreading false information. (EIN, 7 February 2022; Humanists International, 7 February 2022)

8 February: The IOPC overrules an internal police inquiry stating that a Met police officer who tasered a 10-year-old girl in southwest London in January 2021 should face gross misconduct proceedings. [The report gives no details of the child’s ethnicity]. (Sky News, 8 February 2022)

9 February: In France, an Administrative Tribunal overturns the Paris Préfecture of Police’s ban on a protest organised by Les Hijabeuses against a draft law that would ban the wearing of religious symbols during sporting events. Amnesty International says the proposed ‘unlawful’ and ‘shameful’ ban was based on reasoning informed by stigmatising stereotypes. (Amnesty International, 10 February 2022)

10 February: London Met police chief Cressida Dick resigns two years early following the Charing Cross revelations and losing the support of mayor Sadiq Khan, who is said to be angered because, of 14 officers investigated at the station, nine remain in the Met, with two of them being promoted from constable to sergeant. (Guardian, 10 February 2022)

10 February: Despite the fact that in 82% of cases of deaths in custody victims were from an ethnic minority background, Bureau Beke researchers conclude that ethnic profiling is not to blame for deaths in police custody in the Netherlands. Psychiatric illness and erratic behaviour are root causes say researchers who call for medical support teams rather than police to be first responders. (Dutch News, 10 February 2022)

11 February: The inquest jury into the death on 31 July 2919 of Jason Lennon at London’s ExCel centre finds he died of a cardio-respiratory arrest due to unreasonable restraint in a prone position by unlicensed security guards following an acute psychotic episode. (Inquest, 11 February 2022)

12 February: Dozens of young ‘kill the bill’ protestors are charged with rioting outside a Bristol police station on 21 March 2021 in what is believed to be the biggest use of ‘riot’ charges against demonstrators since the 1980s. The chair of the APPG on democracy and the constitution says the police ‘massively overacted at the time…misled the press and tried to mislead our inquiry’. (Guardian, 12 February 2022)

Bristol ‘kill the bill’ protesters confronted by police and riot vans in March 2021. Credit: Keir Gravil, Flickr.

DISCRIMINATION | EQUALITIES | HUMAN RIGHTS

15 February: A coalition of LGBT+ groups submits evidence to the  Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions and calls on it to  remove international status from the EHCR, accusing it of excessive government interference, ‘politically motivated’ appointments and a determinedly anti-trans stance that has implications for all minority groups whose human rights should be protected under the Equality Act. (Guardian, 15 February 2022)

EDUCATION

7 February: Ealing Council confirms that a formal investigation has been launched after parents of a 12-year-old Muslim boy say he was mishandled by a teacher at Ark Soane Academy for praying in the playground and subsequently threatened with exclusion. (MyLondon, 7 February 2022)

EMPLOYMENT | EXPLOITATION | INDUSTRIAL ACTION

3 February: Security guards striking for six weeks at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital, predominantly black and ethnic minority migrant workers employed by Carlisle Support Services, say they are paid less than their  mainly white in-house colleagues, lack basic rights including sick pay, and that this amounts to indirect racial discrimination. (Morning Star, 3  February 2022; Channel 4 News, 3 February 2022)

8 February: In the Netherlands, twenty local councils with large numbers of seasonal and short-term contract workers accuse the government of a failure to implement the 50 recommendations of its own commissioned report, which one-year-ago called for an improvement in work and unacceptable living conditions provided by employers. (Dutch News, 8 February 2022)

11 February: The High Court serves United Voices of the World union with a temporary injunction that bans its Great Ormond Street Hospital striking security guards, mostly migrant workers or from a BME background, and their supporters from ‘waving banners’, ‘vigorous dancing or even ‘making rapid dramatic movements’ within 200 metres of the hospital. (UVW press release, 11 February 2022; Morning Star, 16 February 2022)

United Voices of the World members and supporters protest the injunction outside the Royal Courts of Justice
United Voices of the World members and supporters protest the injunction. Credit: Matt Trinder, Twitter.

HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE

15 February: BME health leaders call for concrete action to tackle vast racial inequalities across the health service, exposed by a Manchester University review commissioned by the NHS Race and Health Observatory, which revealed clear, convincing and persistent evidence of inequalities at every stage from birth to death. (Guardian, 13 February 2022; Guardian, 15 February 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.

2 February: After applying to relocate a memorial on its chapel wall, Jesus College, Cambridge University denies it is seeking to cancel the existence of one its most significant benefactors, Tobias Rustat, because of his links to the slave trade. (Guardian, 2 February 2022)

3 February: Yorkshire County Cricket Club chairman Kamlesh Patel claims a group within the club is seeking to ‘delay and derail’ reforms to the club in the wake of racism allegations by Azeem Rafiq. (Guardian, 3 February 2022)

3 February: Haringey Council votes to change the name of Black Boy Lane to La Rose Lane, in tribute to the Caribbean artist and anti-racist activist John La Rose. (Ham & High, 3 February 2022)

4 February: A new Serial / New York Times podcast reveals that the then Education secretary Michael Gove went ahead with significant government interventions related to the ‘Trojan Horse Letter’ scandal that suggested there was a plot to ‘Islamicise’ schools in Birmingham, despite numerous warnings that those allegations were baseless. (Guardian, 4 February 2022) 

4 February: Comedian Jimmy Carr is condemned by Friends, Families and Travellers, the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, the Auschwitz Memorial and many others for his comments about the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community in his Netflix special where he suggested the deaths of thousands of Gypsies by the Nazis was ‘positive’. (Guardian, 4 February 2022)

5 February: Hours before a sculpture of Algerian national hero Emir Abdelkader is due to be unveiled in Amboise, France, it is vandalised. The ceremony, part of the official commemoration of the 60th anniversary of Algeria’s independence from France, goes ahead.  (Al Jazeera, 5 February 2022) 

7 February: Chelsea Football Club agrees to settle a high court case brought by four former youth team players over alleged historical racist abuse. Court documents alleged a member of the coaching staff was racially abusive and ‘would accompany that verbal abuse with physical assaults of a sexual nature’. (Guardian, 7 February 2022)

9 February: Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor criticises the German newspaper Deutsche Welle for firing five journalists of Arab origin on the basis of an investigation they say is ‘biased’ as it equates legitimate criticism of Israel with antisemitism and erases the Palestinian narrative from public debate. (Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, 9 February 2022)

9 February: In the Netherlands, the justice minister announces that no action will be taken against the National Museum’s exhibition on the events that followed the declaration of Indonesian independence from Dutch rule. An investigation was launched after the museum was accused of ‘genocide denial’ by ignoring the killings of people of Dutch or European ethnicity. (Guardian, 9 February 2022)

10 February: Following a three-year consultation with the club’s supporter base, Tottenham Hotspur release a statement asking fans to ‘move on’ and no longer use the ‘Y-word’ in chants, given the word’s antisemitic connotations. (BBC Sport, 10 February 2022)

RACIAL VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT

2 February: CCTV images are released after a man in his 20s is attacked and racially abused by a group of young people at a bus station in the West Midlands on 3 January 2022. (Express & Star, 2 February 2022)

11 February: The Community Security Trust publishes statistics showing that reported antisemitic incidents in the UK hit a record high in 2020, with Barnet, Hackney and Camden among the worst areas in the country. (Ham & High, 11 February 2022)

14 February: A 16-year-old boy is arrested on suspicion of the racially aggravated assault of a 31-year-old woman, resulting in facial injuries and her hair being pulled from her scalp at East Croydon railway station on 18 December 2021. (South London Press, 14 February 2022)

14 February: A 19-year-old woman from Kippax, Leeds, is jailed for the racially aggravated assault of two people. (Wakefield Express, 14 February 2022)

14 February: A 21-year-old man admits to the racially and religiously aggravated common assault and harassment of a passenger on a train to Reading on 19 November 2020 and is given a community order. (Reading Chronicle, 14 February 2022)

14 February: A 51-year-old woman who posted antisemitic abuse on Facebook blaming Jewish people for the Grenfell Tower fire is jailed for 11 months after being found guilty of stirring up racial hatred. (South London Press, 14 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.


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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Dinaz Stafford
3 months ago

It has been over 40 years of Asian and Afro-Caribean struggle in this country. My father was born in this country in 1934. He was Mixed Guyanese and spent his life flighting for equality – first in the trade unions where he worked and then across society. He recently passed away and I have masses of materials like trade union protest announcements and an article taking the police force to task – all written in the 1970s. Does IRR want them?

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