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


Calendar of Racism and Resistance (2 – 16 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

3 March: The EU triggers an exceptional temporary protection scheme to host Ukrainian refugees, via a 2001 EU directive never been used, paving the way for rapid integration into EU economies and social security systems. (Euronews, 3 March 2022)

4 March: The Portuguese government approves a mechanism for automatic entry of Ukrainians. The allocation of tax and security identification and a special employment platform advertising job opportunities for Ukrainian refugees is also launched. (Portugal News, 4 March 2022)

6 March: Two days after the Home Office opens its Ukrainian family scheme, allowing three-year visas for British citizens’ or settled migrants’ family members, who must apply online and attend a visa application centre abroad for biometric checks, the scheme is criticised as complex, unfair and ungenerous, and arriving refugees report being asked how long they intend to stay. (Observer, 6 March 2022, Home Office, 4 March 2022)

6 March: French interior minister Darmanin says British officials in Calais are turning away hundreds of Ukrainian refugees who have flocked there hoping to join relatives in the UK, and urges Britain to open a consulate there to issue visas. (Reuters, 6 March 2022)

6 March: The interior minister says that Germany will host refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine, no matter what their nationality, as ‘people from other countries who already had a permanent right of residence in Ukraine bring that status with them’. (Deutsche Welle, 6 March 2022)

7 March: The Polish government presents parliament with a draft law to regulate aspects of the lives of Ukrainian refugees, including the granting of access to the labour market and social security. (Balkan Insight, 10 March 2022)

7 March: In Norway, hard-line asylum measures in relation to access for resident and work permits are relaxed to allow ‘group protection’ for tens of thousands of refugees from Ukraine, in contrast to the restrictions facing 900 Afghan refugees in the country as well as those who worked for the Norwegian military during that war, who have not been evacuated. (News in English.no, March 2022)

8 March:  As 2 million people flee Ukraine, growing criticism of the inadequate speed and scale of the UK government’s response, with only 300 visas issued to over 17,000 applicants, leads to the government appointment of a minister for refugees, lobbyist and businessman Richard Harrington. (Guardian, 8 March 2022)

9 March: The prime minister says that Denmark will not seize jewellery from Ukrainian refugees, unlike its treatment of Syrian and African refugees since 2016, on the grounds that Europe is our ‘backyard’ and Ukranian refugees are ‘on the run from Russian missiles and cluster bombs, which now also hit civilian targets’. Special laws are being considered to allow Ukrainian refugees to benefit from social subsidies and school enrolment. (AA, 5 March 2022)

10 March: As Ukrainian refugees arriving in Calais are turned back and told to go to visa processing centres in Paris or Brussels, and Yvette Cooper suggests bringing in the army to help deal with applications, Priti Patel claims a new visa processing centre has been set up in Calais, which subsequently turns out to be untrue, then lifts the requirement for in-person pre-arrival checks for Ukrainians with passports. (Guardian, 9 March 2022; Guardian, 10 March 2022; Labour List, 10 March 2022;  Guardian, 10 March 2022)

10 March: Refugee Welcome Denmark accuses the government of placing a higher value on white lives, contrasting the treatment of Ukrainian refugees with the treatment of Syrians being deported to Damascus. (CNN, 10 March 2022)

10 March: In Poland, those supporting refugees, including municipal councillors, say the current system where ordinary citizens host Ukrainian refugees is ‘unsustainable’. The Polish government’s long hostility to refugees means that it has no infrastructure to support them. (Balkan Insight, 10 March 2022)

10 March: The European Network on Statelessness publishes a briefing paper warning that the Roma population, as well as children born in Crimea, Lunhansk and Donetsk since 2014, may face additional barriers when seeking safety. (European Network on Statelessness, 10 March 2022)

11 March: French president Macron condemns the British government for its ‘unwelcome’ approach to Ukrainian refugees, who report confusing bureaucratic procedures, waits in freezing conditions for those without passports to submit biometrics, frequent malfunctions and crashes of online application sites and lengthy delays in the issue of visas. (Independent, 11 March 2022; Guardian, 11 March 2022)

11 March: NGOs warn that Ukrainian refugees, overwhelmingly women and children, are disappearing at the border with Romania and Moldova, echoing the problems 20 years ago when Ukraine was a major source of trafficking.  Extortion and exploitation are also reported, with women being offered work in Poland only to find the workplace is false. (Euractiv, 11 March 2022, Guardian, 12 March 2022)

14 March: In the first hours after its launch, 43,000 individuals and organisations sign up to the government’s ‘Homes for Ukraine’ community sponsorship scheme for Ukrainian refugees without UK-based relatives, announced by ‘Levelling Up’ minister Michael Gove. Sponsors will be paid a monthly £350 ‘gratitude fee’. Anti-trafficking charities say rigorous checks on sponsors must be conducted to avoid exploitation of refugees. (Guardian, 14 March 2022; BBC, 14 March 2022; Independent, 14 March 2022)

Borders and internal control

2 March: The Lords rejects Clause 28 of the Nationality and Borders Bill, which provides for the off-shoring of asylum seekers, inserts a new clause providing for refugee family reunion, amends clause 39 to prevent the criminalisation of all asylum seekers arriving without visas, and re-inserts the requirement of gain for the criminalisation of those helping asylum seekers reach the UK. (Electronic Immigration Network, 2 March 2022)

6 March: After a video of border police beating and spraying a young refugee from sub-Saharan Africa attempting to climb the border fence at Mellila prompts outrage, the Spanish interior minister insists the use of force was a ‘proportionate’ response to ‘extremely violent’ border breaches. (Guardian, 6 March 2022)

8 March: The House of Lords inserts new clauses into the Nationality and Borders Bill to provide safeguards for young asylum seekers in age assessment procedures and support and leave to remain for victims of modern slavery or human trafficking. (Electronic Immigration Network, 9 March 2022)

13 March: Evidence emerges that Belarusian armed forces are making trapped Middle Eastern asylum seekers either cross the border into Poland, where guards beat them back, or enter Ukraine. (Guardian, 14 March 2022)

14 March: Roma activists from Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic recount multiple cases of discrimination against Roma on both sides of the border with Ukraine. Roma refugees arriving at the east Hungarian border town of Zahony arrive segregated on different buses. Roma mothers treated differently from their Ukranian counterparts and volunteers at the border to the Czech Republic are  refusing to pick up Roma families. (Diario Libre d’Aragón, 14 March 2022)

Reception and Detention

3 March: A new Medical Justice report, Detained and Discarded: vulnerable people released from detention in medically unsafe way, describes unplanned, chaotic and medically unsafe practices in releasing immigration detainees. (Medical Justice, 3 March 2022)

11 March: As Hungarian civil society mobilises to food, clothe and accommodate Ukrainian refugees, the government belatedly announces an emergency accommodation facility. Hungary has just two reception centres across the country which are not being used for Ukrainians. (InfoMigrants, 11 March 2022)

13 March: In Kirchberg, Luxembourg, asylum seekers say that at least 50 people from a range of countries were evicted from an official shelter at short notice after being told that the facility was now for Ukrainians only. A shelter for the homeless has taken them in. (RTL, 13 March 2022)

14 March: In Cyprus, after the children’s rights commissioner issued a report condemning the ‘appalling’ conditions at the Pournara camp, the President makes an official visit and the minister, facing calls for his resignation, promises measures to ease overcrowding. 2,541 people, including 275 unaccompanied minors, are help in a camp with capacity for only 1,000. (Cyprus Mail, 14 March 2022)

Citizenship

2 March: Malta suspends its controversial ‘golden passport’, or ‘citizenship by investment’ scheme, under which residency documents or nationality permits are granted to foreign investors, for instance from Russia and Belarus. (Euronews, 2 March 2022)

9 March: The European parliament votes for a legislative proposal which would lead the European Commission to establish a law abolishing ‘golden passport schemes by 2025. Estimates suggest that from 2011 to 2019, over €20 billion of investments came into EU countries through the schemes, with Malta, Cyprus and Bulgaria having the most lucrative ones. (Jurist, 10 March 2022)

Deportation

1 March: The Home Office returned an asylum-seeking family of five to Afghanistan under its ‘voluntary returns’ scheme days before the Taliban takeover, although officials must have been aware of the dangers, the Independent reveals. (Independent, 1 March 2022)

6 March: Homeless people referred to the Home Office Rough Sleeping Support Service by local authorities, housing providers and charities face deportation if their immigration status is insecure or precludes access to public funds, the Observer reveals. (Observer, 6 March 2022)

ELECTORAL POLITICS | GOVERNMENT POLICY

2 March: The leader of the far-right Spanish Vox party tells parliament that Ukrainian refugees, not Muslim migrants, should be welcomed to Spain, referring to an ‘invasion of young military-aged men of Muslim origin who have launched themselves against European borders in an attempt to destabilize and colonize it’. (AA, 2 March 2022)

8 March: In Germany, an administrative court dismisses a challenge brought by the far-right Alternative for Germany against the intelligence services’ right to spy on the party as ‘a suspicious entity’, a ruling which could have implications for AfD members in the civil service and police force. (Deutsche Welle, 8 March 2022)

8 March: Far-right French presidential candidate, Eric Zemmour says that certain Ukrainians with family links to France could be given visas, unlike those fleeing conflicts in Muslim nations as ‘We are closer to Christian Europeans’. (Al Jazeera, 8 March 2022)

7 March: In Norway a proposal by the usually anti-immigration Progress Party to replace the 3,000 UN-certified refugees with Ukrainians is rejected by other political parties, with the Liberal Party describing the proposal as ‘immoral’. (News in English.no, March 2022)

10 March: In Spain, the far-Right Vox party enters a regional government for the first time, as junior coalition partner with the right-wing Popular Party in Castilla y León. (Euronews, 10 March 2022)

11 March: A member of the Polish parliament claims that emergency legislation to support Ukrainian refugees will make Poles second class citizens. Another politician, Wojciech Bakun, the mayor of the border city of Przemysl, formerly of the Kukiz15 political movement known for its anti-Ukrainian sentiments, claims to have changed his views, having once advocated building a wall at the Ukrainian-Polish border.  (American University Radio, March 2022).

ANTI-FASCISM AND 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.

2 March: The Never Again Association in Poland warn that the far-right Confederation Party is using social media and YouTube channels to spread messages about an ‘influx of Muslims and blacks’ amongst the refugees from Ukraine.  (Balkan Insight, 3 March 2022)

11 March:  German intelligence says that the number of right-wing extremists responding to the Ukrainian president’s call for foreigners to join the International Defense Legion of Ukraine is in single digits, and that the security authorities are trying to prevent their departure. (Deutsche Welle, 11 March 2022)

11 March: Media exposés reveal that eight neo-Nazis, including Mário Machado, founder of ‘Nova Ordem Social’, are set to leave Portugal to fight with an extreme-right militia in Lviv, Ukraine. Machado currently reports to a police station twice a week as he is facing a charge of incitement to racial hatred on social media. (Portugal Resident, 11 March 2022)

11 March: It emerges that the far-right Confederation Party in Poland, which has called for the formation of a ‘citizens police’ against ‘immigrants from outside Europe’, backed false claims made on social media about immigrant men attacking Polish women that led to the racist violence at Przemyśl on 2 March.(Medium, 11 March 2022, Never Again Association, 10 March 2022)

Photo of far-right football hooligans assembling in Przemyśl on March 1 to “protect” the city from non-Ukrainian refugees. The photo was circulated on far-right Polish Facebook pages. (Source: Facebook/archive)

POLICING | PRISONS | CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

28 February: Discussions around the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s upcoming race plan show that police leaders are unwilling to admit that police forces are institutionally racist. (Guardian, 28 February 2022)

4 March: In the first case of its kind, a court in Sweden sentences Lina Ishaq, mother of a 12-year-old child soldier who died in Syria, to six years in prison for failing to prevent her son from being recruited to IS by unknown accomplices, considered a violation of international law and a war crime. (Al Jazeera, 4 March 2022)

10 March: A police watchdog raises concerns that Boris Johnson’s recruitment campaign to hire 20,000 police officers increases the risk of introducing misogynist and racist recruits across England and Wales. (Guardian, 10 March 2022)

15 March: An official investigation by Hackney Council finds racism likely to be an ‘influential factor’ in a degrading police strip-search in a Hackney school of a 15-year-old black girl (menstruating at the time) and contrary to all safe-guarding measures. (Guardian, 15 March 2022)

 

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HEALTH

5 March: Maternity Action warns that the health of pregnant women and their unborn babies is being put at risk by NHS trusts demanding upfront fees for antenatal and maternity care, which many cannot afford, and women are being aggressively pursued to pay. (Observer, 5 March 2022)

EMPLOYMENT | EXPLOITATION | INDUSTRIAL ACTION

11 March: Following a strike, hundreds of outsourced cleaners at Great Ormond Street Hospital win full NHS parity from 1 April 2022. (United Voices of the World, 11 March 2022)

 

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A post shared by UVW Union (@unitedvoicesoftheworld)

14 March: The Czech labour minister warns employers against employing over 200,000 Ukrainian refugees illegally as a source of cheap labour, saying that suspicious cases have already been reported. (Radio Prague International, 14 March 2022)

EDUCATION

2 March: Following a public backlash, the University of Milano-Bicocca in Italy reinstates its formerly postponed course on Russian author, Fyodor Dostoevsky. Professor Paolo Nori [head lecturer of the course] and former prime minister Matteo Renzi, say that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine should not promote prejudicial barriers to education. (Newsweek, 2 March 2022)

3 March: A Higher Education Policy Institute report on Illicit drug use in universities highlights how punitive drug polices in UK universities restrict students from seeking help within their institutions and increases the risk of harm among students already subject to discrimination. (Guardian, 3 March 2022)

4 March: A report by the parliament’s Public Accounts Committee calls for a thorough investigation of the ‘geographical variations of financial health’ affecting maintained schools. Additionally, further investigation should assess the financial pressures that provoke staff and curriculum cuts, and the significant financial reserves that are not being spent on students. (Schools Week, 4 March 2022)

7 March: Ofsted downgrades the rating of the American School in London because it claims more focus is placed on an ’approach to social justice than on learning subject-specific knowledge and skills’. The inspection came after the Daily Mail reported that parents were concerned about the school’s ‘woke agenda’ and teaching of critical race theory. (Guardian, 7 March 2022)

8 March: The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) reveals that recently graduated international students in Wales find the job market untrusting of applicants with non-Welsh or non-UK experience. International students report being rejected from positions they are overqualified for despite employment demands in the job market. (BBC News, 8 March 2022)

8 March: In Cologne, Germany, a Russian child is asked to stand up before the class and denounce Putin’s policies. Reports suggest this is not an isolated incident. (Deutsche Welle, 8 March 2022)

9 March: In Finland, following a request from the Ministry of Education and Culture, 2,000 Ukrainians already in higher education in their home country will be offered study places. A recommendation that all higher education institutions stop cooperation on projects in Russia and Ukraine is also made, although existing exchange students from these countries will be allowed to complete studies. (YLE, 9 March 2022)

10 March: Members of Parliament call for the Department of Education to terminate their £5 billion contract with Dutch service provider, Randstad, after the provider’s implementation of the UK’s National Tutoring Programme fails to cater for 65 per cent of disadvantaged children. (Guardian, 10 March 2022)

16 March: A survey reveals that just 12% of teachers polled received equality training on hairstyles and uniform; hairstyling can be a reason for exclusion, though deemed in a recent high court ruling to be ‘indirect racial discrimination’. (Guardian, 16 March 2022)

HOUSING

3 March: The Council of Europe reports that at least 529 Traveller families continue to live in ‘deplorable’ housing conditions in Dublin, Ireland, despite persistent recommendations and fund allocations to improve Traveller housing over the past two decades. (Irish Times, 3 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.

4 March: As Russian artists speak out against the war, Ukrainian filmmaker Sergi Liznitza tells the European Film Academy that its boycott of Russian films goes too far by judging people on their passports rather than their actions. A former senior German government cultural official criticises the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra for examining Russian artists’ patriotic status. (Deutsche Welle, 4 March 2022)

9 March: Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra is criticised after removing Tchaikovsky from its programme due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The orchestra says it’s a one off as two military-themed pieces were deemed inappropriate (Guardian, 10 March 2022)

RACIAL VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT

2 March: In Poland, police blame football fan culture for attacks on non-Ukrainians fleeing the country, including an incident on 1 March where three Indian citizens were beaten up in Przemysl – the first town on the Polish border where most refugees from Ukraine arrive. (Balkan Insight, 3 March 2022)

5 March: In Andravida, Greece, police investigate a racial motive, after a 69-year-old landlord, known for racist comments against foreigners and Roma, confesses to shooting dead a couple, then suffocating their two young children, because, he says, ‘they didn’t pay the rent’. The father was a farm labourer from Albania, the mother Romanian. (Keep Talking Greece, 5 March 2022)

6 March: A man and a woman, suspected of drink driving, are arrested following a racially aggravated offence against a police officer that took place in Stourbridge. (Stourbridge News, 6 March 2022)

9 March: A Carlisle resident is racially abused with objects being thrown at his house by a group of young people over a number of weeks. (Cumbria Crack, 11 March 2022)

10 March: As associations representing the Russian-speaking community in Finland report an upsurge in harassment, a 21-year-old Russian girl is beaten up and abused late at night in the suburbs of Helsinki on account of speaking Russian on her mobile phone while she waited for a bus. (Iltalehti, 10 March 2022)

11 March: A 23-year-old man from Ilkley is fined after pleading guilty to a racially aggravated offence in July 2021 in Burley, West Yorkshire. (Telegraph & Argus, 11 March 2022)

11 March: A Welsh Romani Gypsy family living near Newport, South Wales, speak out about their experiences of racist abuse including racial slurs shouted at them, signs put up at their gates demanding that they leave, their stables set on fire and their trailer windows smashed. (Wales online, 11 March 2022)

11 March: In Germany, the director general of the Chemnitz Art Collection is beaten up by a group of young people who give the Nazi salute and shout ‘Seig Heil’ and are later arrested. (Struddel.com, 11 March 2022)

March: In Germany, Germans with Russian roots report an upsurge of harassment and discrimination linked to the war in Ukraine.  A Russian-Polish store is vandalised in Oberhausen. The Mix supermarket chain says it will no longer stock Russian products. In Cologne a Russian high school student is beaten up by his classmates. (Deutsche Welle, March 2022).

12 March: A 43-year-old woman from Barrow is accused of racially aggravated harassment, and of using threatening or abusive behaviour between September and November 2021. (NEW Mail, 12 March 2021)

14 March: The police appeal for information after a family, including a man, a woman and an 11-year-old boy, were racially abused and assaulted in a park in Carlisle on 12 March by a group of young people. (Cumbria constabulary, 14 March 2022)

The calendar was compiled with the help of Graeme Atkinson, Sira Thiam, Sigrid Corry, and Donari Yahzid. Thanks 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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