Calendar of Racism and Resistance (20 February – 5 March 2024)


Calendar of Racism and Resistance (20 February – 5 March 2024)

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

23 February: A Palestinian refugee takes legal action against the Home Office over the  rejection of family reunion visas for his wife and four children in Gaza, who were unable to provide their biometrics because no visa application centres are in operation in Gaza. (BBC, 23 February 2024)

27 February: David Neal, sacked as the independent inspector of borders and immigration (ICIBI), tells a parliamentary committee of ‘shocking leadership’ at the Home Office, as over 40 charities express concern over his sacking and the consequential lack of scrutiny and inspections of the immigration system for up to 9 months while a successor is appointed. (Guardian, 27 February 2024)

29 February: 13 delayed ICIBI reports are published together, including criticisms of the way officials are clearing the 90,000 asylum backlog through poor quality refusals and ‘deemed withdrawals’, and the revelation that ministers had pre-set an arbitrary target of no more than 2 percent of asylum claims from Albanians to be accepted. (Electronic Immigration Network, 29 February 2024; Independent, 29 February 2024)

Borders and internal controls

21 February: Médicins Sans Frontières publish a report, Death, despair and destitution: the human costs of the EU’s migration policies, based on experiences in 12 European countries including the UK which demonstrate ‘a shocking embrace of violent tactics’ at borders and within countries. It notes that policies and dehumanising political rhetoric from leaders is resulting in a ‘surge in deaths, despair and destitution’. (Médicins Sans Frontières, 21 February 2024)

22 February: Video footage shown to the Guardian by North Macedonian NGO Legis shows men later identified as Syrian, stripped of their clothing and forced back from the Serbian border, which the NGO claims was the second of two abusive and degrading pushbacks in 24 hours. (Guardian, 22 February 2024)

23 February: As Ibrahima Bah is sentenced to 9 years and 6 months in prison on charges of ‘gross negligence manslaughter’ and facilitating breaches of immigration law, campaigners call the verdicts and sentencing unjust and ‘a violent escalation in the persecution of migrants,’ and placing blame on ‘this government’s hateful policies’. (Guardian, 23 February 2024)

23 February: The UK government signs an ‘integrated border management’ agreement with Frontex, which was recently found to be systematically sharing refugee vessels’ coordinates with Libyan authorities. (PICUM, 26 February 2024)

26 February: A torchlit procession in Crotone, Italy, takes place in the early hours of the morning to mark the anniversary of the ‘Summer Love’ dinghy that crashed on the shore in 2023, killing 94 people including 35 minors, with a further 10 people missing. (InfoMigrants, 27 February 2024)

26 February: Over 250 people, including victims of trafficking, torture and age-disputed children, have been convicted and imprisoned for coming to the UK on small boats since July 2022, according to a report by Border Criminologies and Oxford University’s Centre for Criminology, with Captain Support UK, Humans for Rights and Refugee Legal Support, No such thing as justice here. (EIN, 26 February 2024)

Border deaths, the criminalisation of people arriving on ‘small boats’, & the unjust imprisonment of Ibrahima Bah by Victoria Taylor

28 February: EU Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly calls for urgent revision of the rules to allow the border agency Frontex to perform rescue operations in her critical report on the deaths of over 600 people off the coast of Greece when an overcrowded fishing trawler sank in 2023. Survivors claimed Greek coastguards were towing the ship out to sea to prevent it landing when it broke up. (Guardian, 28 February 2024)

28 February:  One person dies and two more are missing after a small boat trying to reach the UK got into difficulty. On the same day French officials rescue 179 people in four operations. (Guardian, 28 February 2024)

1 March: The Information Commissioner issues an enforcement notice on the Home Office for its electronic monitoring pilot on migrants, accusing it of failure to provide safeguards, to assess the impact of privacy intrusions on migrants or to explain to them what it was doing and why. (Information Commissioner’s Office, 1 March 2024)

Image credit: Campaigners shine a light on Lunar House – @migrantsorg, PI and BID were involved.

3 March: A 7-year-old girl dies as a small dinghy carrying 10 children and 6 adults, including the girl’s pregnant mother, her father and three siblings, overturns in the Aa Canal in Northern France, a few kilometres from the Channel. (Al Jazeera, 3 March 2024; Guardian, 3 March 2024)

4 March: Former children’s commissioner Anne Longfield demands a full investigation as coastguard logs for the days before the drowning of at least 27 people in November 2021, reveal that at least nine boats in distress containing children and babies were left to drift, with no search and rescue attempts made. (Guardian, 4 March 2024)

4 March:  Minister for ‘illegal’ migration Michael Tomlinson holds talks in Tripoli with the Libyan prime minister on increasing cooperation and joint operations to reduce migration through Libya to Europe. (National News, 4 March 2024)

Reception and detention
See also Racist attacks 

21 February: Plans to use houses in Millom, Cumbria, as asylum dispersal accommodation are paused following vandalism and criminal damage to the properties, including obscene graffiti daubed across a house. (The Mail, 21 February 2024)

21 February: The Dutch cabinet orders the transfer of 240 people from the chronically overcrowded Ter Apel reception centre to a container and tent village in the grounds of the ‘Walibi Holland’ amusement park, in response to acourt ruling fining Dutch asylum agency COA €15,000 a day while Ter Apel holds more than 2,000 people. (NL Times, 21 February 2024)

22 February: A fire rips through two residential apartment blocks in Valencia, Spain, killing at least 10 people and injuring several more, with the number of people inside unknown. The blocks, positioned on the outskirts of the city, were home to foreign nationals ‘whose location is more difficult to pinpoint’. (Al Jazeera, 23 February 2024)

27 February: Over 200 asylum seekers are pursuing legal action against the Home Office challenging the decision to accommodate them at the former RAF base, Wethersfield, in Essex. (Shropshire Star, 27 February 2024)

28 February: Official figures show the cost of housing asylum seekers, many of whose claims are not being processed while the Home Office pursues its Rwanda deportation policy, rose to £15 million a day last year, £5.4 billion in total. (inews, 28 February 2024)

29 February: The Home Office launches an investigation into a hotel where unaccompanied asylum seeking children were forced to play a game to guess which of them was being placed in foster care, revealed in an ICIBI report published following months of suppression by the Home Office. (Guardian, 29 February 2024)

Deportations

25 February: A 27-year-old Jamaican man, Lawrence Morgan, who has lived in the UK since he was six, is forcibly deported, after a previous deportation attempt was halted in November when passengers objected to escorts’ use of restraint against him. (Guardian, 25 February 2024)

1 March: Deportation to Rwanda will cost £1.8m per person for the first 300 people to be deported, official figures reveal. (Guardian, 1 March 2024)

4 March: Temporary residence permits for thousands of third country students and young workers who fled to the Netherlands following the Russian invasion of Ukraine expire and they are told they have 28 days to leave before deportation action is taken, after a High Court ruling in January that the policy permitting Ukrainian nationals and residents to stay no longer applies to non-Ukrainian nationals. (Al Jazeera, 4 March 2024) 

Crimes of solidarity 

22 February: The Council of Europe’s human rights commissioner Dunja Mijatović issues a report on the escalating harassment, intimidation and criminalisation suffered by those helping refugees, particularly in Hungary, Greece, Lithuania, Croatia and Poland. (Guardian, 22 February 2024)

28 February: Human rights defender Ieva Raubiško appears in court at Rezekne, Latvia charged with assisting illegal entry for assisting a group of Syrian asylum seekers at the Latvia-Belarus border in January 2023 to ensure they were not subjected to illegal pushback. (Frontline Defenders, 16 February 2024, Frontline Defenders on X, 27 February 2024)

1 March: The court case against the Iuventa migrant rescue ship, whose crew were accused of aiding and abetting illegal immigration in 2017, is dismissed by prosecutors in Sicily, Italy, on the grounds that no crime was committed. (InfoMigrants, 1 March 2024)

Citizenship 

23 February: The Court of Appeal upholds SIAC’s rejection of 24-year-old Shamima Begum’s appeal against the deprivation of her British citizenship. Her legal representatives say they will continue to fight ‘until she does get justice’. (inews, 23 February 2024)

ELECTORAL POLITICS| GOVERNMENT POLICY

22 February: After the speaker of the House of Commons explains his handling of the SNP’s ceasefire Gaza motion as necessary to protect the safety of MPs, former Conservative cabinet minister Robert Jenrick, backed by the leader of the House, says Britain has ‘allowed our streets to be dominated by Islamist extremists’ who are ‘intimidating those they disagree with, backed by the prospect of violence’. (Middle East Eye, 23 February 2024)

23 February: British Palestinian and Muslim organisations criticise the ‘disgraceful’ and chaotic House of Commons session on the SNP’s Gaza ceasefire motion, accusing parliament of playing ‘political games’ with Palestinian lives in a ‘race to the bottom’ for British politics. (Independent, 23 February 2024)

23 February: In an article in the Daily Telegraph, former home secretary Suella Braverman says that ‘the Islamists, the extremists, and the anti-Semites are in charge now’. (Middle East Eye, 23 February 2024)

23 February: Conservative MP for Ashfield Lee Anderson is stripped of the Conservative whip after refusing to apologise for saying on GB News that Islamists had got control of London mayor Sadiq Khan who ‘had given our capital city away to his mates’. (Guardian, 24 February 2024)

23 February: Following the projection by Palestine Solidarity Campaign of ‘from the river to the sea’ on Big Ben during the Commons debate on Gaza, the Board of Deputies and the Campaign Against Antisemitism call for ‘closer scrutiny’ of PSC – accused of bringing ‘Islamism to our streets and subverting ‘the democratic process’. (Jewish Chronicle, 23 February 2024)

23 February: In Antwerp, Belgium, a Vlaams Belang protest against ‘Islamisation of the city’ involves replacing Antwerp name and traffic signs with ‘completely misspelt’ Arabic ones. The far-right party claims that, by 2055, the majority of Antwerp residents will be Muslim and the city is ‘becoming Antwerpistan’. (Brussels Times, 23 February 2024) 

26 February: In Italy, after riot police armed with truncheons charge high school students during rallies in support of Palestine in Pisa and Florence, leaving several injured, the opposition express alarm at police violence against minors, and the president issues a press release rebuking the far-right dominated government for defending the police. (Le Monde, 26 February 2024, Middle East Monitor, 23 February 2024)

26 February: Mayoral candidate Susan Hall’s claim in the Express that criminals rule the streets of London are disproved by an analysis of Crime Survey statistics showing that Londoners are less likely to be victims of anti-social behaviour, homicide, knife and gun crime than those living elsewhere. (Guardian, 26 February 2024)

27 February: As it emerges that the US CPAC event attended by Liz Truss was addressed by far-right figures including a US senator who once refused to call white nationalists racist,  calls for Truss to lose the whip are renewed, amid criticism at her failure to object to Steve Bannon’s description of Tommy Robinson as a ‘hero’ at the event. (Guardian, 27 February 2024)

27 February: German minister for culture and Green party politician Claudia Roth states that she was only clapping Israeli filmmaker Yuval Abraham and not his Palestinian filmmaking partner, Basel Adra, during their joint acceptance of best documentary prize at the Berlin International Film Festival (see Culture section). (Guardian, 27 February 2024)

28 February: Belfast High Court rules that the Legacy Act’s provisions for conditional immunity from prosecution for Troubles offences are incompatible with Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights and in no way contribute to reconciliation. (Belfast Media, 28 February 2022)

29 February: After Rishi Sunak tells a roundtable of regional police chief that ‘mob rule’ is replacing democratic rule’, elaborating further on the threat posed to MPs by ‘pro-Palestinian activism’ in a speech to the Community Security Trust, Amnesty International says his intervention is  ‘hyperbolic’ and ‘alarmist and launches a petition to defend the right to protest. (Guardian, 29 February 2024, Politico, 29 February 2024)

1 March: In an address to the nation that touched on the victory of George Galloway on a pro-Palestine ticket in a byelection in Rochdale, the prime minister says there has been a ‘shocking increase in extremist disruption and criminality’ and that those taking part in pro-Palestine protests must resist extremists’ attempting to hijack their marches. The Labour leader says the prime minister was ‘right to condemn the unacceptable and intimidatory behaviour that we have seen recently’. (Guardian, 2 March 2024)

1 March: In Italy, the Rome public prosecutor investigates possible incitement to racial hatred charges against best-selling author General Roberto Vannacci, who argues that the real Italian nation excludes Black people and has been invited by the League to stand in the European elections. (Le Monde, 1 March 2024)

3 March: Having suspended payments to UNRWA after Israel alleged that a dozen members were involved in the 7 October Hamas attack, the European Commission says it will resume funding. (Deutsche Welle, 3 March 2024)

3 March: As part of a European Conservative and Reformists initiative, three far-right MPs from Brothers of Italy, Vox (Spain) and PiS (Poland) visit Israel to meet with the Israeli prime minister and Likud in a show of political support. (BNN, 3 March 2024, Decode, 16 February 2024)

3 March: Kicking off its campaign for the June European parliament elections with a rally in Marseille, the far-right National Rally president Jordan Bardella says that the elections are a ‘referendum against being submerged by migrants’. (Reuters, 4 March 2024)

3 March: The government’s independent adviser on political extremism proposes that MPs should be banned from working with some legal campaign groups, such as the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion, on the grounds of their involvement in ‘disruptive demonstrations’, or demonstrations that allegedly ignore instances of racism. (Byline Times, 4 March 2024, Guardian, 3 March 2024)

4 March Tory MP Paul Scully resigns after claiming that neighbourhoods in Tower Hamlets, London and Sparkbrook, Birmingham are ‘no go areas’ due to people ‘abusing’ their own religion. (Independent, 4 March 2024) 

ANTI-FASCISM AND THE FAR RIGHT

21 February: German football club Alemannia Aachen apologises for a ‘questionably phrased’ statement saying they would not participate in ‘demonstrations that divide society’, a reference to Germany’s protests against the far Right. Alemannia Aachen is known for its historical far-right connections and club officials were recently pictured on social media accounts of right-wing ‘ultra groups’. (DW, 21 February 2024) 

27 February: Three men appear in court on allegations of a far-right terror plot involving a 3-D printed semi-automatic firearm, with targets including an Islamic education centre in Leeds. (Guardian, 27 February 2024)

1 March: Patriotic Alternative organiser Samuel Melia is sentenced to two years in jail at Leeds Crown Court after being found guilty of intent to stir racial hatred. Between 2019 and 2021, Melia ran an online library of downloadable white supremacist stickers and was found to have clear Nazi sympathies and an ‘obsessive interest’ in Oswald Mosley. (TalkTV, 1 March 2024)

POLICING| PRISONS| CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

20 February: The IOPC launches an investigation after a man falls from a window and dies after Greater Manchester executed a warrant at an apartment block in Collyhurst. No details of the man’s identity are given. (Manchester Evening News, 20 February 2024)

20 February: In a judgement against Switzerland in the European Court of Human Rights, Zurich police are found guilty of racially profiling  Mohamed Wa Baile, at Zurich train station in 2015. (Open Society, 20 February 2024)

21 February: Police Scotland reject Scottish Labour MSP Paul Sweeney’s claim that Gaza protesters ‘stormed’ his Glasgow constituency office, and say there was a peaceful protest which protesters left voluntarily. (National, 21 February 2024)

21 February: An IOPC gross misconduct investigation is launched into 14 Met police emergency response officers at Camden police station after racist, Islamophobic and misogynistic messages were shared in a WhatsApp group. (Mirror, 21 February 2024)

21 February: Two independent Green and Black Cross Manchester legal observers, who claim they were injured by police while monitoring the policing of a counter-demonstration against a far-right rally at the University of Manchester, launch formal complaints, alleging that police drew batons, striking both of them. (Netpol, 21 February 2024) 

21 February: The House of Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee criticises the Home Office for disseminating false information about its crackdown on those carrying zombie knives and giving the false impression that all those found in possession will be jailed, which interferes with judicial discretion. (Byline Times, 21 February 2024)

23 February: Lord Walney, government adviser on political violence and disruption, says that ‘threatening’ protests outside parliament, MPs offices and council buildings should be banned and dispersed by police’. Liberty describes the proposal as ‘knee-jerk and deeply concerning’. (Morning Star, 23 February 2024)

23 February: Southwark Crown Court overturns a conviction against Bob Stewart MP for a racially aggravated offence in November 2023. According to the judge, telling a man demonstrating outside a Foreign Office event to ‘go back to Bahrain’ amounted to abuse, but did not cause alarm or offence. (Guardian, 23 February 2024)

26 February: A Met detective sergeant, DS Neil Buckmaster, dismissed in 2021 for gross misconduct after a panel heard he had used racist terms in an online game, has been reinstated after an appeal tribunal overturned the panel’s decision, the Guardian reveals. (Guardian, 26 February 2024)

27 February: A report by the Home Affairs Committee recommends increasing the notice period for planned demonstrations, saying that ‘deliberately disruptive protest tactics’, and the size and frequency of protests over Gaza, are a drain on police resources, placing their ability to deal with wider policing priorities at risk and impacting on officers’ wellbeing. (UK Parliament, 27 February 2024)

28 February: A magistrate dismisses charges against Ibrahim Hlaiyil for failing to comply with a requirement to remove a face covering at a pro-Palestine march, as police presented no evidence that Mr Hlaiyil, who suffers from an allergy, was attempting to conceal his identity. (Independent, 28 February 2024)

29 February: The prime minister issues a new ‘Defending Democracy Policing Protocol’ to police that suggests that protests outside the homes of elected officials should effectively be banned, since they would ‘generally be considered to be intimidatory’. (Politico, 29  February 2024)

2 March: Lesley Wertheimer, a 71-year-old legal observer with a hi-vis bib identifying her as such, accuses police officers of deliberately knocking her over and leaving her bloodied and unconscious on the ground during a Gaza ceasefire protest on Westminster Bridge, London on 6 January. (Guardian, 2 March 2024)

NATIONAL SECURITY AND ANTI-TERRORISM 

21 February: Sir William Shawcross, whose 2023 review of counter-terror strategy claimed that it focused too much on the far Right and not enough on Islamist extremism, warns that the public is at risk and that the Prevent programme should pay more attention to ‘the Hamas support network’. (BBC, 21 February 2024)

22 February: A report by the Open Rights Group, Prevent and the pre-crime State: how unaccountable data sharing is harming a generation, reveals that the data of people referred to the Prevent programme, including children, is kept for years and widely shared, even when files are marked ‘no further action’. (Open Rights Group, 22 February 2024)

27 February: The national anti-terror prosecutor’s office in France charges a primary school teacher from Drancy, Paris, with ‘terrorist criminal conspiracy’, alleging that he translated chants ‘promoting jihad’ and sent them to members of Islamic State to broadcast. (Le Monde, 27 February 2024)

3 March: Four teenagers are arrested in different cities in Belgium after allegedly exchanging messages to plot a jihadi terror attack, though no weapons or explosives are found. Federal prosecutors say ‘it’s not that they were planning something tomorrow, but still imminent enough to intervene’. (Deutsche Welle, 3 March 2024)

HUMAN RIGHTS AND DISCRIMINATION

23 February: German lawyers representing Palestinians including Palestinian-German migration scholar Nora Ragab, file criminal complaints with the federal prosecutor against the chancellor and several politicians on the Federal Security Council, which directs national security policy and authorises weapons exports, for ‘aiding and abetting’ the genocide in Israel. (Al Jazeera, 23 February 2024)

23 February: Home Office contractor Sopra Steria launches an investigation into allegations that the word ‘Israel’, the father’s place of birth, was scribbled out on a baby’s birth certificate when it was submitted with a passport application, with the birth certificate returned torn. (Independent, 23 February 2024)

EDUCATION

21 February: An analysis of UCAS data shows that white 18-year-olds are ‘the only ethnic group’ of UK university applicants ‘to shrink year-on-year,’  with the number of white UK applicants at the end of January 2024 22% lower than in 2010. (THE, 21 February 2024)

23 February: The Social Democrat administration in Berlin, Germany, asks secondary schools in the Neukölln district to distribute to pupils a ‘Myths#Israel1948’ brochure which describes the 1948 Nakba as a ‘myth’ and says that claims of ‘land theft’ are antisemitic. A left-wing parliamentary grouping says the brochure distorts history and must be withdrawn. (Middle East Eye, 23 February 2024)

23 February: Universities UK (UUK) announces a ‘manifesto’ for political parties, including a call for reinstated maintenance grant, a ‘growth in international students’ and ‘a pledge to maintain the graduate visa’. (UUK, 23 February 2024)

 29 February: Analysis by FFT Education Data Lab of attendance data from almost 10,000 schools suggests this academic year has seen ‘a notable increase in suspensions and exclusions’ on top of what was already ‘the highest figure recorded in … almost 20 years’, with additional pressure on places in alternative provision as a result. (FFT, 29 February 2024)

29 February The Department for Education announces that from August 2024, every state school will have to share daily attendance registers with the department, councils and trusts and that fines will increase for more than 5 days unauthorised absence. Analysis by FFT Education Data Lab suggests the fines would have affected 1.7 million children in 2022-23, mostly from disadvantaged backgrounds and those with special educational needs. (TES, 29 February 2024, Schools Week,4 March 2024)

29 February: A Universities UK survey of 73 universities reveals a ‘significant decline in overseas enrolments, particularly at taught postgraduate level, where numbers were 44 per cent down in January, year-on-year,’ and chief executive Vivienne Stern warns that further restrictions on student visas would be harmful. (THES, 29 February 2024)

1 March: Figures show that London secondary schools have seen a 2.5% fall in applications, matching that already seen in the primary sector, attributed to ‘a declining birthrate along with changing patterns of migration, family location and the effects of Brexit’, although other major local authorities in England say applications are little changed or slightly higher than in 2023. (Guardian, 1 March 2024)

4 March: A report by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) shows ‘the overall disadvantage gap’ between students on free school meals and others has grown in reading and maths at both primary and secondary school level, with the gap in reading attainment in primary school students now ‘almost two months wider than it was before the pandemic’. Report here. (TES, 4 March 2024)

HOUSING| POVERTY | WELFARE

27 February: The Food Foundation finds that 15 per cent of UK households experienced food insecurity in January, warning that falling fruit and vegetable consumption amongst the poorest is likely to widen health inequalities and add pressure on the NHS. (Guardian, 27 February 2024)

29 February: Official figures reveal a jump of 27% in rough sleeping in 2023 to nearly 4,000 people, with 469 refugees evicted from Home Office hotels sleeping on the streets in December 2023. (Guardian, 29 February 2024) 

4 March: Midland Heart housing association chair Lord Ian Austin stands down with immediate effect following his remarks last month on social media about a ‘death cult of Islamist murderers and rapists’. Midland Heart says it has not accused Lord Austin of racism or Islamophobia. (Housing Today, 4 March 2024)

4 March: As government figures show that a record 142,490 children were in temporary accommodation at the end of September 2023, the all-party parliamentary group on households in temporary accommodation warns that temporary accommodation may have contributed to the deaths of 55 children, mostly under a year old, between April 2019 and March 2023. (Metro, 4 March 2024)

4 March: 42 organisations write to the work and pensions secretary demanding the scrapping of the proposal for automated surveillance of millions of bank accounts of people who receive benefits, as well as people related to welfare claimants, as it risks a repeat of the Post Office Horizon scandal. (Guardian, 4 March 2024)

HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE 

28 February: A report by the Mental Health Foundation highlights mental health problems faced by asylum seekers and refugees, created by a complex and hostile immigration system that leads to difficulties accessing services and contributes to feelings of isolation and loneliness. (Electronic Immigration Network, 28 February 2024)

29 February: In France, a study by the National Federation of Food Banks finds diabetes, malnutrition, obesity and mental health problems on the rise amongst those who use food banks (up 30% in three years, a total of 2.6 million people), with single-parent families having the most vulnerable profiles. (Le Monde, 29 February 2024)

4 March: A survey by Healthwatch England finds that access to NHS care is more difficult for poorer people, who also have worse experiences of NHS care compared to those who are more affluent. (Guardian, 4 March 2024)

EMPLOYMENT| EXPLOITATION| INDUSTRIAL ACTION

20 February: The body of 56-year-old Moroccan citizen Bouzekri Rachimi is pulled from the rubble of a supermarket building site in Florence, Italy, the last of four construction workers killed by the building’s collapse on 16 February. Two other Moroccans (43-year-old Taoufik Haidar; 24-year-old Mohamed El Ferhane) and one Tunisian (54-year-old Mohamed Toukabri) also died. Family members blame poor working condition at the site. (InfoMigrants, 22 February 2024)

25 February: Royal Mail is sued by Parcelforce delivery drivers whom it classifies as self-employed to avoid paying sick pay and the minimum wage, in a case being handled by the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB). (Observer, 25 February 2024)

28 February: UVW members who clean Amazon warehouses in Enfield and Ipswich ballot for strike action over attempts by their bosses to cut their paid breaks and bank holiday enhancements. The cleaners, from Latin America, Romania and England and outsourced to Mitie, are the lowest-paid workers in Mitie and Amazon. (UVW Union, 28 February 2024)

28 February: Maria, a cleaner from Colombia who started legal proceedings against her employer Cleanology after it unilaterally amended her contract to deny her annual entitlement to paid leave, settles at ACAS arbitration, with her employer agreeing to pay for leave. (UVW Union, 28 February 2024)

29 February: Trades unions in the West Midlands announce a second round of strikes over Mitie’s failure to pay hospital workers a one-off £1,655 payment received by other NHS staff. Around 370 workers including cleaners, porters and catering employees, all contracted by Mitie at The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, are amongst the lowest paid staff in the NHS. (Unison, 29 February 2024)

3 March: Campaigners against labour exploitation urge the government to conduct more stringent checks before awarding licences to care companies. Failures in basic vetting checks mean that bogus providers are able to recruit internationally, including scamming and exploiting workers by charging thousands of pounds to provide UK sponsorship. (Guardian, 3 March 2024)

4 March: Downing Street says new rules restricting care workers’ rights to bring family members to the UK and requiring care providers to register with the Care Quality Commission, due to come into force on 11 March, are ‘under close review’ following fears that the CQC has never inspected some companies granted licences, which are just months old and have no history of providing care. (Standard, 4 March 2024)

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 February: The Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket (ICEC) criticises the England and Wales Cricket Board for remaining silent over Durham cricket chair Sir Ian Botham’s description of the ICEC report on discrimination in cricket as ‘nonsense’. (WionNews, 21 February 2024)

23 February: Hope Not Hate and News Agents Podcast unearth extremist tweets on Islam, homosexuality and migrants, liked or retweeted by Sir Paul Marshall, an investor in GB News, and prospective buyer of the Telegraph and the Spectator. (Prospect, 23 February 2024)

23 February: A statement by the Inter-Faith Network reveals that the charity will be forced to close after Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities minister Michael Gove withdraws a funding offer because one trustee is a member of the Muslim Council of Britain. (Inter Faith Network, 23 February 2024)

25 February: The Church of England’s first Black female bishop rebukes ministers for using ‘woke’ as a negative term for the movement for social justice, at a General Synod session which voted for parishes to address racial injustice. (Guardian, 25 February 2024)

26 February: The German government orders an inquiry and the justice minister threatens criminal prosecutions for statements made at the Berlinale film festival’s awards ceremony. Several filmmakers, including Israeli filmmaker Yuval Abraham and his Palestinian colleague Basel Ardra, expressed solidarity with Palestinians and criticised Israel over the war in Gaza. (Deutsche Welle, 26 February 2024, Euronews, 26 February 2024) 

26 February: Charlotte Church defends herself against allegations of antisemitism made by the Campaign Against Antisemitism and sections of the media after she led a choir at a fundraising event for children in Gaza in a rendition of ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’ at the Bedwas Workmen’s Hall, Caerphilly. (BBC News, 26 February 2024)

28 February: Former England striker and pundit Eni Aluko criticises Elon Musk and X of giving racist and misogynistic posts more reach and states that Black women are being systematically targeted. Aluko is set to bring a libel claim against Joey Barton, claiming his criticism instigated widespread racist abuse. (BBC News, 28 February 2024)

28 February: Arts Council England says it will not penalise organisations working with artists who make political statements, after an outcry greeted its announcement of a ban in January. (Guardian, 28 February 2024)

29 February: After criticism from Christians for Palestine, the Archbishop of Canterbury publicly apologises for refusing to meet Rev Dr Munther Isaac, the pastor of the Christmas Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bethlehem, because he shared a platform with Jeremy Corbyn at a pro-Palestinian rally, and says he will now meet him. (Catholic Herald, 29 February 2024, Guardian, 29 February 2024)

1 March: Playwright Jeremy O Harris states that ‘Black Out’ nights of the West End Slave Play, while aimed at an all-Black identifying audience, do not prevent anyone else from attending, following Rishi Sunak’s criticism of the restriction of audiences on the basis of race as ‘wrong and divisive’. (Independent, 1 March 2024)

4 March: Chelsea and Australia footballer Sam Kerr is charged with racially aggravated harassment of a police officer and is set to stand trial next February following a police response to a complaint over a taxi fare in January last year. (Guardian, 4 March 2024) 

RACIAL VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT

For details of court judgements on racially motivated and other hate crimes, see also POLICING | PRISONS | CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. For attacks on asylum accommodation see also ASYLUM AND MIGRATION: RECEPTION AND DETENTION

21 February: Figures released by the German government show there were 2,378 politically motivated attacks against refugees, asylum seekers or their accommodation in 2023, almost double the number in the previous year. The figures include 219 people injured, 180 crimes against refugee accommodation and 313 violent crimes. (InfoMigrants, 21 February 2024) 

23 February: Tell Mama says it has received reports of 2,010 cases of anti-Muslim hatred between 7 October 2023 and 7 February 2024, representing a tripling of recorded incidents. (Independent, 23 February 2024)

23 February: In Northern Ireland, racist posters appear in South Belfast stating ‘ATTENTION Landlords/Housing Associations/NIHE. We have had enough of undesirables and immigrants being placed into our community. The time has come for locals only… We will protect our families at all costs. This we promise.’ (Belfast Media, 23 February 2024) 

27 February: Israeli film maker Yuval Abraham [see Culture | Media section above] reveals that after German officials described the Berlinale film festival awards ceremony as ‘antisemitic’ he has received death threats, and family members in southern Israel have been visited and intimidated. (Guardian, 27 February 2024)

27 February: The Home Affairs Committee report on the policing of protest [see Police section above] criticises the government for not updating its lapsed 2020 hate crime plan and ignoring the findings and recommendations of expert advisers, and concludes ‘the fight against hate crime’ is stuck in Home Office limbo’. (UK Parliament, 27 February 2024) 

The calendar was compiled by Sophie Chauhan with the help of IRR staff, Graeme Atkinson, Sam Berkson, Margaret McAdam, Louis Ordish and Anne Singh. Thanks also to ECRE, the Never Again Association and Stopwatch, 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


Feature image: Demo outside the Home Office after 30 people died in the Channel in 2021. Credit: Francesca Humi 

 


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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