Calendar of Racism and Resistance (20 July – 3 August 2022)


Calendar of Racism and Resistance (20 July – 3 August 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. 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

20 July: The House of Lords Justice and Home Affairs Committee launches a call for evidence on the impact of family migration policies, including experiences of families separated by restrictive rules. (UK Parliament, 20 July 2022)

21 July: The parliamentary Human Rights Committee writes to the home secretary expressing concern about the government’s ‘offshoring’ policy, which it says breaches the UK’s international obligations, and Rwanda’s lack of safety as a destination country. (UK Parliament, 22 July 2022) 

22 July:  The Chief Commissioner for Human Rights and Equality says that a two-tier refugee system is emerging in Ireland, with Ukrainian refugees offered more access to society than people seeking international protection who are left to ‘languish in a system that is inhumane’. (RTE, July 2022)

22 July: The Home Office tells the family of a twelve-year-old Guinean, who has been prevented from joining them in the UK for over two-and-a-half-years, that it has ‘lost’ their second visa application, made 17 months ago. (Independent, 22 July 2022)

25 July: The European Court of Human Rights finds Italy guilty of ‘inhuman and degrading treatment’ of a Gambian child who was treated by authorities as adult and placed in an overcrowded shelter for adults. (InfoMigrants, 25 July 2022)

26 July: The US State Department criticises the UK authorities for penalising trafficking victims coerced into committing crimes by their traffickers, in its annual report on Trafficking in Persons. (Open Democracy, 26 July 2022)

28 July: The UN Special Rapporteur for Migrant Rights calls on Poland to stop locking up migrants near the Belarus border and end to the double standard in the ‘very different’ treatment of Ukrainian and non-Ukrainian refugees. (Al Jazeera, 28 July 2022)

28 July: Overseas trainee doctors in Scotland face having to leave because of a two-year ‘visa gap’ between completing training and being eligible for indefinite leave to remain, the Scottish BMA reveals. (The National, 28 July 2022)

29 July: The Foreign Office admits errors in the UK’s withdrawal from Afghanistan but states it ‘cannot give hope’ of resettlement to those stranded there who aided the British state during the war, citing difficulties in judging their level of risk. Many are reportedly now in hiding after family members affiliated with the UK were executed by the Taliban. (Guardian, 29 July 2022)

Borders and internal controls

21 July: A Home Office-commissioned review into Border Force conducted by Australian former immigration minister Alexander Downer recommends an end to rescue in the Channel and the offshoring of all asylum seekers arriving from third countries. (Gov.uk, 21 July 2022)

21 July: Home secretary Priti Patel announces ‘contactless’ digital immigration controls involving automated border screening with ‘suitability questions’ for visitors to the UK from 2023, to be piloted in several Middle Eastern countries. (City AM, 21 July 2022) 

21 July: Annals of the American Association of Geographers publishes research on extreme police violence and illegal pushbacks by Croatia. Subjected to tasers and tear gas, beaten with truncheons, at the Bosnian border, refugees are stripped, clothes burned in front of them, before being pushed into ravines and slopes to force them out of EU territory. (EurekAlert, 21 July 2022)

21 July: Caminando Fronteras (Walking Borders) says that nearly 1,000 migrants died trying to reach Spain across the Atlantic Ocean in the first half of 2022, an average of five a day, with 80 percent of fatalities or disappearances linked to attempts to reach the Canary Islands. (InfoMigrants, 21 July 2022)

21 July: As the EU authorises the opening of negotiations to allow its border agency Frontex to operate in Senegal and Mauretania to prevent unauthorised departures to the Canary Islands, it demands total civil and criminal immunity for Frontex officers ‘in all circumstances’. (Statewatch, 21 July 2022; Statewatch, 21 July 2022) 

22 July: Human rights organisations warn that in Libya, abuse of detained asylum seekers is taking on a more organised and brutal nature under the new Stability Support Authority (SSA), an umbrella group of militias, which benefits indirectly from EU support. (Associated Press, 22 July 2022)

26 July: Disclose criticises the lack of human rights safeguards in the EU artificial intelligence programme ITFLOWS (IT tools and methods for managing migration flows), scheduled to come into operation in August 2023 and developed by a consortium made of the private company Terracom, research institutions, the Red Cross and Oxfam. (Disclose, 26 July 2022)

29 July: According to a leaked report by the European Anti-Fraud Office, Frontex covered up illegal deportations of migrants by Greece to Turkey, co-financed some of the returns and lied to the European parliament. (Euronews, 29 July 2022)

29 July: The EU approves new rules enabling officials to check whether any undocumented migrant or asylum seeker presents a security risk, from data held in multiple visa, immigration, asylum and policing databases. (InfoMigrants, 29 July 2022)

Reception and detention

21 July: The Independent Chief Inspector for Borders and Immigration criticises the reception of new cross-Channel arrivals in Kent processing centres as ‘chaotic’ in a newly published report, describing questioning with no interpreters, random unexplained arrests and ‘inexcusably awful’ record-keeping as ‘system failure’. (Independent, 21 July 2022)

21 July: A Refugee Council report, Lives on Hold: the experiences of people in hotel asylum accommodation, finds that the Home Office’s use of hotel accommodation for asylum seekers tripled in 2021 while the inadequate support identified in an earlier report has not improved. (Refugee Council, 21 July 2022)

23 July: The Home Office annual report shows 572 people were unlawfully detained last year, an ‘alarming’ record, with compensation for unlawful detention soaring by nearly one-third to £12.7m. (Independent, 23 July 2022) 

24 July: Figures show Scottish police detained over 3,000 people in cells under immigration powers over the past five years, including asylum seekers from Syria, Iraq and Iran and potential trafficking victims from Albania and Vietnam. (The National, 24 July 2022)

28 July: The High Court rejects a legal challenge brought by Women for Refugee Women who argued that the detention of women asylum seekers in the new Derwentside centre without access to in-person legal advice was unlawful. (Women for Refugee Women, 28 July 2022) 

Protesters outside Derwentside detention centre with placards on the ground and protesters standing around
Protesters outside Derwentside detention centre. Credit: No To Hassockfield Campaign

28 July: Welfare groups call for more suitable accommodation for Ukrainian refugees staying in a cruise ship docked in Edinburgh after the Scottish government paused its refugee sponsorship programme for lack of accommodation. Those on board report seasickness and confinement in small rooms. (Guardian, 28 July 2022)

28 July: Plans to house 481 asylum seekers in former university accommodation in Stafford are rejected after a local outcry, with some residents relying on tropes of asylum criminality to object whilst a councillor cites the inadequacy of the facilities. (Express & Star, 28 July 2022; BBC News, 28 July 2022)

31 July: Asylum seekers raise concerns about Home Office hotel accommodation after a family suffers food poisoning from a meal containing worms provided by contractor Serco, leading to a 4-year-old child being taken to hospital. (Guardian, 31 July 2022)

1 August: In the first nine months of 2022, the Belgian reception agency Fedasil is fined at least 1,216 times for failing to provide shelter for asylum seekers, with the state secretary for migration, who contests the fines, openly stating that ‘the current policy is to avoid penalty payments at all costs’. (Brussels Times, 1 August 2022)

Deportations

2 August: The Home Office admits to a secret deportation programme after World War II which saw about 2,000 Chinese seamen, many with British wives and children, rounded up and shipped back to China in the holds of cargo ships. The men had volunteered for the British merchant navy for the Battle of the Atlantic and remained in Liverpool at the end of the war. (Guardian, 2 August 2022)

Crimes of solidarity

1 August: In what German NGO Sea-Watch describes as ‘a victory for sea rescue’, the European Court of Justice finds against Italy, which seized two of the NGO’s ships in 2020, ruling that overcrowding of a rescue ship cannot constitute legal grounds for impounding the ship when it docks. (Euronews, 1 August 2022)

The Sea-Watch 3 vessel at sea.
One of Sea-Watch’s vessels patrolling the Central Mediterranean. Credit: Sea-Watch.

ELECTORAL POLITICS | GOVERNMENT POLICY

19 July: After the long-delayed Forde report into allegations of bullying, racism and sexism in the Labour party is published, black MPs Dianne Abbott and Kate Osamor accuse the Labour leader of ignoring its finding of systemic discrimination against Black and ethnic minority members of the party. (Guardian, 26 July 2022; Open Democracy, 28 July 2022)

26 July: Zsuzsa Hegedüs resigns as advisor to the Hungarian prime minister, describing as a ‘pure Nazi text’ Viktor Orbán’s speech at a summer school in Romania, where he said that countries which accepted ‘mixed race people’ are ‘no longer nations’, and referred to the concept of ‘population exchange’. (Deutsche Welle, 27 July 2022)

28 July: The extreme-right Finns Party applauds the Administration Committee of the Finnish parliament after it approves reforms which would permit the government to close its eastern border to asylum applicants in the event of a ‘hybrid campaign’ against the country. (Helsinki Times, 28 July 2022)

28 July: Tory leadership candidate Rishi Sunak pledges to double the number of deportations of ‘overseas offenders’ if elected, by extending deportation powers to include minor offences such as shoplifting. Both candidates promise to expand restrictive immigration policies such as offshoring of asylum seekers. (Guardian, 28 July 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.

29 July: Protesters in Reading and Bristol who disrupted library drag queen reading events are linked to the Independent Nationalist Network (which includes former members of the BNP and Patriotic Alternative) and Sovereign Citizens, who believe they have the right to opt out of laws to which they do not consent, and swear in members as ‘Common Sense Constables’. (BBC News, 29 July 2022)

POLICING | PRISONS | CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

20 July: Cambridgeshire constabulary officer Daniel Buckett appears in court on a racially aggravated public order charge related to an off-duty incident at the Lola Lo nightclub in 2021. (Cambridge News, 20 July 2022)

21 July: The College of Policing updates its guidance on ‘Protecting freedom of expression’, stating that non-crime hate incidents should not be recorded where ‘they are trivial, irrational, or if there is no basis to conclude that an incident was motivated by hostility’. (College of Policing, 21 July 2022)

22 July: The Public Accounts Committee warns that under the government’s uplift programme to recruit 20,000 extra constables, up to a third of all police officers in England and Wales will be inexperienced constables still in their probation period. (Independent, 22 July 2022)

22 July: The Metropolitan police, facing legal action from Liberty, rescind a Community Protection Notice issued to a man filming an officer carrying out a stop and search in Shoreditch, banning him (amongst other sanctions) from ‘loitering or being found’ near any residential area in Hackney. (Liberty, 22 July 2022)

22 July: The leaders of Haringey and Enfield Councils in London and the Turkish Police Association complain to the Metropolitan police about ‘negative racial stereotyping of people of Turkish heritage’ and offensive racial stereotyping of Middle Eastern and Asian heritage people in a degree-level police training course designed by Babcock International with the Met and four London universities. (Haringey Community Press, 22 July 2022)

25 July: Data obtained by LBC shows that from 2019 to 2021, 799 children aged between 10 and 17 were strip-searched whilst not in custody, with more than half black (436), and three-quarters from ethnically diverse backgrounds (607).  There was no outcome or arrest in just under half of cases, mostly linked to searches for drugs. (LBC, 25 July 2022)

26 July: The High Court rejects the Met police’ appeal against a ruling that its dismissal of senior black officer Supt Robyn Williams for her inadvertent receipt of a child abuse video was unfair. (Guardian, 26 July 2022)

27 July: The Northern Police Monitoring Project criticises the Greater Manchester gangs unit X Calibre and Caribbean Carnival organisers after 50 young people receive letters denying them entry on the ground that anyone who is ‘either a member of a street gang’ or ‘perceived by others to be associated to a gang’ is prohibited from attending. (NPMP, 27 July 2022)

28 July: Following a critical verdict at an inquest and representations from the family, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) announces that due to compelling reasons, it will reinvestigate police contact with Darren Cumberbatch prior to his death in hospital in Nuneaton in 2017. (IOPC, 28 July 2022)

29 July: Two Metropolitan police constables and a former constable appear in court on charges of sending ‘grossly offensive’ racist, sexist and misogynistic messages in the ‘Bottle and Stoppers/Atkin’s Puppets’ WhatsApp group, which included Sarah Everard’s killer Wayne Couzens. (Independent, 29 July 2022)

30 July: In Greece, Omnia TV criticises officers of the Hellenic police for using Instagram to share racist content, material supportive of the far Right, or designed to humiliate and threaten perceived ‘enemies’. (OmniaTV, 30 July 2022)

1 August: The IOPC launches investigations into referrals by the Met police of strip-searches of two 16-year-old boys without an appropriate adult present at Ilford and Bethnal Green police stations in 2020. It has received 11 referrals from the Met relating to incidents between December 2019 and March 2022. The IOPC also issues safeguarding recommendations to the Met. (Guardian, 1 August 2022)

COUNTER-TERRORISM AND NATIONAL SECURITY

24 July: The Met police send letters to London’s primary and secondary schools for distribution to parents, warning them of the risk of online ‘radicalisation’ over the school holidays, with Det Supt Corrigan of the Met’s counter-terrorism command referring to Islamic State videos with sign language and claiming that in London, Islamic terror threats exceed those from the far Right. (Observer, 24 July 2022) 

EDUCATION

22 July: Southwark Council, which introduced the first ‘inclusion charter’ last week, aiming to tackle disruptive children within mainstream schooling rather than exclude them, hits back at criticism from Department for Education behaviour tsar Tom Bennett, a supporter of exclusion. Southwark schools excluded no pupils in autumn 2021. (Evening Standard, 22 July 2022)

27 July: Research by the Centre for Transforming Access and Student Outcomes in Higher Education (TASO) finds that university summer schools designed to attract disadvantaged students and those from diverse backgrounds do not reach those who would benefit most. (THE, 27 July 2022)

HOUSING | POVERTY | WELFARE

21 July: The final evidence sessions of the Grenfell inquiry feature accounts of how each of the 72 victims of the blaze died on 14 June 2017. More than 300,000 documents and 1,500 witness statements have been submitted to the inquiry in 308 days of evidence. (Guardian,  21 July 2022)

A Grenfell United placard reading "This much evidence still no charges"
Grenfell United placard: ‘this much evidence, still no charges’. Credit: duncan c, Flickr.

EMPLOYMENT | EXPLOITATION | INDUSTRIAL ACTION

20 July: The National Association of Italian Ministries (ANCI) documents exploitation against at least 10,000 migrant farm workers living in ‘informal settlements’ where they lack basic services and elementary rights. (Euronews, 20 July 2022)

27 July: An investigation is launched into  exploitation and sub-standard living conditions of Filipino, Bengali and Ukrainian workers at   construction site of chemical giant Borealis in Antwerp, Belgium, run by Irem-Ponticelli, as it emerges that a Ukrainian worker  recently had his hourly wage reduced to 7 Euros. (Nieuwsblad, 27 July 2022)

28 July: In Finland, a record number of victims of labour, sexual exploitation and forced marriage (185 people in the first six months of 2022) are referred to the assistance system for victims of human trafficking. Victims, mostly in restaurants and cleaning industries, are from Finland, Iraq, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Afghanistan, Russia and Morocco. (Helsinki Times, July 2022) 

30 July: MPs call for the NHS to halt the use of repayment clauses in overseas healthcare workers’ contracts stipulating penalties of up to £14,000 if they quit their jobs early. Likened to debt bondage by human rights lawyers and unions, the increasing use of this previously unlawful practice comes at a time of critical workforce shortages in the NHS. (Guardian, 30 July 2022)

31 July: Migrant live-in care workers providing round-the-clock attention are having pay cut by employers to cover ‘accommodation costs’, a Nottingham university study finds, also highlighting cases of sexual harassment and racist abuse. (Guardian, 31 July 2022)

HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE

20 July: A report by Hunter Healthcare for the Seacole Group finds that a quarter of BME non-executive directors of NHS trusts have seen or experienced discrimination in their work. (Guardian, 20 July 2022)

21 July: A Greenpeace UK report says that globally and nationally, systemic racism and the legacy of colonialism mean that BME people are disproportionately vulnerable to toxic environments, through dumping, waste incinerators, air pollution and little or no access to outdoor space at home. (Guardian, 21 July 2022)

21 July: As the promised public inquiry into the government’s response to Covid opens, its chair, retired appeal court judge Heather Hallett, promises that inequalities will be ‘at the forefront’ of the investigation, which will not start taking evidence for a year and is expected to take several years. (Guardian, 21 July 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.

29 July: North Yorkshire police criticise online newspapers for falsely claiming that a black man Samuel Diatta, 39, who died shortly after being restrained by a store worker and members of the public at a jewellery store in York, had been involved in robbery. (York Press, 29 July 2022)

29 July: Culture secretary Nadine Dorries grants Grade II listed status to a plaque of Victorian imperialist Cecil Rhodes on Oriel college Oxford, near the statue which became the focus of the ‘Rhodes must Fall’ campaign. The decision overrides Historic England’s refusal to list the plaque, and prevents its removal. (Guardian, 29 July 2022)

RACIAL VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT

For details of court judgements on racially motivated and other hate crimes, see also POLICING | PRISONS | CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM.

27 July: A 46-year-old man is jailed for 22 months for assault, theft and racially aggravated harassment at Bradford Crown Court after elbowing a security guard in the face, knocking out three of her teeth in a Halifax supermarket, and racially abusing a police officer during his arrest. (Examiner Live, 27 July 2022)

28 July: CCTV images are released following the racially aggravated assault of a worker at an off licence in Poole, Dorset. (Dorset Eye, 28 July 2022)

30 July: In Civitanova Marche, Italy, a man is charged with murder after Nigerian street seller Alika Ogorchukwu, 39, is beaten to death in broad daylight, sparking demonstrations and outrage that bystanders chose to record the incident on mobile phones rather than intervene. Police, who say the arrested man had mental health problems, do not consider racism an aggravating factor. (Observer, 30 July 2022; ANSA, 30 July 2022)

30 July: In Spain, the Social Rights Minister and the Andalusian ombudsman condemn a  vigilante mob who in mid-July, allegedly responding to the death of a bouncer in a local nightclub, looted and set fire to the homes of six Romani families in the small Andalusian town of Peal de Becerro (Jaén). (Romea, 30 July 2022)

The calendar was compiled with the help of Graeme Atkinson, Sira Thiam, Oscar Herzog Astaburuaga, Donari Yahzid, Sophie Chauhan and Joseph Maggs. Thanks also to ECRE and Stopwatch, whose regular updates on asylum, migration 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.


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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