Calendar of Racism and Resistance (22 June – 6 July 2022)


Calendar of Racism and Resistance (22 June – 6 July 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   

26 June: In Scotland, an independent inquiry into the treatment of asylum seekers during the pandemic is launched, a victory for Refugees for Justice who called for the review after the stabbings at the Park Inn hotel, Glasgow, in 2020. (Halesowen News, 26 June 2022)

30 June:  The High Court grants permission for a legal challenge to a new Home Office policy which will remove residence rights from ‘pre-settled’ EU citizens who fail to apply in time for permanent residence, a policy which could disproportionately affect Gypsies, Roma and Travellers and other marginalised groups. (Guardian, 30 June 2022)

30 June: The independent inspector of borders and immigration, David Neal, says the Home Office is undermining his role by failing to publish his reports within the specified time, or to implement his recommendations on standards for asylum decisions and accommodation, despite agreeing them. (Independent, 1 July 2022)

1 July: The Guardian reveals that nearly 200 former local British embassy staff in Afghanistan, eligible for relocation to the UK remain in hiding, in fear for their lives, waiting for the Home Office and the Ministry of Defence to respond and bring them to safety. (Guardian, 1 July 2022)

1 July:  The EU Court of Justice rules that Lithuanian national law, which allows for automatic detention of those who have irregularly crossed borders, is incompatible with EU legislation. (InfoMigrants, 1 July 2022)

Borders and internal controls

26 June: After official acknowledgement that 23 migrants, attempting to cross from Morocco into the Spanish enclave of Melilla, died while attempting to enter a border control zone, NGOs say that delays in medical assistance led to 37 deaths in total, that the Moroccan authorities plan to bury victims without identification or investigation of cause of death, and that an independent investigation is needed. (Guardian, 26 June 2022; Guardian 27 June 2022)

The Melilla border fence.
The Spanish-Moroccan border fence in Melilla. Credit: Stephane Grueso, Flickr.

27 June:  On the first anniversary of the introduction of emergency border legislation, Amnesty International documents Lithuania’s record of pushbacks, illegal detention and torture in militarised centres, as well as deceit by lawyers advising those seeking protection. (Amnesty International, 27 June 2022)

28 June: Testimony by six Moroccan and Syrian men reveal recruitment under duress by Greek authorities who used them to ferry migrants, who were stripped, robbed and assaulted by police, back to Turkey via the Evros river in illegal pushbacks, in return for a police note permitting them a month’s stay in Greece. (Guardian, 28 June 2022)

29 June: Tens of refugee and migrant support groups refuse a Home Office request to participate in a social media ‘information’ campaign to deter people seeking to come to the UK from northern France and Belgium, saying the scheme is a ‘racist design to keep people out, not keep them safe’. (Morning Star, 1 July 2022)

2 July: Thousands of people demonstrate across Spain against the militarisation of borders. In Rabat, the Collective of Sub-Saharan communities in Morocco, demonstrating outside parliament, calls on the government to ‘stop playing the role of EU policeman’. Proceedings against 65 of the migrants, mostly Sudanese, are launched in Morocco. (The Local, 2 July 2022)

3 July: A Home Office equality impact assessment accepts that its digitisation of rent and work checks in force since April, involving a ban on the use of paper documents to prove residence rights and penalties for landlords and employers who accept them, is likely to lead to another ‘Windrush’ scandal. (Independent, 3 July 2022)

3 July: Child asylum seekers are being ordered to hand over social media log-in details and passwords to local authorities in cases where their age is disputed, it is revealed, in what lawyers and refugee groups say is a clear violation of their privacy. (Independent, 3 July 2022)

Reception and detention

23 June: It is revealed that 28,000 asylum seekers are stuck in hotel accommodation, some for up to a year, with many suffering ill health from bedbugs, mould and vermin. (Independent, 23 June 2022)

25 June: A joint study by the Observer and Liberty Investigates reveals that at least 107 asylum seekers died in Home Office-provided accommodation in the six years from April 2016, including at least 17 by suicide or suspected suicide. Since January 2020, 82 have died, half of whom were flagged as vulnerable. (Observer, 25 June 2022) 

27 June: One person is killed and five injured, some seriously, after a resident at an asylum shelter in Kressbronn, on Lake Constance, southern Germany, stabs residents indiscriminately. (Euronews, 27 June 2022)

28 June: The Home Office announces that Campsfield House in Oxfordshire, closed four years ago amid concerns about excessive use of detention, is to be re-opened in 2023 as a removal centre for up to 400 men, as figures show the numbers of immigration detainees rose to over 25,000 in the year to March, after a drop from 32,000 to 24,000 in 2019. (Independent, 28 June 2022)

Campsfield House immigration detention centre
Campsfield House immigration detention centre. Credit: Pierre Marshall, Wikimedia Commons.

5 July: A plan for an ‘initial assessment centre’ for up to 180 male asylum seekers at the former RAF Coltishall base, Norfolk is scrapped following local opposition. (Eastern Daily Press, 5 July 2022)

Deportations

24 June: In Iceland, the government admits liability, awarding damages to an Albanian woman who in 2019 was issued a ‘fit to fly’ certificate and deported alongside her husband and 2-year-old child despite independent medical advice that as she was nine months pregnant, she was unfit to fly. (Reykjavik Grapevine, 24 June 2022)

29 June: Up to 30 people including many in the UK for decades, and grandparents of British children, are deported to Nigeria and Ghana, as campaigners call on leaders of African and Caribbean countries to refuse to accept deportations. (The Voice, 30 June 2022; Guardian, 26 June 2022)

30 June: Home secretary Priti Patel signs an agreement with Nigeria to enable speedy deportations there, by the issue of travel documents for prospective deportees within five working days. (Daily Mail, 1 July 2022) 

30 June: The Swedish government commissions an inquiry into the setting up of ‘return centres’ for rejected asylum seekers close to airports and appoints an ‘investigator’ to consider whether police and security services should be granted more deportation enforcement powers. (The Local, 30 June 2022)

30 June: The European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, tells Greece to stop ‘violent’ and ‘illegal’ deportations of asylum seekers or risk losing funds, and announces that a new system to safeguard fundamental rights will be put in place by September. (Al Jazeera, 30 June 2022)

3 July: The Independent reveals that the Home Office has refused freedom of information requests to detail the costs of the Rwanda scheme, apart from the initial £120 million paid to the Rwandan government and has also refused to disclose the costs of its failed Channel pushback policy. (Independent, 3 July 2022)

Citizenship

22 June: As Windrush Day is celebrated four years after the scandal broke, it is revealed that only one in four applicants has received payments under the compensation scheme, with Home Office officials demanding ‘impossible’ proof of losses. (Guardian, 22 June 2022)

5 July: After a protracted struggle by rights groups, France repatriates 51 French citizens – 35 children and 16 mothers – from Kurdish-run camps in northern Syria, where disease and malnutrition are rife. (Deutsche Welle, 5 July 2022)

ELECTORAL POLITICS | GOVERNMENT POLICY

22 June: In an investigation into the implications in the UK of the overturning of Roe v Wade, the case that kept abortions legal throughout the US, Open Democracy warns that the UK anti-abortion movement could become emboldened, with UK Christian Right groups with links to the US set to increase activity. (Open Democracy, 22 June 2022)

24 June: Spanish foreign minister Jose Manuel Albares says that ‘hybrid threats’ that impact on ‘our sovereignty’, such as irregular migration, should be included in the new policy roadmap of NATO. (ECRE Weekly Bulletin, 24 June 2022)

27 June: The far-right Brothers of Italy and the rightist coalition which includes the League fail to make inroads in the second round of local elections in 65 Italian cities, with the centre-left Democratic party winning many cities in run-offs. (AA, 27 June 2022)

28 June: The far-right Vox party increases its share of the vote in a regional vote in Andalusia, Spain; it now has 14 seats (up by two), but the victorious conservative Popular Party does not need Vox support to form a government, as had been predicted. (Guardian, 28 June 2022)

29 June: After two Rassemblement National MPs, Hélène Laporte and Sébastien Chenu, are elected as vice-presidents of the French National Assembly, the left opposition accuses the presidential coalition of doing deals with Le Pen and reinforcing the ‘normalisation’ of her far-right party. (Le Monde, 30 June 2022)

30 June: Finland and Sweden sign a trilateral accord with Turkey allowing them to join NATO on condition that deal speedily with Turkish extradition requests of terror suspects. The Turkish justice minister, who had pressed for extradition of Kurdish, particularly PKK, and Gülen movement militants, claims that Finland has already received extradition requests (denied by Finland), and at a press conference, the Turkish president claims that Sweden has promised to extradite 73 Turkish nationals. (Euronews, 30 June 2022; Middle East Monitor, 1 July 2022)

2 July: The mayor of Bílina, in the Ústecký region of the Czech Republic, posts on Facebook that the Refugee Facilities Administration at the interior minister has accepted his declaration that Romani refugees from Ukraine will not be accommodated in a private building previously earmarked for such use. (Romea, 2 July 2022)

4 July: Legal experts warn that clauses in the UK’s new ‘bill of rights’ specifically exempt laws created by ministers from its new free speech test – meaning it will not protect people from the ‘various threats to free speech posed by the government’. (Independent, 4 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. See also COUNTER-TERRORISM AND NATIONAL SECURITY.

23 June: Sheffield Crown Court jails four neo-nazis from Keighley, West Yorkshire, members of an ‘extreme fascist cell’ that celebrated racist violence and killing, for firearms offences. Two are found guilty of various terrorist offences. (Daily Mail, 23 June 2022)

29 June: Britain First leader Paul Golding and another member enter the Bruce Hotel, East Kilbride, where 60 asylum seekers are housed, harassing residents, two days before a planned welcome event at the hotel, deterring many from attending the event. (Daily Record, 5 July 2022)

30 June: On its Telegram channel, the neo-nazi Misanthropic Division announces the death in Kharkiv on 1 June of Wilfried Bleriot, a French volunteer to Ukraine’s International Legion who they claim ‘fought bolshevism and antifascism all his life’ and died defending Europe and Ukraine from ‘Asiatic hordes’. (The Intercept, 30 June 2022)

2 July: Two men are arrested, accused of deliberately ramming the car of Lars Thorsen, leader of Stop the Islamisation of Norway after pursing Thorsen at high speed when he burned a Qur’an in Mortensrud, a suburb of Oslo with a large Muslim community. (Arab News, 2 July 2022)

3 July: It is revealed that the Royal Navy promoted sailor Kenneth McCourt to work with weapons, including on submarines carrying nuclear missiles, despite his known links to the far Right, including Generation Identity UK and the neo-nazi Patriotic Alternative. Police Scotland are investigating. (Observer, 3 July 2022)

4 July: A court in Warsaw, Poland, sentences far-right extremist Tomasz M to a three-year jail term for a plan hatched in 2019 to ‘carry out attacks using explosives and poisonous substances’ against mosques, Muslim religious leaders and politicians. (Notes from Poland, 4 July 2022)

POLICING | PRISONS | CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

23 June: Three Metropolitan police officers who received and shared pictures of the murdered black sisters Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry on a WhatsApp group receive written warnings following a misconduct meeting, but keep their jobs. Former Met superintendent Dal Babu claims that the punishment does not reflect the nature of their actions. (Guardian, 23 June 2022)

24 June: The Metropolitan police refer 8 new cases of strip-searches of children, aged 14 to 17, occurring between December 2019 and March 2022, to the IOPC. No information as to the children’s identities is given. (Guardian, 24 June 2022) 

26 June: After De-Shaun Joseph, a 14-year-old black boy suffering from asthma, is thrown to the floor and handcuffed by Croydon police on his way home from school in a mistaken identity stop and search, his mother tells ITV that she was worried her son would be ‘the next George Floyd.’ (ITV News, 26 June 2022)’

27 June: Lawyers acting for the Grenfell Tower community accuse the Met police of Islamophobia after discovering that in its Grenfell Community Impact Assessment, written four days after the fire, Kensington & Chelsea police predicted ‘crime and disorder’ due to the fact that ‘the majority of those affected are believed to come from a Muslim cultural background’. (Inside Housing, 27 June 2022)

Grenfell protest art at a bus stop
Bus stop art demanding justice for Grenfell victims. Credit: duncan c, Flickr.

27 June: A freedom of information request by JCWI reveals that police have referred 2,656 crime victims to the Home Office as potential ‘immigration offenders’ since May 2020. (New Statesman, 27 June 2022)

28 June: Merseyside police are accused of institutional racism after aiming guns at two young black men during a stop and search in Toxteth. Footage of the search, in which nothing was found, was circulated online and attracted widespread criticism. The police force maintains that the stop was ‘justified and appropriate’. (Liverpool Echo, 29 June 2022)

29 June: A report to the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster shows an increase in the number of stop and searches of Black and Asian people despite the crime commissioner’s promise in 2021 to overhaul stop and search. (Express and Star, 29 June 2022)

29 June: Three Metropolitan police officers based at Bethnal Green police station appear at a gross misconduct hearing accused of sharing racist and other grossly offensive messages, including comparing the Duchess of Sussex to a ‘golliwog’ toy and calling a Black boy a monkey, on a WhatsApp messaging group. (Guardian, 29 June 2022)

30 June: The Norwegian Police Directorate announces that while Pride events can resume, a decision to arm the police, taken after an Islamist shooting spree in Oslo (see counter-terrorism and national security below), will remain in place for the foreseeable future. (The Local, 30 June 2022)

4 July: As several black teenagers from Manchester are jailed for between eight and 21 years for conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm as a result of a Telegram chat, Lucy Powell MP writes to the justice minister protesting the injustice of the case. Kids of Colour organise a protest march, which results in 500 people offering to mentor the young men in prison. (Guardian, 1 July 2022; Guardian, 4 July 2022)

5 July: An official inquiry led by a retired judge finds that Jermaine Baker, who was unarmed when he was killed by a police marksman known as W80 in north London in December 2015, was killed lawfully in an act of self-defence. Twenty-four errors were recorded in the Met’s planning and conduct of the armed operation against three men preparing to spring a prisoner. (Guardian, 5 July 2022)

COUNTER-TERRORISM AND NATIONAL SECURITY

25 June: Norwegian police issue a terror alert, saying that the Norwegian national of Iranian origin arrested after two people were killed in consecutive shootings in Oslo, one at a gay bar, is a radicalised Islamist with a history of mental illness. Muslim organisations in Norway condemn the killings. Facebook closes the account of extremist Arfan Bhatti, believed to have had contact with the killer, after he justified the death penalty for homosexuals in Islam. (Guardian, 25 June 2022; News in English.no, 27 June 2022)

28 June: A 15-year-old boy from Haworth, West Yorkshire, suspected of extreme-right involvement, is charged with several terrorism offences. (Independent, 28 June 2022)

EMPLOYMENT | EXPLOITATION | INDUSTRIAL ACTION

3 July: The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) urges universities to be vigilant against human trafficking after international students vanish from courses and are found working in exploitative conditions in care homes. (Observer, 3 July 2022)

EDUCATION

25 June: The Blue Coat School in Liverpool changes the title of five of its houses from names of people who had ‘historical links to the slave trade’, invoking instead people who ‘pioneered science and challenged slavery’. (BBC News, 25 June 2022)

27 June: The accommodation block at Clare College, Cambridge, titled The Colony, is renamed to discourage unsuitable links to ‘the slave trade and colonialism’. (BBC News, 27 June 2022)

1 July: Universities UK write to the higher education minister objecting to her suggestion that they pull out of Advance HE’s Race Equality Charter because ‘external assurance schemes are negatively impacting free speech’. Vice-chancellors claim the Department for Education is working in tandem with the right-wing press, citing a piece in the Sunday Telegraph which linked the charter to ‘egregious wokery’. (Times Higher Education (£), 1 July 2022; Times Higher Education, 5 July 2022)

HOUSING | POVERTY | WELFARE

29 June: A report reveals that Roma in Bradford are living in accommodation inhabited by terrier-sized rats as government officials continue to neglect the housing problems of UK travellers. (Al Jazeera, 29 June 2022)

30 June: The Peabody Trust in south-west London fails to keep its promise to rehouse 19 BME tenants in affordable and reliable housing after they were evicted from St John’s Hill estate, Clapham, to make way for new development. (Guardian, 30 June 2022)

HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE

26 June: The largest ever review of the care and treatment of dementia sufferers, commissioned by the Alzheimers Society, finds ‘woeful’ standards failing South Asian sufferers at every stage from diagnosis onwards, in a system designed for white patients. (Guardian, 26 June 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.

27 June: Rugby Union team Newcastle Falcons launches an internal investigation after former player Luther Burrell says he was on the receiving end of racist comments within a larger climate of racist ‘banter’ between team-mates. (BBC News, 27 June 2022)

27 June: Following a community consultation, the governing body at Goldsmiths University in south-east London says that statues of four historic figures with links to the slave trade will not be removed, but that explanation panels will be placed by the statues and a schools educational programme launched. (Evening Standard, 5 July 2022)

28 June: After former racing driver Nelson Piquet uses a racial epithet to describe F1 champion Lewis Hamilton, Hamilton tweets ‘these archaic mindsets need to change and have no place in our sport.’ (Guardian, 28 June 2022)

28 June: Cricket commentator Michael Vaughan steps back from BBC work after it emerges that England and Wales Cricket Board’s disciplinary commission has charged him with bringing the game into disrepute, in relation to an alleged racist comment about Muslim players. (Guardian, 28 June 2022)

1 July: Germany hands back to Nigeria two Benin bronzes stolen by British soldiers in the 19th century, and signs a restitution agreement to return 1,100 more currently held in various German museums. (Guardian, 1 July 2022) 

2 July: In Brussels, Belgium, the authorities in Ixelles are charged with a planning violation after the mayor removed, on Congo’s Independence Day, a statue of General Emile Storms who conquered large parts of the Congo on behalf of King Leopold II. (Brussels Times, 2 July 2022)

5 July: Edgbaston Cricket Ground opens an investigation into allegations of racist abuse towards Indian fans on day four of the England vs India 5th cricket test. Fans say that they faced offensive gestures and racial slurs, with no action taken by the stewards. (Republic World, 5 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.

16 April: A group of unknown male attackers punch and kick two men in a racially aggravated assault in Bridgwater, fracturing one victim’s jaw and cheekbone. (Somerset Live, 30 June 2022)

24 June: A 15-year-old boy from Wakefield admits to the online racial abuse of Sheffield United striker Rhian Brewster on 17 March 2021. West Yorkshire Police place the teenager on an educational programme. (BBC News, 24 June 2022)

27 June: Two 17 and 18-year-old males are racially abused and assaulted while out walking in Kensington, Liverpool. The unknown male perpetrator draws a knife after they respond to his racist remarks, cutting one victim’s neck and the other’s arm. (Liverpool World, 27 June 2022) 

28 June: A 46-year-old man from Sutton in Nottinghamshire is found guilty of assaulting and racially abusing police officers on 30 July 2020. He is handed a 12 week suspended sentence and a total of £1400 in fines. (Chad, 28 June 2022)

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


Headline image: The Spanish-Moroccan border fence in Melilla. Credit: Stephane Grueso, Flickr.


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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