Calendar of Racism and Resistance (25 September – 8 October 2020)

Calendar of Racism and Resistance (25 September – 8 October 2020)


Written by: IRR News Team

A fortnightly resource for anti-racist and social justice campaigns, highlighting key events in the UK and Europe.


Asylum and migrant rights

26 September: The Home Office’ refusal to grant EU nationals with settled status physical proof of their right to be in the UK and its insistence on a digital system is already causing problems, says Maike Bohn, co-counder of the 3 million campaign for EU citizens in the UK, and the lack of a paper biometric residence permit as a back-up could mean denial of vital services when the Home Office online database fails to work properly. (Guardian, 26 September 2020)

28 September: Over 70 high-profile actors, musicians, comedians, artists and sports players write to the prime minister urging a change in the UK’s restrictive refugee family reunion law, which does not allow child refugees to apply for their parents or siblings aged over 18 to join them in the UK. (Guardian28 September 2020)

30 September: The Home Office publishes a ‘comprehensive improvement plan’ which promises a ‘fairer, more compassionate’ department, a claim provoking scepticism among migrants’ rights organisations, Windrush survivors and the author of the Windrush Lessons Learned Review, Wendy Williams. (Guardian, 30 September 2020)

1 October: Kelvin Bilal Fawaz, a former England amateur boxer who spent 16 years in legal limbo, constantly threatened with deportation, after escaping from domestic servitude following being trafficked from Nigeria, wins his legal battle with the Home Office for the right to remain the UK. (Guardian, 1 October 2020)

5 October: Peers protect the right to refugee family reunion by defeating the government by 317 to 223 in the House of Lords on an amendment designed to ensure that provisions of the Dublin III regulation which allow asylum seekers to join family in the UK, continue to have effect in UK law after transition. (Guardian, 5 October 2020)

5 October: The number of refugees in Germany drops for the first time since 2011, causing some to argue that Germany is not doing enough to care and protect those seeking asylum and refuge. (The Local, 5 October 2020)

Reception and detention

23 September:  The Greek government announces that as part of a new strategy to better fortify the EU’s external borders, by the end of 2020 Samos will be the first Greek island to host a ‘closed camp’. (Deutsche Welle, 23 September 2020)

24 September: The Home Office is considering housing Channel boat migrants in Morton Hall, an immigration removal centre in Lincolnshire known for its high levels of violence and self-harm which is scheduled for closure and reversion to a prison next year. The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants calls the proposal a ‘shameless rebranding of the detention estate’, saying the centre is ‘simply not fit to accommodate those in need of protection’. (Guardian, 24 September 2020)

25 September: The inquiry into the mistreatment of detainees at Brook House Immigration Removal Centre begins its preliminary hearing. (Medical Justice, 23 September 2020)

25 September: Eight families comprising 30 people are evicted from a squat in Montpellier, France, that they have occupied for a year in the absence of state provision. None of the families has been given alternative housing. (, 25 September 2020)

27 September: Around 250 people from 70 charities protest in Calais against a local ban on distributing food to migrants in the city centre, which an administrative court refuses to annul. (Guardian, 27 September 2020)

Calais. Photo source: Author: Lekies

27 September: A 61-year-old Afghan man from the Malakassa camp, near Athens, where migrants had been placed under strict quarantine, dies in hospital of coronavirus.  (InfoMigrants, 28 September 2020)

29 September: French police clear and dismantle a migrant camp in Calais which was home to about 700 people, in the biggest such operation since the sprawling camp known as the ‘Jungle’ was broken up four years ago. (Guardian, 29 September 2020)

30 September: Two migrants die and 18, all from Pakistan, are injured after fighting breaks out at the Bihac migration reception centre in northwest Bosnia and Herzegovina, as authorities attempt to empty the camps. Amnesty International says the attempt has left the reception system in disarray, with hundreds of people roaming the streets and forests looking for shelter. (Al Jazeera, 1 October 2020)

1 October: A complaint from six Midlands councils accuses the Home Office and its contractor Serco of being ‘beyond reckless’ in moving dozens of asylum seekers involved in a Covid outbreak from Birmingham to Hammersmith, west London, in August, despite an enforcement notice requiring all residents to self-isolate. A separate complaint from Hammersmith accuses the Home Office of moving Covid round the country, as nine of the 40 people brought to London tested positive although the Home Office said none had it. (Guardian, 1 October 2020)

1 October: Young Iranian and Iraqi asylum seekers say they are shocked by being behind barbed wire in the military training camp in Penally where they are housed, and are very cold and with six to a room, cannot socially distance there. Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford joined migrant support groups in criticising the site’s unsuitability for vulnerable people. (BBC, 1 October 2020)

Barbed Wire. Photo source: Flickr. Author: gitte123

2 October: Fragments of old ammunition are found at the new Kara Tepe camp in Lesvos, Greece, built in five days after the Moria fire on the site of a former military firing range, raising fears, confirmed by toxicology experts, that asylum seekers held there, particularly young children, could be at serious risk of lead poisoning. (Al Jazeera, 2 October 2020)

2 October: UN officials condemn Malta’s migrant detention centres following an inspection revealing that migrants are detained sometimes for months in severely overcrowded conditions with little access to daylight, clean water, sanitation or to legal help. (Times of Malta, 2 October 2020)

6 October: A Brussels court condemns the Belgian state for its failure to provide reception facilities immediately asylum seekers register (which they have to do online during the pandemic), and gives the government 30 days to make the necessary changes, on pain of a €2,500 a day penalty (to a maximum of €10,000). (Brussels Times, 6 October 2020)

Borders and enforcement

23 September: The EU Commission’s proposal for a compulsory solidarity mechanism to distribute refugees around Europe as part of a new common migration policy is described as ‘unacceptable’ by the leaders of the Visegrad Group (Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia), while refugee support groups say its border procedures will ‘abolish the rule of law at the EU’s external borders’. (Statewatch, 23 September, Deutsche Welle, 24 September, 2020) 

24 September: 200 international students, among thousands who lost their right to live and study in the UK after accusations of cheating in English language tests needed for visas, write to the prime minister as part of their years-long campaign to clear their names. Over 1,000 students have been removed from the UK, and many detained in what Migrant Voice says is a ‘mammoth injustice’. (Guardian, 24 September 2020)

25 September: UNHCR issues new guidance on Libya, saying it is not a ‘safe third country’ to return asylum seekers to under refugee law, nor a ‘place of safety’ for the disembarkation of rescued people under the international law of the sea. (ELENA/ Refworld, 25 September 2020)

27 September: An investigation by the Guardian finds that since March the Greek New Democracy government has pursued a policy of illegal pushbacks across the Aegean Sea often involving teams of unidentified men in black uniforms who intercept boats and forcibly return them to Turkish waters. (Guardian, 27 September 2020)

30 September: Three major Italian trades unions criticise the proposed EU migration and asylum pact, which they argue will create more suffering and give states more freedom to choose not to rescue migrants at sea. (InfoMigrants, 30 September 2020)

Italian Trade Unions

1 October: A leak reveals that a tactic based on the Australian ‘turn back the boats’ policy was trialled in September to test a blockade in the Channel to prevent migrants’ boats landing in the UK. (Guardian, 1 October 2020)

1 October: Migrants’ groups and charities describe as ‘morally bankrupt’ newly revealed suggestions by the prime minister’s office to ‘offshore’ asylum seekers to processing centres on south Atlantic British overseas territories Ascension and St Helena, and to Moldova, Morocco and Papua New Guinea, as well as to repurposed disused ferries off the UK coast. Other ideas under consideration include a blockade or floating walls in the Channel to physically prevent boats from entering UK waters. (Guardian, 30 September, Guardian, 1 October, Guardian, 1 October 2020)

3 October: A former top civil servant warns that the government should not ‘repeat the policy mistakes of the past’, in response to leaked plans to deter migrant crossings including holding migrants on decommissioned ferries. (Guardian, 3 October 2020)

3 October: The judge adjourns to November the pre-trial hearing of far-right League leader Matteo Salvini, charged with abuse of power and kidnap over the refusal of landing to 116 migrants in 2019 under his ‘closed ports policy’, and orders the prime minister and other ministers to attend as witnesses. (Guardian, 2 October, Deutsche Welle, 3 October 2020)

4 October: Home secretary Priti Patel promises the Conservative party conference that she will fix the ‘fundamentally broken’ asylum system with new laws which would deny asylum to people using ‘illegal’ routes to enter the UK. Human rights lawyers and activists say this would be unlawful and would make things worse not better. (Guardian4 October 2020)

Criminalisation of solidarity

28 September: Greek police say 33 members of NGOs and two foreign nationals face criminal charges relating to facilitation of illegal entry of asylum seekers from Turkey to Greece, including running a criminal organisation, espionage, and violation of state secrets, in an echo of the 2018 ERCI case involving Seán Binder and Sara Mardini. (Ekathimerini, 28 September 2020)

2 October: A German court rules that changes in shipping security laws introduced in August, which prevented NGOs’ search and rescue vessels from leaving port, contravened EU law, freeing them from detention. (Are You Syrious, 2 October 2020)

6 October: The Law Society asks Priti Patel to modify her ‘dangerous’ rhetoric, which puts immigration lawyers at risk of physical attack and undermines the legal system, after the home secretary criticised lawyers representing migrants, linking them directly with traffickers, at the Conservative party conference on 4 October. (Guardian, 6 October 2020)


24 September: The Spanish government reopens all its immigration detention centres, all emptied of detainees between March and May, in readiness for resuming deportations, halted during the pandemic, despite the new wave of infections. (El Diario, 24 September 2020)

28 September: A 27-year-old lesbian asylum seeker wins a ruling that her deportation to Uganda in 2013 was unlawful, as her asylum claim was dealt with under the ‘detained fast track’ system, later declared unfair and unlawful. The Home Office was ordered to bring her back to the UK in 2019. (Guardian, 28 September 2020)

2 October: The Justice Inspectorate reports on its inspection of a charter flight of asylum seekers to France and Germany, in which two of 14 detainees escorted by 86 guards attempted or achieved self-harm. Read the report here. (Justice Inspectorate, 2 October 2020)

2 October: As the Home Office backs down on its decision to detain Osime Brown, a 21-year-old Jamaican with severe autism, learning difficulties and a heart condition, pending his deportation to Jamaica, which he left aged four, his UK-based mother and siblings urge campaigners to continue fighting Osime’s deportation, arising from a 2018 theft conviction under joint enterprise laws subsequently held unlawful. (Independent, 6 October, Deighton Pierce Glynn, 6 October 2020)

2 October: Italy is to carry out 600 deportations every month from October under a new agreement with Tunisia. (Taz, 2 October 2020)


5 October: Research by the Roma Support Group reveals that the Roma community are being left unable to access vital support and exposed to exploitation due to the government’s new digital-only status for EU citizens which leaves them struggling to prove EU settled status. (Independent, 5 October 2020)


For more information on policing and civil liberties issues follow @NETPOL @BigBrotherWatch @COVIDStateWatch and @libertyhq.

24 September: As the home secretary introduces the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill, which would allow police and intelligence services to authorise informants to break the law, human rights groups led by Reprieve urge the setting of clear limits to law-breaking by agents, and an explicit ban on murder and torture. (Guardian, 24 September 2020)

24 September: It is announced that the Lowry Museum in Salford will partner with the Ministry of Justice to become a temporary court dealing with the backlog of family, criminal and tribunal cases. (Saddleworth Independent, 24 September 2020)

24 September: Alexandra Wilson, a black barrister who was mistaken for a defendant three times in one day – by a court clerk, a solicitor and a security guard – in an Essex magistrates’ court, receives an apology from the Courts Service. (BBC News, 24 September 2020)

27 September: Groups including Liberty, Black Lives Matter UK, the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, the Traveller Movement and Big Brother Watch demand that the emergency coronavirus legislation, that has allowed ministers to impose dramatic restrictions on individuals’ liberties without debate in parliament, be scrapped. (Independent, 27 September 2020)

28 September: The Department of Health and Social Care confirms that from today, police are to start self-isolation spot checks based on ‘local intelligence’ tip-offs. (Mirror, 28 September 2020)

28 September: A study carried out by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Women in the Penal System says that thousands of women are needlessly arrested each year, with up to half later released by police with no further action taken. (Independent, 28 September 2020)

30 September: The Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody says the number of deaths from natural causes in English and Welsh prisons is ‘unacceptably high’. (Guardian, 30 September 2020)

30 September: With Labour abstaining, MPs vote by 330 votes to 24 to extend the Coronavirus Act, which grants unprecedented emergency powers to police, for a further six months. (AP, 30 September 2020)

1 October: Poor rates of legal aid pay are leading to some junior barristers earning less than the minimum wage and driving out BME barristers, as well as women and state-educated barristers, all of whom are more likely to work in publicly-funded areas of law, says the Bar Council. (Guardian, 1 October 2020)

3 October: Youth worker Nathanial James, 33, tells Birmingham Live that, despite having no criminal record, he has been stopped 300 times by West Midlands police since he was 11 years old. A hundred of these were stop-and-searches. (Birmingham Mail, 3 October 2020)

2 October: A misconduct hearing is set for 12 October for six Basingstoke police officers accused of homophobic, racist, and sexist comments whilst working at Basingstoke’s North Hampshire Police Investigation Centre between March and April 2018. (Basingstoke Gazette, 2 October 2020)

3 October: A black criminal lawyer designs a free app to allow anyone at risk of being stopped and searched by police to film incidents to ensure they have an ‘independent witness’ to any interactions. (Guardian, 3 October 2020)

4 October: The Prison Reform Trust says the suspension of rehabilitation programmes in prison due to coronavirus fears is delaying the release of thousands of prisoners who have to complete the programmes to be released. (Guardian, 4 October 2020)

5 October: It is revealed that US police used British anti-riot gear to strike protesters at Black Lives Matter protests, despite the government saying that no UK-made equipment was used to repress peaceful protest. (Guardian, 5 October 2020)

5 October: Human rights lawyers warn the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) that they have questions to answer over racial profiling after Black and non-national BLM protesters are called in for questioning under serious organised crime laws, while no action has been taken against anti-lockdown protesters outside Stormont. (Irish News, 5 October 2020)

5 October: Policing minister Kim Malthouse announces a pilot scheme in six police areas to order offenders convicted of burglary to wear electronic tags on release, to ‘tell all police forces a former burglar has been in their area’ when new burglaries occur. (Guardian, 5 October 2020)

5 October: The accuracy of convictions stored on the Police National Computer (PNC) is questioned after two offences are wrongly recorded against a defendant. (Guardian, 5 October 2020)

5 October: The Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill passes its second Commons reading by 182 votes to 20, with 18 Labour MPs defying the party’s abstention whip to vote against the Bill. (Hansard, 5 October 2020)

6 October: Amnesty International delivers more than one million signatures from around the world to US Attorney General William Barr demanding justice for George Floyd. (Amnesty International, 6 October 2020)

6 October: A report by a Hackney youth-led monitoring group ‘Account’ reveals police use of handcuffs has increased by 158 percent in the last 3 years, and that young Black men are 6 times more likely to be stopped and searched in the borough. Many young people said they would not trust police to help them. (Hackney Gazette, 6 October 2020) 

German police/ military racism scandal

24 September: After alarm at the growing scandals surrounding far-right penetration of the German military, the head of its military counter-intelligence service takes early retirement. (New York Times, 26 September 2020)

28 September: A partially-published internal report reveals a six-year failure by Berlin’s police department to properly investigate a neo-nazi crime spree in the Neukölln district, with information on impending attacks not passed on to targeted trade unionists, bookstore owners and anti-racist politicians. One targeted politician, Ferat Koçak, says the report downplays the significance of police failures and ignores the perspectives of the victims. (Deutsche Welle, 28 September 2020)

1 October: German TV reveals that 25 Berlin police were part of a chat group which for several years shared racist content, describing neo-nazis as ‘possible allies’, and referring to refugees as ‘rapists’ and ‘rats’ and to Islam as the ‘fanatic culture of primates’. (Berlin Spectator, 1 October 2020)

1 October: Local media report that four domestic intelligence staff in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia shared anti-Islam or xenophobic content on chat groups and social media. Three of the suspects worked for an intelligence team which monitored right-wing extremism, now disbanded according to a ministry spokesperson. (Deutsche Welle, 1 October 2020)

6 October: On the publication of the first ever report by the domestic intelligence services into the far Right and law enforcement, German federal interior minister Horst Seehofer denies any issues of ‘structural racism’, citing the finding that fewer than 1 percent of police, security agencies and military personnel have far-right sympathies (a total of 319 cases). Anti-racism campaigners dispute the analysis, citing its lack of independence and its selective presentation of facts. (Deutsche Welle, 6 October, Guardian, 6 October 2020)


2 October: French president Emmanuel Macron says new legislation against religious ‘separatism’, aimed at freeing Islam in France from ‘foreign influences’, is to be introduced in December. Local officials will have legal powers to combat extremism, mosques placed under greater control, and state-funded Islamic organisations will have to sign a ‘secular charter’. More funding will be given to education and research into Islamic culture. (Guardian, 2 October 2020)


24 September: An 18-year-old from Pakistan, who arrived in France three years ago as an unaccompanied minor, seriously injures two people in a knife attack outside the former offices of Charlie Hebdo, where 12 people were killed in January 2015. The young man tells detectives he was angered by magazine’s republishing the cartoons mocking the prophet Mohammed, which triggered the initial attacks, to mark the start of the trial of 14 alleged accomplices. (Guardian, 25 September, Observer, 26 September 2020)



26 September: Campaigners demand that home secretary Priti Patel issue a public apology, saying she incited racial hatred at a Zoom meeting with Jewish leaders in which she said she was determined to stamp out the ‘criminality that takes place … through Traveller communities and unauthorised encampments’. (Independent, 26 September 2020)

27 September: 61.7 percent of Swiss voters in a referendum reject the proposal of the  anti-immigration Swiss People’s Party, to end an agreement with the EU on free movement of people. The SVP had declared on its website, ‘migrants change our culture’ and ‘practically half of all welfare recipients are foreigners’.  (Guardian, 25 September, Guardian, 27 September 2020)

26 September: Actor Laurence Fox announces he is launching a new political party, provisionally named ‘Reclaim’. Dubbed a ‘UKIP for culture’ by the Telegraph, the party is believed to have received between £1 – £5 million in funding. Its stated aims are to protect free speech, reform publicly funded bodies such as the BBC and charities to ensure they are ‘free from political bias’ and to ‘preserve and celebrate our shared national history, cultural inheritance and global contribution’. (Telegraph, 26 September, Guardian, 27 September 2020)

28 September: The news site Romea criticises Roma politicians in the Czech Republic for standing in elections for the far-right Freedom and Direct Democracy movement which, in its campaign for regional and Senate elections in Brno, utilised the slogan ‘For Healthy Schools without Inclusion’, a dog-whistle attack on the Roma community. (Romea, 28 September 2020)

28 September: Alternative for Germany sacks its parliamentary spokesperson Christian Lueth, after he is secretly recorded suggesting that migrants coming to the country could be ‘shot’ or ‘gassed’. Its Baden-Württemberg parliamentary caucus expels Stefan Raepple after he reportedly called for the violent overthrow of the government. (Guardian, 28 September 2020)

30 September: Nearly half of Conservative party members believe Islam is a threat, and nearly 60 percent believe there are ‘no-go’ areas of the country governed by shari’a law where non-Muslims cannot enter, according to a YouGov poll of over 1,200 party members. (Guardian, 30 September 2020) 


23 September: The UK’s most senior anti-terrorism officer, Met police assistant commissioner Neil Basu, warns MPs that interest in far-right extremist violence is rising during the pandemic, particularly among young people, with children of 13 talking about committing terrorist acts. (Guardian, 23 September 2020)

26 September: Concern is rising as far-right activists attempts to ‘fuel hate’ in areas such as Folkestone, where around 400 asylum seekers are being housed in former army barracks. Nick Wilkinson, who leads Kent Country Council’s response to extremism, says people are ‘trying to fuel hate within our communities’ and spread misinformation online. (BBC, 26 September 2020)

28 September: Five eastern German states combine to launch an early warning system to stop the spread of far-right networks, highlighting the need to stop neo-nazis holding concerts, purchasing real estate and renting properties. (Deutsche Welle, 28 September 2020)

 28 September: On Yom Kippur, Nordic Resistance Movement branches in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Iceland target worshippers outside synagogues and distribute antisemitic literature, declaring they want to draw attention to ‘foreign customs and Zionist ruling plans throughout the Nordic region’. (Jewish Chronicle, 29 September 2020)

2 October: Jurors at Birmingham Crown Court convict a 17-year-old who had joined the Feuerkrieg Division (FKD), on charges of preparing acts of neo-nazi terrorism. (Birmingham Mail, 2 October 2020)

4 October: Across the Midlands, local citizens’ groups rally in support of refugees, holding peace vigils and offering practical support to those targeted during a series of far-right invasions of hotels accommodating refugees during the pandemic. (, 4 October 2020)

5 October: German local authorities around Lake Constance ban the use of the imperial-era Reichsflagge, as thousands of people, including the far Right and neo-nazis, descend on the area to protest the coronavirus restrictions. A counter peace protest is held. (Independent, 5 October 2020)

7 October: In a landmark ruling in a trial that has lasted over five years, the Athens Court of Appeals convicts the leadership of the neo-nazi Golden Dawn, including all its MPs, of either directing or participating in a criminal organisation. Supporter Giorgos Roupakias is found guilty of murdering Pavlos Fyssas, with nine others convicted as accessories to murder.  Three defendants are found guilty of the attempted murder of Egyptian fisherman Abouzid Embarak, and four are convicted of grievous bodily harm against three members of the PAME trade union. (Amnesty International press release, 7 October 2020) 

Memorial to Pavlos Fyssas. Photo Credit: Liz Fekete


24 September: A study published in the journal Infection, Genetics and Evolution demonstrates that genetic factors are not behind the disproportionate acquisition of Covid-19 by ethnic minorities, as some scientists and doctors suggest, with pre-existing medical conditions, environmental and socio-economic factors responsible. (Metro, 24 September 2020)

28 September: The British Association of Dermatologists’ (BAD) Covid-19 skin patterns website, which features images of Covid-associated rashes, is criticised for showing black or brown skin in only two out of 400 images. (Guardian, 28 September 2020)

1 October: Research by Manchester University commissioned by London mayor Sadiq Khan finds that black people are nearly twice as likely to die from Covid-19 than white people. Khan urges the government to tackle inequalities causing the disproportionate impact of the virus. (Express and Star1 October 2020)

2 October: The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ race equality taskforce meets campaign group Fivexmore to launch ‘five steps for healthcare professionals’, aimed at addressing the needs of pregnant BME women, who are five times more likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth, and are also at greater risk of their baby dying in the womb or soon after birth and of severe long-term health problems. (Guardian, 2 October 2020)

6 October: Gurch Randhawa, professor of diversity in public health and director of the Institute for Health Research at the University of Bedfordshire, warns the government to step up and tackle the structural inequalities affecting BME communities, or risk ‘witnessing another significant and disproportionate rise of Covid-19 related deaths among ethnic minority communities’. (Guardian6 October 2020)


 24 September: The mainly Latina traders at Elephant & Castle, Europe’s first ever large indoor shopping centre, say they are being pushed out as the centre closes after 55 years after Southwark Council sold it for redevelopment. (Guardian, 24 September 2020)

Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre. Photo source: Flickr. Author: Lazlo Ilyes

30 September: The Grenfell Inquiry hears that austerity-driven council cuts at the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea had slashed staff numbers from ten experienced building inspectors to one recent graduate attempting to deal with 130 building projects at once. (Guardian, 30 September 2020)

5 October: Bereaved family members of the Grenfell Tower fire threaten the government with legal action over its ‘misleading and inadequate’ proposal not to implement inquiry recommendations relating to the evacuation of people with disabilities from tower blocks. (Inside Housing, 5 October 2020)



 24 September: Analysis by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) suggests that BME people are twice as likely to have difficulty paying their usual bills and expenses in the next three months as a result of the pandemic. (Guardian, 24 September 2020)

25 September: The Resolution Foundation warns that a third of households in some parts of the UK will lose £1,000 a year if the chancellor with the planned withdrawal of the £20 a week pandemic boost to tax credits and universal credit. (Guardian, 25 September 2020)

29 September: A new report by Human Rights Watch finds that a poorly designed algorithm at the heart of universal credit is causing claimants to go hungry and fall into debt, and is sometimes punishing those in irregular work. Read the report here. (Human Rights Watch, 29 September 2020)

30 September: Fifty charities write to chancellor Rishi Sunak warning that 700,000 people, including 300,000 children, will be ‘cut adrift’ into poverty if the government cuts the £20-a-week benefits uplift brought in during the pandemic. (Guardian, 30 September 2020)



23 September: As the German parliament considers legislation to ban the use of subcontractors and agency workers in the meat industry, 800 police raid more than 40 private homes and business premises in five states as part of an investigation into smuggling of eastern European agency workers into an industry repeatedly linked to coronavirus outbreaks. (Guardian, 23 September 2020)

27 September: A digital fashion show, We are Made in Italy, featuring collections by five black Italian designers, highlights the racism of the Italian fashion industry, where black designers are generally unable to make a living. (Guardian, 27 September 2020)

27 September: A report by ethical investment consultant Pirc suggests that food factories supplying UK supermarkets and restaurants have reported fewer than one in thirty Covid-19 infections to the Health and Safety Executive – only 47 notifications, with at least 1,461 infections and six deaths found by Pirc. Employers have a legal duty to report cases where there is ‘reasonable evidence’ suggesting the infection occurred at work. (Guardian, 27 September 2020)

29 September: Low wages in social care will have ‘stark consequences’ when free movement ends on 1 January, warns the Migration Advisory Committee, as most frontline jobs in the sector pay too little to be eligible for the post-Brexit skilled worker immigration route or the official ‘shortage occupation’ list which allows recruitment from abroad. (Guardian, 29 September 2020)

30 September: As Boohoo announces pre-tax profits up by 51 percent in the six months to 31 August, the Trades Union Council says unions should be given access to more workplaces and parent companies should be jointly liable for sub-contractors’ abuses, after an independent report finds that fast fashion retailer Boohoo knew of endemic problems in its Leicester suppliers, including breaches of minimum wage laws and life-threatening fire risks, and failed to take adequate remedial action. (Guardian, 25 September, Guardian30 September 2020)

Boohoo. Photo Source: Flickr. Author: martin errand


27 September:  New non-statutory Department for Education guidance for implementing the school curriculum warns schools not to work with or use resources from ‘extremist’ organisations that seek to abolish capitalism, promote ‘victim narratives’ or criticise the state using selective or unsubstantiated criteria. (Observer, 27 September, Schools Week, 28 September 2020)

28 September: The IRR report How Black Working-Class Youth are Criminalised and Excluded in the English School System warns that black working-class young people in England are being unfairly excluded and criminalised by a ‘two-tier education system’. Read the report here. (Guardian, 28 September 2020)

How Black Working-Class Youth are Criminalised and Excluded in the English School System, IRR, 2020

29 September: Centre for Social Justice research reveals that ethnic minority children in Hackney are up to four times more likely than their white peers to receive multiple fixed-term exclusions from school, while exclusions of Gypsy and Traveller children in Sheffield are nearly nine times that of white children. (Hackney Citizen, 29 September 2020)

29 September: The University of Loughborough suspends a student in the first week of term after he posted a racist Snapchat story moaning about being stuck in ‘an ethnicity flat’ with people who ‘stink’. (Mirror, 29 September 2020)

30 September: A new Teach First report finds that exam board AQA does not feature a single book by a black author among set texts for its GCSE English literature syllabus. (Guardian, 30 September 2020)

30 September: Oxford University announces a ‘Black academic futures’ programme which will provide 10 postgraduate scholarships for Black British students starting studies in 2021. (Guardian, 30 September 2020)

1 October: The Coalition of Anti-Racist Educators (Care) and Black Educators Alliance (BEA) send a pre-legal action letter to the government over the DfE’s new guidance to schools, saying it would prevent teachers from using material from groups including Black Lives Matter and Extinction Rebellion, limiting anti-racism teaching. (Guardian, 1 October 2020)

2 October: Cambridge university announces a geography scholarship for Black and mixed Black heritage students. (University of Cambridge, 2 October 2020)

2 October: After calls for Black history to be part of the curriculum in English schools are taken up by Labour leader Keir Starmer, the founder of leading education campaign, Black Curriculum, says ministers are taking ‘way too long’ over it. (Guardian, 30 September, Guardian, 2 October 2020)

6 October: The European Court of Justice finds that Hungary’s higher education law, which forbids foreign universities operating in Hungary, breaches EU law as well as World Trade Organisation rules on fair market access. The law forced the relocation of the Central European University, funded by George Soros, from Budapest to Vienna. (Deutsche Welle, 6 October 2020)



24 September: Following criticism of a lack of diversity, the British Academy of Film & Television Awards (BAFTA) announces an overhaul of its awards system, including adding 1,000 new members from underrepresented backgrounds to its committee to better recognise diverse talent. (Guardian, 24 September 2020)

24 September: The Imperial War Museum opens Refugees, displays and installations on 100 years of the refugee experience, including immersive film footage of the now-destroyed Moria camp. The free exhibitions continue until 24 May 2021. (IWM, 24 September 2020)

30 September: The trial opens in France of four people, including Congolese activist Mwazulu Diyabanza, on theft charges arising from an anti-colonialism protest in June in which they livestreamed an attempt to remove a 19th-century African funeral pole from the Quai Branly Museum in Paris. (Al Jazeera, 30 September 2020)

30 September: In a review of Westminster’s parliamentary art collection, 232 items are found to have links to the transatlantic slave trade, with the majority depicting figures involved in the trade and five satirical prints reflecting racist attitudes from the 19th century. (Guardian, 30 September 2020)

1 October: Royal Mail’s marking of Black History Month by painting four post boxes black, and turning them into billboards to celebrate the stories of four prominent black people, is criticised as ‘tokenistic’ by activists, who call for practical reforms, and satirised by comedian Munya Chawawa. (Guardian, 1 October 2020)

1 October: A UK version of the #ShareTheMic campaign launches on Instagram, in which 70 prominent white women hand over their Instagram accounts to black women to amplify black female voices. (Guardian, 1 October 2020)

4 October: Right-wing commentator Charles Moore, the prime minister’s choice for the role of chair of the BBC, who has been accused of racism, Islamophobia and homophobia for his writing, rules himself out of the post, citing personal reasons. (Guardian, 4 October 2020)

6 October: Right-wing commentator Katie Hopkins is forced to apologise to Finsbury Park mosque for a tweet in May falsely linking the mosque to a violent incident in May, after the mosque began legal action against her. (Guardian, 6 October 2020)

Finsbury Park Mosque. Photo source: Flickr. Author: Matt Buck

6 October: Laurence Fox is sued for defamation for calling Stonewall deputy chair Simon Blake a ‘paedophile’ after Blake called his boycott of Sainsburys over their Black History Month celebrations racist. (Mirror, 6 October 2020)

8 October: Musician Gaika is invited to take part in an art project titled ‘Flight Recorder’ at private member’s club The House of St Barnabas as part of an exploration of the club’s ties to slavery. The club was rebuilt by slave owner Richard Beckford who enslaved hundreds of people in Jamaica, including Gaika’s ancestors. (Guardian, 8 October 2020)


24 September: One in ten football fixtures in the 2019-20 season in England and Wales – 287 – had an incident of hate crime, according to Home Office statistics, with three-quarters related to race, while arrests for racist and indecent chanting more than doubled from the previous season, from 14 to 35, despite over 500 matches being cancelled or played behind locked doors.  (Guardian, 24 September 2020)

30 September: The Football Association’s new diversity code, created to improve the lack of diversity in non-playing roles in clubs, gets government backing. It recommends clubs should give interviews to every candidate from a BME background who applies for an off-field job. (inews, 30 September 2020)

1 October: The Rugby Football League launches a four-point racial inclusivity plan, TACKLE IT, to diversify the game’s talent pool, improve the culture and encourage reporting of discrimination. (BBC, 1 October 2020)

1 October: UK Sport launches an investigation into the British Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association after Colin Rattigan, the only black member of its board, reported he had suffered discrimination, harassment and bullying. (Guardian, 1 October 2020)

 2 October: Yorkshire County Cricket Club confirms it has begun an investigation into allegations of institutional racism, after former T20 captain Azeem Rafiq said his experiences of racism left him ‘on the brink of suicide’. (Sky Sports, 2 October 2020)

5 October: PureGym apologises for its Luton and Dunstable branch advertising a ‘12 Years of Slave’ workout to mark Black History Month, stating it was ‘wholly unacceptable’. (Sky News, 5 October 2020)


23 September: Racist attacks are growing year on year in Bracknell according to Thames Valley Police’s most recent crime summary, which shows incidents rising from 155 in 2017/18 to 238 between September 2019 and August 2020. (Bracknell News, 23 September 2020)

25 September: A man whose food van was torched in a suspected racist attack on 22 September in Moston, Manchester says he ‘will come back stronger’, after £70,000 was raised to replace the van in two days, with donations coming from notable football players and the public. (BBC News, 25 September 2020)

26 September: A Canterbury MP condemns the individuals who scrawled racist graffiti including a swastika and ‘EDL’ over a sign welcoming people to the White Cliffs of Dover, after an image circulating on social media showed the offensive daubings over the National Trust site’s board. Park Rangers are working to remove them. (Kent Online, 26 September 2020)

27 September: A group of young people are ejected from Watford Hollywood Bowl after displaying offensive racial terms onscreen, including ‘Hindu’, ‘P*ki’, ‘Mr Bomber’ and ‘Arab’, causing an Egyptian family playing in a bowling lane nearby to complain about the racially provocative names after confronting the group.  (Watford Observer, 27 September 2020)

28 September: The European Network Against Racism calls for ‘an urgent institutional response’ to a surge in racist attacks in Portugal, as the head of SOS Racismo, Mamadou Ba, reveals he has received death threats and bullets through the post. Attacks and complaints of racism have soared since the election of André Ventura, leader of far-right party Chega (Enough) to parliament a year ago. (Guardian, 28 September 2020)

28 September: A 30-year-old man is spat at in a racially aggravated assault in York. Police are requesting the public’s assistance to help identify the suspect. (York Mix, 2 October 2020)

1 October: Footage is shared of a white van reversing into a woman wearing a hijab in Ilford on 29 September, knocking her to the ground, and then speeding off in an apparent racially-motivated deliberate hit-and-run. Police say they are trying to locate the driver. (Sun, 1 October 2020)

3 October: A 27-year-old man is jailed for choking a taxi driver in Leeds with his own seat belt and biting him in the face over a dispute about the fare on 8 September. (Daily Mail, 3 October 2020)

4 October: A curry house owner is subjected to a racist outburst from a customer who grabs him by the blazer as he delivers a takeaway, in an altercation over delivery charges. The restaurant suffered racist trolling on TripAdvisor in December 2019. (Birmingham Mail, 4 October 2020)

5 October: Police search for two women who subjected after an elderly couple to a racially aggravated attack in Regents Park on 13 August, in which the 75-year-old woman suffered a dog bite to her hand and the 79-year-old man sustained cuts and bruising after he was assaulted and pushed to the ground. (Evening Standard, 5 October 2020)

5 October: Britain’s Got Talent contestant Nabil Abdulrashid reveals that he received death threats and abuse in the wake of his successful semi-final audition. (Independent, 5 October 2020)

5 October: Antisemitic slogans are pasted on the walls of a Jewish cementry in Nikea, south-west Athens. (Ekathimerini, 5 October 2020)

5 October: A Jewish man sustains severe head injuries in an attack by a man in camouflage clothing and armed with a spade, outside a synagogue in Hamburg. On his arrest, the assailant has a hand-drawn swastika in his pocket. (Guardian, 5 October 2020)

6 October: Campaigners publish an interactive map of hate crimes in Spain 1990 to 2020, with information on the deaths of 103 people. View the map here. (Vanguardia, 6 October 2020)

6 October: Research for the Journal of the European Economic Association reveals a 12 percent increase in the likelihood of hate crimes against refugees, particularly violence, in German municipalities where anti-refugee posts are placed on the Facebook page of Alternative for Germany (inews, 6 October 2020)

The calendar was compiled with the help of Aisha Rana-Deshmukh, Laura Wormington, Graeme Atkinson, Kaiisha Kukendra and Neal Tank.

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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