A fortnightly resource for anti-racist and social justice campaigns, highlighting key events in the UK and Europe.
25 February: Home Office statistics reveal that the number of unaccompanied asylum seeking children has increased by over 50 per cent in the last year, with 3,043 children seeking asylum in 2015, compared with 1,945 in 2014. The number being refused asylum is also increasing. (Children & Young People Now, 26 February 2016)
25 February: An increased caseload in immigration courts and a falling number of judges has led to ‘unacceptable delays’, according to the annual tribunals report by president Sir Ernest Ryder (Law Gazette, 26 February 2016)
25 February: Stuart McDonald, MSP, tables an early day motion (EDM): ‘Independent investigation into Compass asylum contracts’. View the EDM here.
26 February: New research is published on: Government policy on the private rented housing sector (PRS) since 2010. Download it here (pdf file, 96kb).
27 February: Marches and protests in support of refugees’ rights take place in 120 cities in thirty-two countries. (Independent on Sunday, 28 February 2016)
29 February: Chief Inspector of Prisons, Peter Clarke, calls for a limit on how long people can be held at immigration removal centres after finding that eighteen detainees at Harmondsworth had been held for more than one year. Download the report here. (Guardian, 1 March 2016)
29 February: Clashes erupt between police and migrants at the Calais ‘jungle’ camp after authorities move in to dismantle parts of the site. (Guardian, 1 March 2016)
29 February: FYROM police fire tear gas at 300 migrants trying to cross the border from Greece. (Ekathimerini, 1 March 2016)
1 March: Allegations that asylum seekers in Glasgow faced being locked out of their homes after their applications were turned down, in breach of guidelines, are to be investigated by MPs. (Guardian, 1 March 2016)
1 March: Lacuna examines the death of Amir Siman-Tov in Colnbrook immigration removal centre, on 17 February 2016. (Lacuna, 1 March 2016)
2 March: A Sudanese asylum seeker is found dead in his tent in the ‘Jungle’ camp in Calais, France. He was diabetic and it is believed he died after suffering a heart attack. His is the third death in the camp in Calais since the start of the year. (Passeurs d’hospitalités, 8 March 2016)
3 March: Right to Remain publishes an updated version of its ‘Toolkit: A guide to the UK immigration and asylum system and taking action for the right to remain’. View the toolkit here.
4 March: The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee publishes an investigation into asylum housing which finds local authorities unwilling to take part in a dispersal scheme for asylum seekers, who are housed in low-cost housing areas such as Glasgow, Stoke and Middlesbrough. Download the report here. (Guardian, 4 March 2016)
4 March: The House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts publishes: E-Borders and successor programmes. Download the report here (pdf file, 277kb).
4 March: The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) publishes: Right to Rent: A Tenant’s Guide to the Landlord Immigration Checks. Download the guide here.
7 March: The BBC reports that migrants are being targeted by fraudsters claiming to be Home Office staff, who threaten them with deportation if they do not pay. (BBC News, 7 March 2016)
7 March: The UK sends troops to join a NATO operation in the Aegean sea to intercept and return people trying to reach Europe from Turkey. (Guardian, 7 March 2016)
7 March: The first international-standard refugee camp opens in Grande-Synthe, near Dunkirk in France, built by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) with the support of the local town hall. The local mayor Damien Careme states that ‘It’s a great day for human solidarity … I’ve overcome a failure of the state’. Immediately after the opening, French authorities seek to close the camp down, citing building standards. (Medecins Sans Frontieres, 9 March 2016)
8 March: An inspection by HM Inspector of Prisons of three short-term holding centres in Folkestone and Dover, including a freight shed, finds that migrants arriving in unprecedented numbers were held in poorly ventilated, smelly conditions, in some cases forced to sleep on concrete floors, and kept hungry. Download the report here. (KentOnline, 8 March 2016)
Violence and harassment
21 February: Police say that they are treating a suspected petrol-bomb attack, on a building of multi-occupancy flats for asylum seekers in Liverpool, as potentially racially motivated. (Liverpool Echo, 24 February 2016)
27 February: A 31-year-old Asian man has part of his finger cut off with a meat cleaver during a racist attack by two white men as he uses a cashpoint in Rotherham. (BBC News, 28 February 2016)
29 February: Dale Jones, 30, is told he must serve a minimum of 32 years in prison for the ‘sickening’ racist murder of 81-year-old Mushin Ahmed in Rotherham last year. Another 30-year-old man, Damien Hunt, is jailed for 14 years for Mr Ahmed’s manslaughter. (Asian Image, 29 February 2016)
1 March: Arson investigators move in as a fire destroys a warehouse full of donated clothes and bedding for refugees on the Greek island of Kastelorizo. (Ekathimerini, 1 March 2016)
1 March: Essex Police obtain an Injunction to Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance (IPNA) against Colchester man Robert Green, 57, to stop him racially attacking and abusing his neighbours, many of whom are elderly. (Maldon and Burham Standard, 8 March 2016)
3 March: A Zimbabwean family’s new home in Wigan, specially adapted for their disabled child, has been targeted by racists, which has resulted in the family refusing to move in. Racist graffiti has been painted, windows smashed and their car tyres slashed. (Wigan Today, 3 March 2016)
4 March: Simon Lawrie, 31, is given an 18-month suspended prison sentence, 150 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £500 compensation after admitting a racially aggravated assault on a pizza delivery driver in Pontefract who was left with a broken jaw and cheekbone. (Yorkshire Evening Post, 4 March 2016)
6 March: Figures reveal that 650 racist attacks, abuse and graffiti on London’s rail network have been reported since 2013 with only 13 arrests made following investigations. (Evening Standard, 6 March 2016)
Policing and criminal justice
22 February: An investigation into UK police services by the Traveller Movement, using freedom of information laws, reveals that less than one in five record and monitor their interactions with Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers. (Travellers’ Times, 22 February 2016)
26 February: The Home Office publishes details of an ‘Independent review of deaths and serious incidents in police custody’. View the consultation documents here. The consultation closes on 6 May 2015.
1 March: Following a second investigation into the 2008 death of Sean Rigg in police custody in Brixton, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) refers the case to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for consideration of criminal charges against five police officers. (Independent, 2 March 2016)
1 March: The South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) publishes the report of a review conducted by Andrew Lockley and Imam Mohammad Ismail: Policing protests in Rotherham: Towards a new approach. Download the report here.
2 March: The IPCC rules that a Metropolitan Police investigation into ‘racist’ comments about Gypsies and Travellers on a secret Facebook group for serving and retired police officers called ‘I’ve met the Met’ was not thorough enough, since it had failed to contact any of the officers using the group. (Travellers’ Times, 3 March 2016)
2 March: Joint Enterprise Not Guilty by Association (JENGbA) publishes issue no.37 of its Newsletter. Download it here (pdf file, 943kb).
2 March: The IPCC publishes reports on its involvement in ‘a number of aspects related to investigations by the Metropolitan Police Service into the murder of Stephen Lawrence’. View and download the reports here.
3 March: Paul Flynn, MP, tables an EDM on: ‘Police Corruption’. View the EDM here.
4 March: Following freedom of information requests, the Morning Star reveals that in 1976, undercover officers followed Grunwick strikers from picket lines to meetings, with detailed reports of the strikes and of anybody showing solidarity with the strikers. View and download the documents here. (Morning Star, 4 March 2016)
8 March: The IPCC publishes: Police use of force: evidence from complaints, investigations and public perception. Download the report and associated documents here.
8 March: An inquest jury finds that restraint and communications failures led to the death of 57-year-old Philmore Mills at Wexham Park Hospital in Slough in December 2011 after he was restrained by police and hospital staff. The coroner calls for a national review of police restraint. (Guardian, 8 March 2016)
9 March: The IPCC sends a file to the CPS into the death of Leon Briggs at Luton police station in November 2013 after his detention under the Mental Health Act. The CPS must consider whether to bring charges against a police detention officer and five police officers involved in his death. (Luton on Sunday, 9 March 2016)
27 February: Far-right protesters, the North-West Infidels, are escorted out of Liverpool by police after attempting to hold a demonstration where they are outnumbered by anti-fascists. (Liverpool Echo, 27 February 2016)
1 March: A handful of Britain First protesters stage a ‘hapless’ demonstration outside a mosque in East London. (Independent, 2 March 2016)
9 March: EDL Newark Division organiser, Chris Conry, 26, pleads guilty to racially aggravated offences and is given a 12-month supervision order and 200 hours of community service after damaging the property of Eyup Sepet in Newark. (Newark Advertiser, 9 March 2016)
6 March: In local elections in Hesse, Alternative for Germany wins an average of 13.2 per cent of the vote, the anti-immigration party’s best ever result in western Germany. In the small town of Leun, the neo-nazi National Democratic Party of Germany wins 17 per cent of the vote, and 14 per cent in Büdingen, home to the largest refugee shelter in Hesse. (The Local, 7 March 2016)
6 March: The far-right Slovak National Party gains 8.6 per cent of the vote in the general election. People’s Party – Our Slovakia makes its first election breakthrough with 8 per cent of the vote. (Politico, 7 March 2016)
25 February: Laolu Opebiyi is removed from a flight to Amsterdam at Luton airport when a passenger reports him to staff and police after seeing a message about a ‘prayer’ [group] on his phone. (Guardian, 3 March 2016)
27 February: CAGE publishes a briefing paper: Consent Denied: How PREVENT Questions Children Without Parental Involvement. Download the paper here.
1 March: The Independent looks at how tax and immigration officers are among those who will be allowed to hack into people’s phones when the Investigatory Powers Bill, handing over huge new powers to public bodies, becomes law. (Independent, 1 March 2016)
7 March: Dawn Butler, MP, tables an EDM on: ‘40th Anniversary of action at the Grunwick Photo Processing Plant’. View it here.
23 February: Nominations open for the Refugee Festival Scotland Media Awards 2016. View details here.
1 March: A new law to regulate Islam comes into force in Austria. Muslim groups cannot accept money from foreign funders and must adopt a written code agreeing to foster ‘a positive attitude towards the state and society’. (EuroActiv, 3 March 2016)
6 March: A study reveals that 61 per cent of Paddy Power’s 349 betting shops are concentrated in poorer parts of England with a greater ethnic mix. They are believed to deliberately target these communities, who are susceptible to the addictive play enabled by fixed odds betting terminals. (Guardian, 6 March 2016)
19 February: Amnesty International publishes a report: Obstacle Course: How the UK’s National Contact Point handles human rights complaints under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, showing how multinationals are regularly let off the hook for human rights abuses. Download the report here.
9 March: Rhodes Must Fall campaigners hold a ’march for decolonisation’ through Oxford as part of their continuing campaign to get the Cecil Rhodes statue removed from Oriel College. (Guardian, 9 March 2016)