A fortnightly resource for anti-racist and social justice campaigns, highlighting key events in the UK and Europe.
Asylum & migration
27 January: The EU issues a draft anti-smuggling law which experts say could criminalise volunteers providing help to refugees and equate rescue with smuggling. Other proposals would require volunteers to register. (Statewatch, 27 January 2016)
29 January: A bomb squad carries out a controlled explosion after a hand grenade is thrown into a refugee shelter in the south-west German town of Villingen-Schwenningen, Baden-Württemberg. (Independent, 29 January 2016)
31 January: The EU’s police intelligence unit Europol says 10,000 unaccompanied refugee children have gone missing in Europe in the past two years, and fears that many have been trafficked into sex work or slavery. (BBC News, 31 January 2016)
31 January: The head of the police trade union accuses Frauke Petry, leader of Alternative for Germany (AfD), of having an ‘inhuman mindset’ after she says that border police should be authorised to shoot at refugees trying to enter the country. AfD MEP Beatrix von Storch causes a further outcry after posting on Facebook that women and children should be shot too. She later posts ‘the use of firearms against children is not permitted’ but ‘women are a different matter’. (Independent, 31 January 2016; Spiegel, 1 February 2016)
February: Civic Leicester starts a petition: ‘Drop all charges against refugee who walked through the Channel Tunnel’. Sign the petition here.
2 February: Refugee organisations report that thousands of asylum-seeking children are being denied access to education. (Guardian, 2 February 2016)
2 February: The local government ombudsman criticises Greenwich council’s lack of support for ‘vulnerable’ asylum-seeking children, after it made a series of errors dealing with a young Nigerian girl. (Children & Young People Now, 2 February 2016)
3 February: Immigration minister James Brokenshire refuses to review Portsmouth’s status as a hub for housing asylum seekers after Portsmouth city council appeal to be removed from a list of so-called ‘cluster areas’. (BBC News, 3 February 2016)
4 February: The advocate-general of the European court of justice rules that a Moroccan mother with a British-born son cannot be deported just because she has a criminal record. (Guardian, 4 February 2016)
4 February: The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration publishes a report which is highly critical of failings in Home Office decision-making and detention of vulnerable asylum seekers: An Inspection of Asylum Casework, March – July 2015. Download the report here.
5 February: The London School of Business and Finance has its permission to teach foreign students revoked, leaving the education of 350 international students at the private college under threat. (BBC News, 5 February 2016)
5 February: The Red Cross EU publishes a report: Europe in Crisis: Facilitating Access to Protection, (Discarding) Offshore Processing and Mapping Alternatives for the Way Forward. Download it here.
6 February: The French coastguard rescue four people from a dinghy drifting in the Channel after one person swam back to Sangatte to raise the alarm and is found suffering from hypothermia. (Guardian, 6 February 2016)
8 February: Two refugees, a woman and a teenage girl, are found frozen to death in the mountains of Bulgaria after crossing from Turkey, and fifteen more are taken to hospital with hypothermia. (Balkan Insight, 8 February 2016)
9 February: The Home Office revises figures on the numbers of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children deported to Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Iraq, Iran and Albania, revealing a significantly higher number of children who have been deported. (The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, 9 February 2016)
10 February: Cardiff council raises concerns about Lynx House, operated by Clearspings Ready Homes, which is used to house asylum seekers. It could be closed after concerns are raised about overcrowding at the centre, where managers have been criticised for making asylum seekers wear red wrist bands in order to get food. (Wales Online, 10 February 2016)
10 February: A government review of the housing of asylum seekers behind red doors in the north-east (which allegedly led to racist attacks) says that it was inadvertent and there was no intention to discriminate. (Gazette Live, 10 February 2016. Read the review here)
Policing & criminal justice
29 January: David Cameron asks Labour MP for Tottenham, David Lammy, to conduct a review of discrimination against black and ethnic minority people in the criminal justice system. (Observer, 30 January 2016)
4 February: The Guardian reveals that Sarah Reed, who died while on remand in Holloway prison, had told her family that she had been sexually assaulted while being treated at the Maudsley Hospital for mental health problems. (Guardian, 4 February 2016)
8 February: The funeral of Sarah Reed is followed by a vigil outside Holloway prison, where she died on 11 January. (Guardian, 8 February 2016)
8 February: The Law Commission is reviewing the existing law governing misconduct of public officials and is considering whether it should be abolished, retained, restated or amended. (Guardian, 9 February 2016)
9 February: In Bristol crown court, PC Kevin Duffy is sentenced to ten months’ imprisonment and PCSO Andrew Passmore to four months for misconduct in public office in connection with the racist murder of a disabled refugee, Bijan Ebrahimi. (Guardian, 9 February 2016)
9 February: The Ministry of Justice publishes: Review of the Youth Justice System: An interim report of emerging findings. Download the report here.
9 February: The inquest into the death of Philmore Mills at Wexham Park Hospital in Slough in December 2011 hears that Mills, who was being treated for pneumonia, was restrained and handcuffed by two police officers and two security staff at the hospital. (Guardian, 9 February 2016)
11 February: A report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary finds that one in seven stop and searches in England and Wales may be unlawful. (Guardian, 11 February 2016. Download the report here)
Violence & harassment
28 January: In Harrogate, a 19-year-old Asian teenager is punched and kicked in the head by two unidentified men who shout homophobic and racist abuse. (Northern Echo, 2 February 2016)
29 January: Mark Hobbs, an Englishman living in Limerick, is given a two-year sentence for threatening to kill Ali Aslan, and painting graffiti on his chip shop. Hobbs alleged that he had been influenced by TV reports on the murder of Lee Rigby. (Irish Independent, 29 January 2016)
29 January: Daniel Lloyd is sent for trial at crown court for assault and ABH after setting Ulises Dominquez-Garcia’s hair alight in a bar in Wrexham in November 2015. Magistrates’ chair John Peras says the attack was not racially motivated despite the victim alleging so. (Leader, 1 February 2016)
30 January: Police are investigating new developments in the 1993 Stephen Lawrence murder by examining DNA samples on an item discovered at the murder scene. The National Crime Agency is also investigating alleged police corruption in connection with the original murder investigation. (BBC News, 30 January 2016)
2 February: James Martin and Drew Hennerbry are found guilty of assaulting doorman Kazeen Gbaja, and other customers at the V Bar in Colchester in September 2014 and sentenced to 41 months and 24 months respectively. Martin and Hennerbry screamed racist abuse while attacking the doorman until he was left unconscious. (Clacton Gazette, 2 February 2016)
2 February: Gee Walker tell the Liverpool Echo that she feels ‘deeply betrayed’ that the Court of Appeal has cut the minimum sentence to be served by her son’s killer Michael Barton by one year after he carried out charity work in prison. Anthony Walker was murdered in a racist attack in 2005. (Liverpool Echo, 2 February 2016)
3 February: A masked gang armed with machetes attack a Muslim family of four in their Manchester home saying: ’We are going to kill you, Isis scum’. (Manchester Evening News, 4 February 2016)
4 February: Paisley man Kenny Macmillan is sentenced to twenty months in prison after he carried out a four-year campaign against his own girlfriend; he was convicted of domestic abuse after regularly beating and racially abusing his partner and mother of his children. (Daily Record, 5 February 2016)
7 February: The Sunday Herald reveals that a senior police officer whose team failed to treat the 2010 murder of Simon San in Edinburgh as racially motivated is now the most senior murder detective in Scotland. The original murder investigation was found to have significant failings. (Sunday Herald, 7 February 2016)
9 February: The trial begins of Dale Jones, 30, and Damien Hunt, 30, for the murder of 81-year-old Mushin Ahmed who was attacked as he walked to the mosque in Rotherham in August 2015. The two are accused of racially abusing and attacking the pensioner, who was left with the imprint of a shoe on his face. (Sheffield Star, 9 February 2016)
28 January: The Equal Opportunities Committee of the Scottish Parliament publishes a report: Removing Barriers: race, ethnicity and employment. Download the report here (pdf file, 2.4mb).
30 January: A study by the Institute for Social and Ethnic Research at the University of Essex finds ethnic minority graduates in Britain are much less likely to be employed then their white peers. (Guardian, 30 January 2016)
1 February: Research conducted by the TUC finds that black workers face a ‘massive pay gap’ that is steadily increasing. Black workers with a degree are paid £4.30 an hour less than white graduates. View the TUC analysis on ‘Black workers with degrees’ here. (Guardian, 1 February 2016)
7 February: New research by the University and College Union (UCU) finds that 90 per cent of black staff in further and higher education describe facing barriers in college and universities. The report further highlights 71 per cent of 631 academic professionals being either ‘often’ or ‘sometimes’ bullied and harassed by managers. (Independent, 9 February 2016)
28 January: A Deptford Green school supply teacher is dismissed after calling a 12-year-old Muslim boy a ‘terrorist’ after he complained about a detention. (Daily Mirror, 28 January 2016)
11 February: The government issues guidance demanding that universities do more to boost increase access to higher education among white working-class boys and address the high university drop-out rate of black students. (Guardian, 11 February 2016)
1 February: As of today, landlords who let property are required to carry out immigration checks on renters. Experts say that seven in ten landlords do not understand their obligations. Landlords can be fined up to £3,000 for violating the law. (Guardian, 1 February 2016)
3 February: North Somerset Council is ordered to review its housing allocation policy in relation to Gypsies and Travellers after a Traveller challenged the local connection requirement for housing. (Inside Housing, 5 February 2016)
29 January: Around 100 black-clad masked men rampage through Stockholm, beat up immigrants at the central railway station and hand out leaflets threatening to punish ‘North African street children’ for the killing of a social worker at a refugee centre for unaccompanied minors. Police hold football hooligans responsible, but are contradicted by the neo-Nazi Swedish Resistance Movement which claims responsibility. (The Local, 30 January 2016)
30 January: Far-right and anti-fascist protesters clash in Dover after far-right groups hold an anti-immigration protest. A number of people are injured and three people are arrested (Guardian, 30 January 2016)
1 February: Bedfordshire police are seeking to ban anti-Muslim protests being carried out by Britain First in Luton. (Luton on Sunday, 1 February 2016)
4 February: The National reveals that Dover police are investigating links between Scottish racists and a march in Dover at the weekend after the Scottish Defence League said that it was attending the anti-immigration march. (The National, 4 February 2016)
6 February: Pegida holds demonstrations across Europe, including one at Calais where at least 20 people are arrested and a silent march in Birmingham. (Guardian, 6 February 2016)
6 February: General Christian Piquemal, a 75-year-old former head of the French Foreign Legion, is one of around twenty protesters arrested for taking part in a Pegida rally in Calais banned under the state of emergency laws in France. (Guardian, 8 February 2016)
5 February: Ofcom investigates 30 complaints over a Ukip party political broadcast on EU membership which suggested up to 15 million Turkish [Muslim] citizens could migrate. (Guardian, 5 February 2016)
29 January: Leicester Civil Rights Movement publishes its newsletter. Download issue no. 81 of Insaf here (pdf file, 352kb).
5 February: The Traveller Movement is undertaking a survey on ‘Gypsies, Travellers, Roma and discrimination’. Take part in the survey here.
7 February: In Bosnia, 2,000 women protest in response to the decision by the Bosnian judicial council to ban ‘religious signs’ including the hijab in judicial institutions. (BBC News, 9 February 2016)
3 February: The UK’s terror watchdog calls for an independent review of the government’s anti-radicalisation strategy, Prevent, over concerns that it is sowing mistrust and fear in the Muslim community. The independent reviewer of terrorism laws, David Anderson QC, warns that elements of Prevent are ‘ineffective or being applied in an insensitive or discriminatory manner’. (Guardian, 3 February 2016)
4 February: The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights launches an inquiry into the government’s counter-extremism strategy, focusing on the Counter-Extremism Bill’s compatibility with religious rights and freedom of expression under the European Convention on Human Rights, with particular interest in the operation of the Prevent duty in the education sector. (Parliament press release, 4 February 2016)
10 February: Training manuals and videos used to train public sector workers on how to spot signs of radicalisation are leaked by the organisation, Cage. (Guardian, 10 February 2016. View the materials here)
6 February: The Cabinet Office announces a new clause in grant agreements, which will ban charities and similar organisations from using government funding to lobby against the government. Opponents argue the announcements will restrict charities’ ability to speak out against failing policies. (Civil Society, 8 February 2016)
10 February: French MPs narrowly vote to strip citizenship from dual nationals after the government excludes those born in France from the scope of the new constitutional provision. The measure, together with other constitutional amendments entrenching state of emergency powers, needs approval by the Senate and by a three-fifths majority of all parliamentarians in a special joint session, in order to take effect. (BBC News, 10 February 2016)