Calendar of Racism and Resistance (29 March – 13 April 2022)


Calendar of Racism and Resistance (29 March – 13 April 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.

ASYLUM | MIGRATION | BORDERS | CITIZENSHIP

Asylum and migrant rights

31 March: A progress report on the Windrush Lessons Learned Review finds the Home Office has failed to transform its culture as promised, criticising the lack of ‘tangible progress’ on the 2020 review’s recommendations, only 8 of 30 of which have been fully acted on, and finds the compensation scheme still slow, with 386 claimants waiting for over a year to resolve claims. (Guardian, 31 March 2022)

Windrush mural in Bristol.
A Windrush mural in Bristol. Credit: duncan c, Flickr.

31 March: Family members of 21 children with cancer who were airlifted to the UK from Ukraine, fear they will never see them again, as relatives have no automatic family reunion rights and face visa restrictions that separate them from the children. (Guardian, 31 March 2022) 

1 April: Amid evidence that traffickers are targeting Ukrainian refugees attempting to reach the UK via the Homes for Ukraine scheme, a government-funded matching service is launched, to pair sponsors with refugees, and to aid local authorities and organisations with providing healthcare, employment and bereavement support for Ukrainians. (Guardian, 1 April 2022)

1 April: Slovakian charities say that the state must provide more financial support for Ukrainian refugees rather than leaving it to private donors and charities, and criticise the interior ministry’s decision to award a  private company, with no refugee-relief experience, a €2.5 million contract to run a large-capacity crisis centre in the eastern border town of Michalovce. (Euronews, 1 April 2022)

4 April: Testimony from former inmates suggests that detainees appear to remain in the EU-funded Zhuravychi migrant detention centre near Lutsk city, near the Ukrainian border with Belarus, despite the Russian invasion. (Al Jazeera, 4 April 2022)

4 April: The House of Lords again rejects measures in the Nationality and Borders Bill which would allow refugees arriving without visas to be sent to prison and those travelling through safe countries to be sent abroad, as well as re-inserting provisions allowing family reunion for child refugees and work for asylum seekers. (Guardian, 4 April 2022)

6 April:  Refugee minister Richard Harrington admits the inadequacy of the government’s Ukrainian visa schemes’ rollout, and days later home secretary Priti Patel apologises for delays. (Politics Home, 6 April 2022; Independent, 9 April 2022) 

7 April: MEPs who had flown to Lesbos, Greece, to observe the appeal of two Afghans serving 50-year sentences for piloting a migrant boat express anger at ‘shocking’ legal proceedings after the appeal is adjourned for the second time, with Amir Zahiri and Akif Rasuli denied bail. (Guardian, 7 April 2022)

Borders and internal controls

30 March: The German military says that it will no longer train the Libyan coastguard owing to ‘repeated unacceptable behaviour’ and documented human rights abuses. (Euronews, 30 March 2022)

1 April: It emerges that a 4-year-old Syrian boy drowned in mid-March, allegedly during a pushback of 30 Syrians stuck for five days in plummeting temperatures on an island in the Evros river between Turkey and Greece. (Al Jazeera, 1 April 2022).

7 April: In a report, Human Rights Watch claims that the Greek security forces are employing third country nationals to push asylum seekers back at the Greece-Turkey land border. (Human Rights Watch, 7 April 2022)

Reception and detention

30 March: Offices of the immigration detention contractor Mitie Group are raided in an investigation by the regulator Competition Markets Authority into breaking competition law, in its bid for the running of Home Office immigration removal centres. (Guardian, 30 March 2022) 

31 March: The Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland says mothers and babies seeking asylum in Scotland are living in Mears bedsit accommodation that ‘pose a significant risk of violating the children’s human rights’, with limited space which stops mothers from feeding their babies and cookers and heaters too close to children’s cots. (The National, 31 March 2022) 

2 April: Local families in Stafford object to the use of vacant buildings to temporarily house asylum seekers for fear that ‘crime rates will rise’ and ‘affluent housing estates’ will be disturbed. (Stoke Sentinel, 2 April 2022)

2 April: As a reception centre in Norway calls police to report men seeking contact with women staying at the centre, a man is arrested in Tromsø and charged with raping and exploiting a17-year-old refugee from Ukraine who had just arrived. (newsinenglish.no,  2 April 2022)

3 April: After criticism of its slow and bureaucratic response to the Ukraine refugee crisis, with only 2,700 visas issued under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, the government sets up 31 new ‘Welcome Hubs’ in airports, ports and train stations across the UK, as sites of reception, to provide food, clothing and other supplies for new arrivals. (Guardian, 3 April 2022)

7 April: Local authorities report serious concerns over the Ukrainian resettlement schemes, including provision by government of insufficient, duplicate or inaccurate information on new arrivals, and lack of funding, and urge the government to provide clarity and resources. (Local Government Chronicle, 7 April 2022)

8 April: Ukrainian refugees will be accommodated together in small, temporary towns, says the Danish interior minister, who adds that the government’s priority is preventing any strain on the Danish welfare system. (The Local, 8 April 2022)

9 April: Concerns are expressed over exploitation and trafficking as reports emerge of unaccompanied minors being housed with unrelated adults without proper safeguarding measures under the Homes for Ukraine scheme. (Independent, 9 April 2022)  

12 April: A leaked Home Office review of events leading to the death of Sudanese asylum seeker Badreddin Abdalla Adam, shot dead after stabbing six people at asylum hotel Park Inn, Glasgow in June 2020, reveals that he sought help for his health and accommodation 72 times without success from the Home Office and from asylum contractors Mears and Migrant Help, which ‘should have acted as a warning’. (BBC News, 12 April 2022)

Citizenship

28 March: A new report from the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion and the Global Citizenship Observatory, Instrumentalising citizenship in the fight against terrorism, analyses the growth of deprivation powers in 190 countries since 2000, with the UK second only to Bahrain in its reported use of deprivation powers. (ISI, 28 March 2022)

ELECTORAL POLITICS | GOVERNMENT POLICY

30 March: The Polish government introduces legislation to force NGOs which receive finances from abroad to register; failure to declare ‘foreign support’ is punishable by two years in prison.  (Publicystyka, 30 March 2022)

31 March: The Hungarian Helsinki Committee accuses the government of inflating the number of Ukrainian refugees settling in the country (including those passing through), in order to access EU refugee support funds. (Guardian, 31 March 2022) 

31 March: The parliamentary Digital Culture Media and Sport committee says that it cannot endorse the appointment of Orlando Fraser as chair of the Charity Commission due to the flawed selection process, including a lack of diversity in the shortlist. (Guardian, 31 March 2022)

4 April: In the Hungarian general election, the extreme-right Fidesz party wins a decisive majority, with prime minister Viktor Orbán congratulated by far-right parties across Europe as well as President Putin. While one far-right Our Homeland (Mi Hazánk) MP enters parliament for the first time, another far-right party, Jobbik, is wiped out, losing all of its 17 MPs. (Guardian, 4 April 2022; Hungary Today, 4 April 2022; Hungary Today, 7 April 2022)

4 April: In Hungary, a national referendum targeting LGBTQ rights, held on the general election day, fails, with less than half those eligible actually voting, rendering the vote non-binding. The government says it will disregard this. (Bloomberg, 4 April 2022)

5 April: The far-right MP Marian Kotleba (People’s Party Our Slovakia) loses his parliamentary mandate after being given a six-month suspended sentence over his neo-Nazi sympathies. (Euronews, 5 April 2021)

5 April: Calls are made for Iceland’s infrastructure minister Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson to resign after he said he did not want his photo taken ‘with this black one’, a reference to Vigdís Häsler, the director of the Icelandic Farmers’ Association. a woman of colour. (Reykjavik Grapevine, 5 April 2022)

8 April: During a debate on International Romani Day, the European Parliament’s far-right bloc (Identity and Democracy) calls for funds allocated for Roma to be spent on Ukrainian refugees. MEP Silvia Sardone says that the European parliament shows ‘stubborn discrimination against all those who are not Roma’. (Euractiv, 8 April 2022)

10 April: In the first round of the French presidential election, President Macron wins 27.8 per cent of the vote while Marine Le Pen, whom he now faces in the next round, wins 23.1 per cent. Éric Zemmour, with his distinctive anti-immigration platform, comes fourth with 7.1 per cent and asks his followers to back Le Pen, whilst all other candidates ask followers to keep her out. (Guardian, 11April 2022)

Macron addresses a large meeting on 2 April 2022.
President Macron addresses an election meeting on 2 April 2022. Credit: Alexandre Gamet, Flickr

ANTI-FASCISM AND THE FAR RIGHT

With anti-migrant, anti-equalities, anti-abortion, misogynistic and anti-LGBTQI activities increasingly interlinking, we now incorporate information on the Christian Right as well as information relating to the incel movement.

29 March: Two 29-year-old men from Keighley and Anglesey are found guilty at Doncaster Crown Court of disseminating a terrorist publication. One is also convicted of possessing articles for terrorist purposes, collecting information in breach of the Terrorism Act and manufacturing a firearm. Both belong to a far-right cell which circulated propaganda and celebrated racist violence and killing via a Telegram channel set up in January 2021, Oaken Hearth. (The Yorkshire Post, 29 March 2022)

6 April: In Italy, Paolo Bellini, 68, former member of National Vanguard, is sentenced to life imprisonment for his part in the 1980 far-right bombing of Bologna train station that killed 85 people and injured 200 more. (Ansa, 6 April 2022)

6 April: In Germany, police arrest four neo-Nazis, including a former military officer cadet, after around 800 police officers across the country conduct early morning raids targeting the banned neo-Nazi organisations Atomwaffen Division (AWD), Combat 18 (C18) and Knockout 51(K51). (Deutsche Welle, 6 April 2022)

8 April: Thomas Leech, 19, from Preston, is jailed for two years after being found guilty of glorifying and encouraging far-right terrorism. (ITV News, 8 April 2022)

9 April: In Greece, after opposition outrage, the government admits that the presence on a teleconference screen of a soldier from the neo-Nazi Azov battalion, during the address of the Ukrainian president, was ill-advised. (Keep Talking Greece, 9 April 2022)

10 April: The Beacon reports that a sergeant in the Irish army has been disciplined for a series of far-right and racist posts on twitter calling for ‘mass deportations’, ‘sterilisation’ of migrants and contesting that prominent Black Irish people are in fact Irish. (The Beacon, 10 April 2022)

POLICING | PRISONS | CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

29 March: Black Londoner Eric Taylor is stopped and handcuffed for the second time in six days by Met police, after being stopped for wearing a coat in sunny weather. Eric is ‘scared to go out’ after the two consecutive stop-and-search incidents. (MyLondon, 29 March 2022)

29 March: Scotland Yard receives almost 2,000 complaints in the first two months of 2022, a significant number of which relate to racial discrimination, use of force and stop-and-search. (Evening Standard, 29 March 2022)

30 March: The Lords Justice and Home Affairs Committee warns that lack of oversight and scrutiny for law enforcement agencies’ use of artificial intelligence and facial recognition technology could have ‘serious implications’ for human rights and civil liberties in the justice system. (Cumnock Chronicle, 30 March 2022)

31 March: Following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct, a Met police officer is charged with grievous bodily harm after damaging the spinal cord of Jordan Walker-Brown, paralysing him for life, by tasering him in May 2020 in Haringey as he jumped over a wall whilst being followed by police. (Guardian, 31 March 2022)

31 March: Musician Gil Ofarim, who posted a video online in October 2021 claiming he received antisemitic abuse from a hotel employee in Leipzig, Germany, is charged with filing a false complaint and defamation. (Deutsche Welle, 31 March 2022)

1 April: A high-ranking police commissioner in Kouvola, south-eastern Finland, dismissed for his far-right views, says his sacking came as the result of a private, off-duty WhatsApp conversation, and he will appeal. A national investigation into police personnel and far-right activities is ongoing. (YLE, 1 April 2022)

2 April: Responding to the strip-search of Child Q in Hackney by police, strip searches of children in Hackney and Tower Hamlets now require approval from an Inspector. (BBC News, 2 April 2022)

Banners at a Child Q demo in Hackney, March 2022
Child Q protest, Stoke Newington police station, March 2022. Credit: Alan Denney, Flickr.

4 April: Statistics from a Freedom of Information request by Open Democracy show that the Metropolitan Police has failed to fire two-thirds of officers and staff who have been found to be racist towards colleagues. (The Justice Gap, 4 April 2022)

4 April: Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner, Professor Fraser Sampson, warns police that use of live facial recognition technology to identify potential witnesses has profound ramifications for constitutional freedoms, putting the presumption of innocence at risk. (Sky News, 4 April 2022)

6 April: Police monitoring network Netpol publishes a practical police monitoring guide aimed at emerging CopWatch groups, who are calling for people to ‘withdraw consent’ from oppressive policing in Britain. (Netpol, 6 April 2022)

8 April: A whistleblower reveals that former members of Sarah Everard’s killer Wayne Couzens’ elite Met unit shared racist, misogynistic and homophobic messages in a Whatsapp group, including one celebrating the murder of George Floyd. They also shared a picture of British BLM activist Sasha Johnson with a bullet hole in her head with the caption ‘Black Lives Splatter’. (Mirror, 8 April 2022)

8 April: The Northern Police Monitoring Project publishes an open letter of concern regarding the rising number of deaths following police pursuit by Greater Manchester Police (GMP). At least eight people have died following pursuits by GMP officers since September 2020. (Northern Police Monitoring Project, 8 April 2022)

11 April: At its annual conference, the National Education Union backs a motion that police should not be stationed in schools and that calling them in must be a last resort. NEU president Daniel Kebede says the Child Q case highlights ‘a growing trend in which police are ever-present in schools’ leading to criminalisation of children. (Guardian, 11 April 2022)

13 April:  The attorney-general refers the case of four protesters cleared of toppling the statue of slave trade Edward Colston to the Court of Appeal to clarify whether defendants can cite the Human Rights Act as a defence against criminal damage. (Guardian, 13 April 2022)

COUNTER-TERRORISM AND NATIONAL SECURITY

31 March: The foreign minister confirms that ten women and 27 children have been repatriated to Germany from the Roj detention camp in northeast Syria and that some mothers were immediately arrested on suspicion of committing terrorism-related offences. (Deutsche Welle, 31 March 2022)

11 April: It is reported that Ali Harbi Ali, who is found guilty of murdering MP David Amess in a terrorist attack in October 2021, had been through the Prevent scheme in 2015 and cleared of posing a terrorist threat. His history with government anti-radicalisation schemes will be examined at a later inquest. (Guardian, 11 April 2022)

EDUCATION

30 March: A teacher at Colchester Royal Grammar School in Essex, previously criticised for its failure to deal with racism, is suspended after using a mug on which the Prophet Muhammad was depicted. (BBC News, 30 March 2022)  

31 March: A survey by resource provider GovernorHub reports that 90 per cent of school governors who responded are white and there is a need to ‘improve diversity’ within school governance to make school boards more inclusive and representative of the boroughs they serve. (BBC News, 31 March 2022)

31 March: The captain of Birmingham City FC, Troy Deeney, meets the education secretary Nadhim Zahawi after receiving over 50,000 signatures for a campaign to make the national curriculum more diverse and inclusive of the ‘histories and experiences of black, Asian, and ethnic minority communities’. (TES Magazine, 31 March 2022)   

5 April: UK politicians and the advocacy group Universities UK call for extended visa schemes for Ukrainian refugee students to help them find temporary placements in the UK and enable them to continue their studies during the war. (Guardian, 5 April 2022)

11 April: Over 20 former presidents of the National Union of Students, including Jack Straw, David Aaronovitch and Trevor Phillips, urge NUS trustees to address the concerns of Jewish students after the rapper Lowkey, who recently stated that the media ‘weaponised the Jewish heritage of [Ukrainian president] Zelensky’ to ignore far-right activity in the country, was invited to the union’s centenary event. (Guardian, 11 April 2022)

HOUSING | POVERTY | WELFARE

4 April: The body responsible for policing the building industry, the New Home Quality Board, is criticised for not having BME community members on the board, particularly as BME communities are most affected by ‘generally very poor’ housing projects, with overcrowding and poor housing standards contributing to the high COVID-19 death rate within many ethnic minority communities. (Guardian, 4 April 2022)

6 April: A Nuffield Foundation study indicates that limiting child benefit to the first two children in a household is the biggest driver of child poverty, with Orthodox Jewish and Muslim families disproportionately affected. 1.4million children in over 400,000 households are affected by the two-child policy limit, according to CPAG. (Guardian, 6 April 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.

30 March: A 19-year-old is jailed for six weeks for racially abusing footballer Marcus Rashford on Twitter after Rashford’s penalty miss in the Euro 2020 final. (Guardian, 30 March 2022)

Marcus Rashford Mural surrounded by supporters
The Marcus Rashford mural in Withington. Credit: Duncan Hull, Flickr.

31 March: At an Extraordinary General Meeting, members of Yorkshire County Cricket Club vote in favour of a number of proposals to reform the club’s board and governance in response to racism allegations from former player Azeem Rafiq. (Guardian, 31 March 2022)

31 March: Several children’s authors and performers express dismay that works that deal with institutional racism, LGBT+ issues and diversity are being censored from schools for fear of backlash from parents and campaigners, as part of a wider ‘culture war’. (Guardian, 31 March 2022)

5 April: The first in a series of plaques explaining Liverpool’s historical links to slavery is unveiled on William Brown Street, named after a 19th Century cotton and slave trader. The plaques are named in honour of anti-racist activist and historian Eric Scott Lynch. (BBC News, 5 April 2022)

9 April: A review by Westminster Council of 50 monuments deemed at risk following Black Lives Matter protests finds that a Winston Churchill statue is ‘vulnerable due to Churchill’s apparent racist views’. (Telegraph, 9 April 2022)

11 April: The Motoring Sports’ governing body announces an inquiry as to whether a young Russian karting driver, racing under an Italian flag, gave a Nazi salute at a race in Portugal. (Euronews, 11 April 2022)

12 April: The head of Jesus College, Cambridge, responding to a decision by the Church of England not to allow the removal from its chapel of a memorial to a benefactor involved in the slave trade, says procedures for addressing racial injustice in the C of E are ‘inadequate’ and ‘not fit for purpose’.(Guardian, 12 April 2022)

RACIAL VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT

25 March: A 33-year-old man is targeted in a racially aggravated assault by three teenage boys while out jogging in Brighton Hill. The victim sustains bruising after being beaten with a walking stick. (Basingstoke Observer, 31 March 2022)

29 March: A teenage girl is pushed off her bike and has it thrown on top of her in a racially aggravated attack in Ferndown. The perpetrator, one of six teenage boys, has not yet been identified. (Daily Echo, 5 April 2022)

30 March: A Pakistani taxi driver is racially attacked by two men in the early hours in a taxi rank in The Cross, Worcester. A 21-year-old man is arrested the following day. (Worcester News, 6 April 2022)

30 March: A 14-year-old boy from Bradford is found guilty of a racially and religiously aggravated attack in March 2021, involved the theft of a man’s mobile phone and intentional harassment. (Telegraph & Argus, 30 March 2022)

31 March: A 52-year-old man in Omagh, Northern Ireland, is convicted of assault, grievous bodily harm, criminal damage to property, possession of an offensive weapon and making threats to kill a Pakistani and Ukrainian couple in attacks between September 2019 and February 2020, causing the woman to jump from her bedroom window holding her 3-year-old son in the last incident. (WeAreTyrone, 31 March 2022)

31 March: Racist and religious hate crimes recorded in Camden increased by over 20 per cent in the year to February 2022, it is reported, with the highest number of reported incidents (113) occurring in July 2021 following the lifting of lockdown restrictions. (Ham & High, 31 March 2022)

1 April: Over 50 current and former students and student organisations from Lancaster University write to the City Council raising issues of antisemitic and other racial abuse, including physical attacks, verbal abuse, damage to homes, trespass and theft targeting victims from European, Chinese and Asian backgrounds. (LancsLive, 1 April 2022)

3 April: 59-year-old Black American musician Morris ‘Mo’ Pleasure is slapped on the head and racially abused on entering a nightclub in Aberystwyth at around 2am. The Dyfed-Powys police are examining CCTV footage. (WalesOnline, 6 April 2022) 

4 April: An investigation is launched into the racial abuse and assault of a man shopping in Northampton town centre on 9 March, after being challenged by his assailant, a fellow shopper, about his nationality. (Northampton Chronicle & Echo, 4 April 2022)

4 April: New leads in a 30-year-old ‘cold case’ culminate in the arrest of a far-right extremist who is accused of a racially-inspired arson attack in 1991 on a refugee home in Saarlouis, Germany, that left Samuel Yeboah from Ghana dead and several injured. (Deutsche Welle, 4 April 2022)

5 April: The German interior minister says that since February, police have recorded 308 anti-Russian offences, including 15 acts of violence, and 109 offences against Ukrainian nationals, including 13 acts of violence. (Euronews, 5 April 2022)

5 April: An 81-year-old man faces four charges, including racially aggravated criminal damage and assault by beating, for an incident in September 2021 in Middlesbrough. (TeessideLive, 5 April 2022)

6 April: Seven teenage boys aged 14-18 are charged with conspiring to commit racially aggravated assault, with some facing additional charges including robbery and harassment, between August and September 2021. (Dunmow Broadcast, 6 April 2022)

6 April: Eight boys aged 12-15 are charged with the racial abuse and assault of two adults in North West Edinburgh on 5 March. (Edinburgh Evening News, 6 April 2022)

7 April: In Germany, the Berlin Association of People Persecuted by the Nazi Regime say the defacing of a monument to fallen Red Army soldiers with words such as ‘Death to all Russians’ is a ‘dangerous example of the history-falsifying narratives’ circulating since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (ND, 7 April 2022)

8 April: The Belfast Multi-Cultural Association building sustains a second arson attack, after one in January 2021. A report from the Police Service of Northern Ireland cites 943 racist crimes in 2021 – an increase of 313 on the previous year – of which only 10 per cent resulted in charges or summonses. (Amnesty International UK, 8 April 2022)

11 April: Two Southampton men aged 36 and 24 are convicted of a racist attack against a university lecturer of Chinese origin in February 2021. After being assaulted while out jogging, the victim is reportedly ‘thinking of going back to China because of this hostile environment’. (Southern Daily Echo, 11 April 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: Refugees Welcome, Credit: duncan c, 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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