Calendar of Racism and Resistance (3 – 17 June 2021)


Calendar of Racism and Resistance (3 – 17 June 2021)

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 AND MIGRATION

Asylum and migrant rights

3 June: Following the launch of a legal challenge to the exclusion under ‘no recourse to public funds’ rules of British children of migrant parents from the Healthy Start voucher scheme, health secretary Matt Hancock agrees to open the scheme to children from migrant families. (Big Issue, 3 June 2021)

3 June:  After the Danish parliament passes a law allowing the country to remove asylum seekers arriving on Danish soil to asylum centres in a partner country outside Europe, the European Commission says the legislation is unlawful. (Al Jazeera, 3 June; EU Observer, 4 June 2021) 

9 June: Over 40 government-funded charities urge the prime minister to lift the 30 June deadline for EU citizens to apply for the right to remain, after which those who have not applied lose the right to stay and risk detention and deportation. (Guardian, 9 June 2021)

10 June: Five asylum seekers launch a legal challenge against the Home Office for indirect discrimination over the consultation process for its new immigration plans, which they say did not allow them to respond as it was only in English and Welsh, gave insufficient time and provided ‘vague’ or ‘misleading’ proposals. (Independent, 10 June 2021)

13 June: In Lesvos, Greece, lawyers appeal after four Afghan asylum seekers receive the maximum ten-year term following their conviction for starting the fire that destroyed Moria camp, on the basis of the testimony of an asylum seeker who has gone missing. The court denied entry to the media or international observers, citing pandemic restrictions and refused permission for the trial to be held before a juvenile court. (Guardian, 13 June 2021)

Borders and internal controls

4 June: The European Commission expresses concern over reports that Greece is using long-range sound cannon on armoured trucks to deter migrants from approaching its borders, in breach of fundamental rights. (EU News, 4 June 2021)

5 June: In Sicily, Italy, after the authorities place the German search and rescue vessel Sea Eye 4 under administrative detention on the ground that it does not meet safety standards, the mayor of Palermo declares the crew honorary citizens. (Sea Eye, press release, 5 June 2021)

7 June: A joint report from Migrant Voice, RAPAR and Kanlungan, finds the hostile environment did not subside during the pandemic, in which difficulties in fulfilling basic needs were compounded by the lack of access to public funds. Read the report here. (Electronic Immigration Network, 7 June 2021)

7 June: A body washed up in south-west Norway on New Year’s Day is identified as that of 15-month-old Artin, the youngest child of the Iranian family of five who drowned trying to cross the English Channel in a small boat over 2 months earlier. (Guardian, 7 June 2021) 

8 June: Statewatch and the Border Violence Monitoring Network write to Frontex demanding that it investigates claims that it has participated in or condoned violence against people on the move in North Macedonia. (Statewatch, 8 June 2021)

14 June: The Parliamentary Ombudsman finds that serious injustice was done to a Windrush generation man told he had no permission to be in the UK through Home Office maladministration, which caused him to become depressed, anxious and withdrawn before his death in 2019. Read the report here. (Electronic Immigration Network, 14 June 2021)

14 June: Human rights organisations condemn the Home Office’s introduction of 24-hour GPS monitoring of people on immigration bail, an expansion of surveillance powers involving no consultation process, which grants the Home Office new powers to collect, store and access data indefinitely. (Guardian, 14 June 2021)

Reception and detention

1 June: A Berlin administrative court rules that the seizure and data-mining of asylum seekers’ phones during their applications was unlawful, in a decision with far-reaching implications for Germany’s data protection practices. (InfoMigrants, 1 June 2021) 

3 June: The High Court rules that the Home Office acted unlawfully in deciding that Napier Barracks was appropriate accommodation for asylum seekers when it was ‘inadequate’, putting them at risk of fire and Covid, and unlawfully detaining residents under ‘purported Covid rules’. (Sky News, 3 June, EIN, 3 June 2021)

3 June: On the Greek islands, the ‘long-awaited’ Covid vaccine programme for refugees in camps finally starts, five months after the inoculation of the wider population began. (Guardian, 3 June 2021)

3 June: In the Var region of southern France a new app, ‘FinDaWay’, is launched to help asylum seekers with their administrative status, health concerns and other needs, developed by the prefecture with migrant aid associations and migrant and refugee users and available in 6 languages. (InfoMigrants, 3 June 2021) 

6 June: Asylum seekers held at Napier Barracks claim staff have told them they will be ‘blacklisted’ and their asylum applications impaired if they speak to the media about conditions there. (Guardian, 6 June 2021)

7 June: Kent County Council issues a legal challenge to the home secretary over her failure to use her powers to direct other local authorities to accommodate unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, saying it has nearly double its ‘safe’ level of such children and cannot take any more.  (Guardian, 11 June 2021)

9 June: Over 400 children in the migrant camp on Lesvos, Greece, including unaccompanied minors have been treated for mental health issues, according to Doctors without Borders (MSF), with many of the trauma symptoms triggered by the experience in ‘hotspots’ at Europe’s borders. (Ekathimerini, 9 June 2021) 

10 June: Home secretary Priti Patel faces down calls to resign for misleading parliament by claiming that the Home Office followed public health advice when housing asylum seekers in dormitories in Napier barracks. (Independent, 11 June 2021)

11 June: Over 50 refugee and asylum charities protest the Home Office’ failure to act as hundreds of asylum seekers remain without access to food and basic provisions three weeks after their financial support was cut off in a botched contract transfer, described by the NGOs as ‘one of the worst asylum crises we have experienced’. (Independent, 11 June 2021)

14 June: As Kent County Council stops accepting unaccompanied child migrants, Brighton and Hove commits to keep accepting them, despite financial challenges. Councillor Hannah Clare says supporting the children is made difficult by the government’s refusal to make the burden-sharing scheme mandatory, enabling other councils to refuse to take child migrants. (Brighton and Hove News, 14 June 2021)

15 June: Glasgow City Council’s ‘temporary’ ban on accepting new asylum seekers, in force since last year because of the shortage of asylum accommodation in the city, could last for years, Council leader Susan Aitken says, as the end of the ban cannot come while the government’s dispersal scheme is run ‘on the cheap’. (BBC News, 15 June 2021)

Criminalising solidarity

6 June:  Juliana Seelmann, a nun at the Oberzell monastery in southern Germany, is found guilty of aiding unauthorised residence by shielding two Nigerian women from deportation to Italy, where they had previously been forced into prostitution.  (Duetsche Welle, 6 June 2021)

Citizenship

5 June: The Dutch government sends a consular legal mission to a Syrian ISIL camp and a   Dutch woman and three children are handed over for repatriation to the Netherlands. (Al Jazeera, 5 June 2021)

Deportation

2 June: Hundreds of Syrians continue their sit-in outside the Danish parliament In Copenhagen for the third week., protesting measures declaring Syria safe and cancelling refugees’ residence permits. (Al Jazeera, 2 June 2021)

9 June: Families of those with insecure immigration status face extreme harm, according to a new report published by the University of Birmingham, which finds that children facing the potential deportation of a parent suffer from worsening standards of living, education and mental health. Read the report here. (Morning Star, 9 June 2021)

15 June: The family and supporters of 22-year-old autistic man Osime Brown celebrate after the Home Office abandons its plan to deport him to Jamaica, which he left at the age of 4, following a campaign joined by MPs and a former archbishop of Canterbury including protests in London and Glasgow at the weekend. (Guardian, 12 June; Birmingham Mail, 15 June 2021)

POLICING AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE

1 June: French public prosecutors announce the trial date, postponed due to Covid-19, of Bagui Traoré, charged with attempted murder of a police officer at a protest following the death of his brother Adama in a police station in 2016. The family and Committee for Truth for Adama have denounced the ‘judicial harassment’ of Begui and his incarceration. (Le Monde, 2 June 2021)

Black Lives Matter graffiti in Paris, with the names of Adama Traoré and George Floyd.
Graffiti commemorating Adama Traoré and George Floyd in Paris, June 2020. Credit: Langladure, Wikimedia Commons.

5 June: Reanu Walters, Nathaniel Williams and Durrell Goodall, 3 of the 11 Black or mixed-heritage teenagers convicted in 2017 of the Moss Side, Manchester killing of Abdul Hafidah in 2016 and sentenced to a total of 168 years, apply to the Criminal Cases Review Commission for an appeal against their convictions, based on the controversial ‘joint enterprise’ doctrine and a ‘racist’ gang narrative. (Observer, 5 June 2021)

9 June: In Germany, the Frankfurt SEK police commando unit is disbanded, 19 officers are dismissed and one suspended, as prosecutors investigate allegations that they glorified violence and made references to a former Nazi organisation in online chats. (Guardian, 9 June; Deutsche Welle, 10 June 2021) 

10 June: A High Court judge gives the family of 13-year-old Christopher Kapessa, who drowned after being pushed in a South Wales river, permission for a judicial review of the Crown Prosecution Service decision not to prosecute anyone on the basis that there was nothing to suggest that Christopher was the victim of a hate crime, a decision which his mother Alina Joseph believes is because her son was black. (Guardian, 10 June 2021)

13 June: Data obtained by the Observer reveal that some police panels set up to scrutinise stop and search incidents contain few or no members from minority ethnic backgrounds. (Observer, 13 June 2021) 

14 June: The public inquiry opens into the Metropolitan Police fatal shooting of 28-year-old Jermaine Baker in December 2016, and hears that police knew he was unarmed. (Guardian, 14 June 2021) 

ELECTORAL AND PARTY POLITICS

31 May: In Hungary, the far-right Jobbik party says that in its bid to oust Viktor Orbán’s ruling Fidesz party it will support the Democratic Coalition social democratic candidates in forthcoming primaries in the capital’s second district. (Euroactiv, 31 May 2021) 

7 June: In elections in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany, the far-right Alternative for Germany gains 21 percent of the vote and is now the second largest party in the state behind the CDU. (Guardian, 7 June 2021)

5 June:  In Mont-de-Marsan, south-west France, a hundred people assemble to commemorate the killing of Saïd El Barkaoui, a father of six shot five times in a racist killing in 2018, allegedly by his neighbour who is at liberty awaiting trial. The family denounces the lack of national media interest and the slow judicial process. (FranceInfo, 5 June 2021)

6 June:  On Facebook, Conservative MP Brendan Clarke-Smith compares England footballers taking the knee to the English football team in the 1930s giving the Nazi salute, adding that BLM is an iteration of the same ‘poisonous ideology’ as that of the late Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, while another Tory MP, Lee Anderson, says he will boycott England’s games in protest. (The National; Guardian, 6 June 2021)

11 June: Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán proposes a total ban on immigration for two years, stating that ‘migration is inherently bad’, and people should be happy to be wherever they are born ‘according to God’s will’. (InfoMigrants, 11 June 2021)

13 June: In the Finnish municipal elections, the far-right Finns party are projected to have secured 14.5 percent of the vote (an increase of 5.7 percent), emerging as the largest group on at least six councils: Hamina, Orimattila, Kihniö, Ylöjärvi, Kankaanpää and Hämeenkyrö, with 500 additional council seats since the last election in 2017. A campaign ad suggesting immigrants can jump the housing queue was belatedly pulled by the authorities, citing discrimination. (Politico, 12 June; YLE News, 14 June 2021)

15 June: Thousands demonstrate in Budapest after Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán puts forward legal amendments to ban teaching about homosexuality and the promotion in schools, films or books of ‘sex change among minors’, which could outlaw advertisements by companies or others that stand in solidarity with the LGBT+ community. (Euronews, 11 June; Bloomberg News, 15 June 2021)

15 June: Boris Johnson’s former race adviser, Samuel Kasumu, who resigned over the government’s racial disparity report, warns that exploiting division for electoral gain and fuelling of culture wars could spark another Stephen Lawrence or Jo Cox tragedy. (Guardian, 15 June 2021)

15 June: The Hungarian parliament passes a law by 157 votes to 1 outlawing the sharing of information with under 18s that promote homosexuality or gender change. Only individuals and organisations listed in an official register can carry out sex education in schools.  (Guardian, 15 June 2021)

ANTI-FASCISM AND FAR RIGHT

25 May: As Facebook shuts down a page with 45,000 members supporting Belgian soldier Jürgen Conings on the run after stealing weapons and threatening mosques and prominent people, the Belgian defence minister expresses concern about the levels of online support, especially from military personnel. (France24, 25 May 2021)

7 June: In Italy, 12 neo-Nazis are charged with criminal association and incitement as police report breaking up an online antisemitic grouping allied to Portuguese far-rightists who were planning an attack on a NATO facility. (Deutsche Welle,  7 June 2021)

9 June: Five far-right candidates including Anne-Marie Waters and Jayda Fransen announce they will stand in the Batley and Spen by-election on 1 July. (Byline Times, 9 June 2021)

10 June: Romanian women rights activists warn that the growing success of the far-right AUR party is linked to its campaigning on anti-LGBTIQ issues. (Byline Times, 10 June 2021) 

10 June: A court in Valence sentences ‘extreme-right patriot’ Damien Tarel, 28, to 4 months in prison, a 14-month suspended sentence, a 5-year weapons ban and a lifetime ban on public office, for slapping French president Emmanuel Macron in the face 2 days before. (Guardian, 10 June 2021)  

14 June: Former UKIP member Dean Morrice, 34, is sentenced to a total of 23 years, 18 years in prison, at Kingston crown court after being found guilty of neo-Nazi terror and explosives offences arising from the discovery of explosives, crossbows and parts of a 3D-printed gun at his Bristol home. (Independent, 10 June; Guardian, 14 June 2021) 

11 June: At London’s Old Bailey, neo-Nazi student Andrew Dymock, 24, is found guilty of 15 charges, including 12 terrorism-related offences, in 2017 and 2018, for fundraising and promoting System Resistance Network, which sought to create ‘race war’, after the proscription of National Action in 2016. (Guardian, 11 June 2021)

15 June:  Data from the German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution suggests that the number of far-right extremists increased last year by 4 percent to 33,300, with neo-Nazis seeking to increase their influence by joining protests against Covid restrictions whose organisers failed to distance themselves from the far Right. (Federal News Network, 15 June 2021)

HUMAN RIGHTS AND DISCRIMINATION

1 June: A report by prominent Belgian anti-discrimination organisation Unia claims institutional racism pervades Brussels fire stations, giving an example of a white firefighter refusing to touch a black newborn in need of rescue. (Le Soir, 2 June 2021) 

2 June: Buckingham Palace archives reveal a ban on the employment of BME staff in clerical posts until the last 1960s, and an exemption from anti-discrimination legislation which is still in force. (Guardian, 2 June 2021)

6 June: Before the G7 summit, campaigners warn that the slashing of foreign aid will leave 100,000 refugees without water, will break a 2019 manifesto commitment and will make Britain the only G7 country to reduce foreign aid spending during the pandemic. (Morning Star, 6 June 2021)

15 June: The Czech chamber of deputies passes legislation to compensate Roma women illegally sterilised between 1996 and 2012. The bill now passes to the Senate, the parliamentary upper house. (Emerging Europe, 15 June 2021) 

15 June: Concluding an investigation into the filthy, overcrowded, rat-infested, unsafe living conditions at Cork city’s local authority Traveller site at Spring Lane, the Irish children’s ombudsman says that ‘to think that children are living like this in Ireland in 2021 is utterly shocking’. (Irish Times, 15 June 2021)

EMPLOYMENT AND EXPLOITATION

3 June: A survey by Be Inclusive Hospitality, launched in November 2020 and conducted with 387 people across the hospitality sector, finds that half of all ethnic minorities surveyed have experienced racism in the workplace which has hindered their career progression. (The Caterer, 3 June 2021)

7 June: New research from Henley Business School reveals that 19 percent of Black employees experience racism in their work environments, twice the proportion of other ethnic minorities – with 9 percent of Asians and 8 percent of mixed-heritage minorities experiencing workplace racism. (The Voice, 7 June 2021) 

8 June: Government proposals to merge three existing agencies – the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate and National Minimum Wage enforcement arm of HMRC – to form a ‘powerful new watchdog’ to tackle exploitation and abuse, are ‘heavy on spin’ and will do little to change insecure working conditions, says the TUC. (Guardian, 8 June 2021)

13 June: A report by the TUC and equality organisation Race on the Agenda (ROTA) finds that BME women are twice as likely to be on zero-hours contracts as white men, trapping them in low-paid, insecure work. (Guardian, 13 June 2021)

HEALTH

1 June: A month after Humberside local medical committees (LMCs) reported that over half their BME primary care staff had experienced racism at work, GP leaders within the Hull and East Yorkshire LMC urge health ministers to ‘publicly and repeatedly’ tell patients they cannot decline care based on a clinician’s ethnicity. (Pulse, 1 June 2021) 

5 June: As data released by OpenSAFELY shows that Black people in every age group have the lowest vaccination rates in England, with almost a quarter of Black over-70s and a third of Black over-50s unvaccinated, NHS Race and Health Observatory director Habib Naqvi urges the government to protect and prioritise the most vulnerable with targeted and sensitive programmes. (Guardian, 5 June 2021) 

14 June: Research by public health experts at the universities of London and Glasgow finds that women and ethnic minorities find it more difficult than others to access routine public health provision. (Guardian, 14 June 2021)

HOUSING

14 June: On the 4th anniversary of the Grenfell fire, survivors accuse the government of playing ‘Russian roulette’ by failing to fix hundreds of thousands of high-rise homes with similar fire safety defects. (Guardian, 14 June 2021)

A silent walk marks the fourth anniversary of the Grenfell fire.
A silent walk marking the 4th anniversary of the Grenfell fire. Credit: Steve Eason, Flickr.

EDUCATION

3 June: A public prosecutor announces that two complaints against a school of fine arts in Besançon, France have been dropped, in a complex case against teachers involved in alleged sexual exploitation and racism. (FranceInfo, 3 June 2021) 

6 June: In France, six educational researchers launch an action at the Council of State against the education minister, alleging that his decision to launch an investigation into ‘Islamo-leftism’ in universities is an abuse of power. (Le Monde, 6 June 2021)

10 June: A survey by Show Racism the Red Card records more than 2,000 incidents of racism reported at schools in Scotland in the past three years. (The London Economic, 10 June 2021)

10 June: Downing Street states that students should be entitled to compensation if they are adversely affected by the refusal of academics to undertake extra duties for Oxford University’s Oriel College in protest at its decision to retain a statue of Cecil Rhodes. (Guardian, 10 June 2021)

MEDIA, CULTURE, 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.

4 June: French TV authorities fine CNews (the French Fox News) €200,000 for Eric Zemmour’s racist remarks describing underage migrants as ‘thieves, murderers and rapists’. (FranceInfo, 5 June 2021)

6 June: Home secretary Priti Patel calls on social media companies to remove posts that promote or ‘glamourise’ migrant crossings. (BBC News, 6 June 2021)

7 June: As the statue of slave trader Edward Colston, torn down by Black Lives Matter protesters last year, goes on display at the M shed, part of Bristol city museum, lying down covered in graffiti, alongside placards from the protest and a timeline of events, Save our Statue campaigners are urged to block-book tickets in an effort to stop members of the public viewing it. (Guardian, 7 June 2021)

7 June: Residents in the Manchester suburb of Didsbury respond with bemusement after Mail Online publishes an article suggesting it is a ‘no-go area’ for white people, along with Blackburn, Bradford and Dewsbury. The article relates to a new book by Ed Husain, Among The Mosques: A Journey Across Muslim Britain. (Guardian, 6 June; Guardian, 7 June 2021)

10 June:  Barbican staff describe the cultural centre as ‘institutionally racist’ in a book containing over 100 allegations of discriminatory behaviour which they say show the centre has failed to live up to anti-racism commitments it made a year ago. (Guardian, 10 June 2021)

The outside of the Barbican Centre, City of London.
The Barbican Centre, City of London. Credit: Maciek Lulko, Flickr.

11 June: The Scottish Football Association announces that the Scotland team will take the knee when they face England at Wembley in the European Cup next week, although they will not make the anti-racism gesture before their other games. (Guardian, 11 June 2021)

11 June: Former West Indies cricketer Michael Holding criticises the England cricket team’s decision to no longer take the knee in support of Black Lives Matter, replacing it with a pre-match ‘moment of unity’ which he says does not support ‘Black Lives Matter’ and is akin to ‘all lives matter’. (Guardian, 11 June 2021)

12 June: The reopening of the Museum of the Home in Shoreditch, east London is met with protests calling for the removal of the statue of slave ship owner Robert Geffrye, the museum’s founder, after an intervention by the culture secretary warning museums to ‘retain and explain’ controversial statues. (Guardian, 12 June 2021)

12 June: At the start of England’s Euro 2020 campaign, the Football Association urges supporters not to boo the team for taking the knee before its game against Croatia at Wembley, following a minority of supporters booing before friendlies against Austria and Romania, which the prime minister refused to condemn. At the Croatia game, booing by the minority is drowned out by applause. (Guardian, 7 June; Observer, 12 June; Guardian, 13 June 2021)

14 June: In an interview with new right-wing news channel GB News, home secretary Priti Patel says football fans have a right to boo the England team for taking a knee in protest at racism, calling it ‘gesture politics’. (Independent, 14 June 2021)

RACIAL VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT

31 May: A 24-year-old man is racially abused by a group of eight people in Stockton, County Durham, beaten and stabbed with knives, and is taken to hospital suffering puncture wounds to his leg, arm and shoulder. (ITV News, 2 June 2021) 

2 June: Three men, believed to be armed with a gun and a knife, force their way into a house in south Belfast and threaten a group of 10 men inside before assaulting one man, in what is believed to be a racially motivated hate crime. (Irish News, 2 June 2021) 

2 June: The Community Security Trust records 351 antisemitic incidents between 8 and 31 May, surpassing the total for any single month since 1986, when records began, including physical attacks, threats and abuse. (Guardian, 2 June 2021)

4 June: A 36-year-old man from Sunbury-on-Thames is given a 12-month community order and a curfew after pleading guilty to racially abusing a traffic enforcement officer and punching him in the head, in Egham, Surrey in August 2020. (Surrey Police, 11 June 2021) 

5 June: Two men in their 20s are found injured in Liverpool city centre, with one victim sustaining suspected stab wounds and the other receiving a chest injury from an unknown weapon, after allegedly being chased by two white suspects who shouted racial abuse at them. (Merseyside Police, 5 June 2021) 

5 June: In Barcelona, Spain, a demonstration is held after some of the most serious  homophobic assaults in recent memory, that left many injured, including a man from Colombia, who does not know how he will pay for reconstruction of his mouth. (El Pais, 9 June 2021)  

5 June: A video circulated on social media shows a group of young men racially abusing and threatening to stab a Muslim family in a park play area in Wolverhampton, with one of the men hitting the phone out of the hands of the person taking the video. (Express & Star, 7 June 2021) 

11 June: Police appeal for witnesses after a passenger was racially abused and assaulted, and a woman sexually assaulted in what police believe were linked incidents, on a Birmingham to Leicester bound train on 2 May. (Birmingham Live, 11 June 2021) 

13 June: A Muslim man steps in to protect two Jewish men in their late 30s and mid 40s who are repeatedly punched outside a central London restaurant by mask-wearing attackers, described as Asian men in their late teens, who make antisemitic comments. (Evening Standard, 15 June 2021)

The calendar was compiled with the help of Tania Bedi, Annabelle Woghiren, Graeme Atkinson, Lou Khalfaoui, Jess Pandian, Inês Silva, Yewande Oyekan and Joseph Maggs.


Headline image: Justice for Osime Brown Campaign. @FreeOsimeBrown


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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