Calendar of Racism and Resistance (30 July – 12 August 2021)


Calendar of Racism and Resistance (30 July – 12 August 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, MIGRATION, BORDERS & CITIZENSHIP 

Asylum and migrant rights

31 July: In Germany the North Rhine-Westphalia federal court rules that two previously rejected asylum applications can be reheard, despite the asylum seekers having travelled first through Italy, because they could expect inhumane or degrading treatment in Italy. (Are you Serious, 2 August 2021)

1 August: Data shows over 1,200 asylum seekers currently in the system have been waiting for more than 5 years to have their claim decided, with 399 waiting more than a decade. (Independent, 1 August 2021)

1 August: European citizens who have applied for settled status are being detained and threatened with deportation, contravening the Brexit withdrawal agreements, spurring Bail for Immigration Detainees to prepare an official complaint to the European Commission. (Guardian, 1 August 2021)

2 August: The African Union condemns Denmark’s new Aliens Act as setting a dangerous precedent by allowing for relocation of asylum seekers to countries outside the EU, pointing out that attempts to impose similar arrangements in Africa through bilateral arrangements is an unacceptable and xenophobic extension of European controls to African shores. (African Union, press statement, 2 August 2021)

9 August: The Mayor of London pledges to resist the new rough sleeping Immigration Rules, which make rough sleeping grounds to refuse leave to remain in the UK. In this he joins over 80 local authorities and homelessness organisations. (LocalGov, 9 August 2021)

Borders and internal controls

31 July: At the border of Bosnia & Herzegovina, a 5-year-old child drowns in the Una River trying to cross into Croatia; the 240th reported death on the Balkan route since mid-2013. (Are you Serious, 31 July 2021)

1 August: The Independent reveals that the Home Office set up a fake organisation and website, On the Move, disclosing no government links, giving would-be asylum seekers ‘misleading’ information, including the claim that steering a dinghy across the Channel is a crime, despite the recent judicial ruling to the contrary. The Information Commissioner is probing a complaint about the website, insisting that organisations must be ‘clear, open and honest with people’ about who they are. (Independent, 1 August 2021); (Independent, 8 August 2021)

Home Office set up organisation and website, On the Move.

4 August: As a record 482 people cross the Channel on small boats, charities criticise the lack of safer options, warning of the ‘shameful’ risk to life that government restrictive policies bring about. (Guardian, 5 August 2021)

6 August: Belarus is accused of ‘hybrid warfare’ against the EU after it forces thousands of migrants across the border to Lithuania, allegedly with night flares to light the way and gunfire to intimidate them. Lithuania builds temporary camps for detained migrants, prevents journalist access and prepares to build a border fence. (Balkan Insight, 6 August 2021)

Reception and detention

29 July: Rugby Borough Council issues an angry statement in response to a Home Office order, to house asylum seekers in the borough while their refugee status is assessed, made without consulting Rugby council. Later the Labour group clarifies that the town is not anti-asylum seekers but deplores the way the Home Office had acted. (Rugby Advertiser, 29 July 2021; Rugby Advertiser , 5 August 2021)

29 July: Brighton councillor Phelim Mac Cafferty expresses concerns about the welfare of the 60 or so child migrants who were moved into a hotel in Brighton and Hove with less than a day’s notice, as one of the children reportedly contracted COVID. (Brighton and Hove News, 29 July 2021)

30 July: The parliamentary Home Affairs Committee expresses concern at Kent migrant holding facilities, which are ‘clearly unfit for purpose’ and present a ‘clear COVID risk’ through the stuffy conditions and little opportunity for social distancing. (BBC News, 30 July 2021)

Deportation

1 August: Lawyers are challenging the Home Office policy of deporting Vietnamese people, using a fast-track processing system which overlooks the fact they may have been trafficked to the UK. (Guardian, 1 August 2021)

11 August: Hours before the controversial deportation charter flight is due to fly to Jamaica, at least 43 people are taken off after last minute legal challenges. Two men due to fly attempt suicide and are taken to hospital. Ultimately, the flight costing around £300,000 leaves with just 7 people on board. (Guardian and Guardian, 11 August 2021)

Citizenship and statelessness

28 July: The family of British national Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, arrested in Kenya and taken to Nigeria in an act of extraordinary rendition, threatens to judicially review the foreign secretary, accusing the UK government of abandoning him to illegal detention and the risk of torture through failing to provide consular assistance.(Guardian, 28 July 2021)

ELECTORAL POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT POLICY 

7 August: Following the acquittal for housing fraud of left-wing Muslim Labour MP Apsana Begum in a prosecution brought by Tower Hamlets Council, the former shadow Attorney General, Shami Chakrabarti calls for further scrutiny of the local authority. Begum has received Islamophobic abuse and death threats on social media, leading the judge at the hearing to issue stern warnings regarding her protection. (Guardian, 7 August 2021)

7 August: Jewish Voice for Labour submits evidence to the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Forde inquiry into Labour’s handling of antisemitism complaints, stating that 35 left-wing Jewish members, whose Jewishness has been mocked with no action taken, have been disproportionately investigated for antisemitism. (Morning Star, 7 August 2021)

11 August: The leader of the Labour group on Ashford Borough Council is condemned for advancing ‘far right fantasies’ after suggesting that a ‘home guard’ of volunteers be set up to identify migrants crossing the Channel and hand them over to the authorities. (Independent, 11 August 2021)

ANTI-FASCISM, FAR RIGHT & EXTREME RIGHT POLITICS 

With anti-migrant, anti-equalities, anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQI activities increasingly interlinking, this section now incorporates information on the Christian Right.

29 July: In Dusseldorf, Germany, the trial begins of three men accused of forming Goyim Party Germany, a far-right criminal organisation with a global network that incites antisemitism and hate speech. (Deutsche Welle, 29 July 2021)

31 July: An Al Jazeera investigation finds that the vast majority of those arrested in Europe since 2019 for downloading 3D-printed weapons to build their own guns, are far-right activists, with arrests taking place this year in the Canary Islands, Spain and Keighley, UK. In his manifesto, the Halle synagogue killer, who livestreamed his rampage, boasted about using 3D-printed firearms, and that he preferred ‘live testing’.(Al Jazeera, 31 July 2021)

1 August: In Berlin, Germany, Jörg Reichel, local head of the German Journalist Union, previously threatened for his monitoring of the Querdenker (lateral thinker) movement, is attacked on the periphery of a demonstration against Covid restrictions, where 600 protesters people are arrested and one man dies after breaking through a police barrier. (Guardian, 2 August 2021)

3 August: Far-right racist groups have been warned to stay away from Ben Nevis as the Patriotic Alternative (founded by the BNP’s former director of publicity) unfurl a huge ‘White Lives Matter’ banner on the peak. (Guardian, 3 August 2021)

6 August: Wikileaks in partnership with European and Mexican newspapers publishes the internal documents of Spanish ultra-Conservative Catholic Hazte Oir movement and its international arm Citizen Go which are at the forefront of the global assault on LGBTQI and women’s rights and are linked to the far Right. (Il Fatto Quotidiano, 6 August 2021)

6 August: In Spain, a neo-Nazi is arrested in connection with a Molotov cocktail attack in April on the headquarters of the left-wing Podemos headquarters in Cartagena, Murcia. (Huffington Post, 6 August 2021)

8 August: According to a Freedom of Information response, the Home Office recorded, between the start of 2020 and July this year, 70 incidents by far-right supporters against asylum seekers in barracks and hotels, including throwing of bottles and stones, ramming with a car, rape threats, arson attempts and other forms of harassment and intimidation. Campaigners say the government figure is a massive underestimation of such attacks. (Guardian, 8 August 2021)

POLICING, PRISONS AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM 

29 July: On the release of Independent Office for Police Conduct statistics of 18 deaths 2019/20 during or following police contact in England and Wales, INQUEST points to the way patterns continue, caused by systemic failures to safeguard the intoxicated, those in mental health crisis, dangerous restraint, and neglect. (INQUEST, 29 July 2021)

30 July: An inquest concludes that Adam Stanmore, a 37-year-old man of mixed heritage from Oxford, found dead on 13 June 2019, suffered multiple failures by the police, paramedics and mental health services that contributed to his death, including the decision of paramedics to delete records which indicated that he had taken an overdose of insulin to kill himself. (INQUEST, 2 August 2021)

30 July: Islington Council criticises the decision by the Independent Office for Police Conduct not to punish the officer who knelt on the neck of Marcus Contain near Finsbury Park in 2020, on the basis that there was no racial aggravation. (Islington Gazette, 30 July 2021)

30 July: Data on youth services, stop and search and deprivation in Haringey, Croydon, Southwark, Birmingham and Manchester reveals that conditions that led to riots 10 years ago, still exist today. (Guardian, 30 July 2021)

1 August: On the tenth anniversary of the 2011 riots, Nazir Afzal, a chief crown prosecutor at that time, says that custodial sentences for rioters had been extremely harsh with the system failing to distinguish between repeat offenders and people ‘caught up’ in the events. (Guardian, 1 August 2021)

2 August: A Birmingham police officer is found guilty in court of assaulting a black man and then a 15-year-old boy within two days last year. (Guardian, 3 August 2021)

3 August: Abimbola Johnson, a black barrister is appointed by the National Police Chiefs Council to chair a new independent scrutiny and oversight board of the police – a body set up to boost the confidence of ethnic minorities in the police. ( Guardian, 3 August 2021)

3 August: Four men, including an 18-year-old, have been handed jail terms of over 3 years after entering guilty pleas to a rarely used charge of riot, for their participation in the Bristol protest against the Police, Crime and Sentencing Bill earlier in the year. (The Bristol Cable, 3 August 2021)

COUNTER-TERRORISM AND NATIONAL SECURITY 

9 August: It is reported that up 70% of people referred to Prevent may suffer from mental ill-health or other vulnerabilities and are currently being failed by other services. And, according to police, increasing numbers of children are also being radicalised by banned neo-Nazi groups. Guardian, 9 August 2021)

DISCRIMINATION, EQUALITIES AND HUMAN RIGHTS 

2 August: Humza Yousaf, the Scottish health secretary, alleges that a nursery has discriminated against his 2-year-old child and others with Muslim names, by refusing them places. (Guardian, 2 August 2021)

4 August: After a 20-year campaign in the Czech Republic, the government finally legislates to compensate hundreds of Roma women sterilised without informed consent between 1966 and 2012. Slovakia is urged to adopt a similar compensation mechanism. (Guardian, 4 August 2021)

4 August: The Charity Commission rules that Barnado’s did not breach charity laws in a blogpost discussing racial inequality and white privilege – a complaint brought by the Common Sense Group of Tory MPs. (Guardian, 4 August 2021)

EDUCATION 

29 July: Leading education organisations warn the education secretary that scrapping BTecs is a threat to social mobility, with former Conservative education secretary Kenneth Baker pointing out that 37% of black students and 44% of white working-class students who go on to university study at least one BTec. (Guardian, 29 July 2021)

3 August: Advocacy group CAGE launches a judicial review of a letter sent to schools by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson about the Israel-Palestine conflict, on the grounds that his call for ‘political impartiality’ discriminated against Muslim students and failed to guarantee their right to freedom of speech and association. (Byline Times, 3 August 2021)

5 August: A review by Green politician Sian Berry finds that since the 2011 riots, funding for London youth services has been cut by £240m (44%) over a decade, blighting an entire generation, with the loss of 600 full-time youth worker jobs and the closure of more than 130 youth centres. (CYP News, 5 August 2021)

HOUSING, HOMELESSNESS, POVERTY AND WELFARE 

7 August: Haringey council commits to a community-led development in Tottenham after protests against a gentrification plan that would disperse poor, ethnically-diverse communities, leading developer Grainger to abandon plans to build a multimillion-pound residential development, demolishing London’s only remaining Latin Village market in the process. (Guardian, 7 August 2021)

Restored vision of Seven Sisters: Watercolour painted by Candy Amsden

HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE 

31 July: Official NHS guidance on the use of blood oxygen monitors is changed, on the NHS website, following previous findings that the monitors may not be as accurate when used on black and brown skin. (Independent, 31 July 2021)

CULTURE, MEDIA AND 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.

29 July: In a case related to Facebook’s deleting of hateful comments against Muslim migrants and refugees, a German Federal Court of Justice rules that Facebook’s ‘community standards’ policy did not give it the power to delete posts or suspend accounts without informing users first. (Euronews, 29 July 2021)

29 July: A Byline Times investigation suggests that GB News supporters are using fake ‘bot’ twitter accounts to boost the struggling new ‘anti-woke’ broadcaster’s online presence. (Byline Times, 29 July 2021)

4 August: Google blocks advertising on a Mail Online column by Piers Morgan that criticised US gymnast Simone Biles for quitting Olympic events over her mental health because of unmoderated ‘racist comments’ under the article. (Press Gazette, 4 August 2021)

4 August: After the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) upholds another complaint against the Jewish Chronicle, nine people who had either had complaints upheld or secured admissions of libel write to the press regulator demanding a formal investigation into breaches of code. (The Canary, 4 August 2021)

5 August: In Germany, the FA bars fourth division Tennis Borussia Berlin from advertising on players’ T-shirts support for CURA, a fund for victims of far-right violence, on the grounds that the shirt ad would ‘provoke a certain group of people’. (Deutsche Welle, 5 August 2021)

6 August: Italian club Juventus apologises for a tweet posting a Sinophobic image of player Cecilia Salvai narrowing her eyes and wearing a cone on her head. (Guardian, 6 August 2021)

7 August: Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York, in an article for the Daily Telegraph says English people are ‘left behind’ by ‘metropolitan elites’ in London who treat people proud to be English as ‘backwardly xenophobic’. (Independent, 7 August 2021)

9 August: James O’Brien, an LBC presenter, is cleared by Ofcom in a case brought by the Institute of Economic Affairs, of misrepresenting the organisation as a politically motivated lobbying organisation funded by ‘dark money’. (Guardian, 9 August 2021)

10 August: Poet and teacher Kate Clanchy confirms she will rewrite her memoir Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me, following criticism for including ‘racist and ableist tropes’. Clanchy had originally falsely claimed that quotes of the book were ‘made up’, with writers Chimene Suleyman, Monisha Rajesh and Sunny Singh receiving racist abuse online for their criticism. (Guardian, 10 August 2021)

10 August: The football Premier League announces that fans who engage in racist abuse, or other forms of discriminatory behaviour, will be banned from all Premier League grounds. (Guardian, 10 August 2021)

10 August: Twitter reveals that the majority of racist tweets sent to England footballers after the Euro 2020 final came from the UK. 99% of the 1,622 racist tweets Twitter analysed were from identifiable accounts, suggesting that removing online anonymity through ID verification is unlikely to prevent online abuse. (iNews, 10 August 2021)

10 August: Twitter announces that a research competition it opened to find out more about algorithmic bias in its photo-cropping, has confirmed the cropping is biased towards white faces, slimmer faces and lighter skin. (The Verge, 10 August 2021)

RACIAL VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT 

29 July: West Mercia Police appeal for information following a racially aggravated assault in Hereford on 7 July, during which the victim sustained facial injuries. (West Mercia Police, 29 July 2021)

 30 July: The High Court quashes the acquittal of the man filmed with a cardboard model of Grenfell Tower burning on his bonfire and circulated on WhatsApp; he now faces a retrial. (Guardian, 30 July 2021)

2 August: The Center for Countering Digital Hatred reports that major social media platforms are failing to take down more than 80% of antisemitic posts on their platforms. (BBC, 2 August 2021)

3 August: Two men, aged 26 and 21, are charged with behaving in a racially-aggravated manner during an attack on a man in a Glasgow shop, which left him requiring hospital treatment. (Daily Record, 3 August 2021)

4 August: A 25-year-old man suffering a mental health crisis is jailed for 9 months for causing racially aggravated fear of violence, possession of a knife and threatening behaviour during an attack on a Polish man in Tiverton, Devon. (Devon Live, 4 August 2021)

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


Headline image photo credit: @maz_o


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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