A fortnightly resource for anti-racist and social justice campaigns, highlighting key events in the UK and Europe.
Asylum and migration
8 April: Corporate Watch publishes The Hostile Environment: turning the UK into a nation of border cops, download the report here.
30 April: Ismael Bokar Deh, 58, a father of eight in France for 18 years and undocumented worker who sold tourist trinkets, dies from his injuries after being struck by a police car on rue Carnot, near Versailles, as he fled from police. (InfoLibertaire, 6 May 2018)
2 May: The Independent Monitoring Board publishes its Annual report at Port of Dover Short Term Holding Facility for reporting Year 2017, download it here.
3 May: Police raid a migrant shelter in the German town of Ellwange, three days after the occupants forced police to abandon an attempt to deport an asylum seeker to Togo. (Reuters, 3 May 2018)
4 May: The Home Office announces that G4S will continue to operate Brook House removal centre, despite revelations of abuse of detainees. (Corporate Watch, 7 May 2018)
4 May: The High Court criticises new home secretary Sajid Javid after a wheelchair-bound disabled man was released from immigration detention to a house that was not wheelchair accessible. (Guardian, 4 May 2018)
4 May: The Independent Monitoring Board publishes: Annual Report for Immigration Removal Centre The Verne for the period 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2017, download it here.
6 May: The Home Office is accused of abusing powers designed to tackle terrorism, after it is revealed that at least 1,000 highly skilled migrants face deportation as a result of minor financial errors. (Guardian, 6 May 2018)
7 May: Corporate Watch have updated their UK Detention Centres Factsheet, download it here.
7 May: A 19-year-old Vietnamese man, a recognised victim of child slavery, launches a legal action against the Home Office after he was sexually assaulted while being illegally detained at Morton Hall. (Guardian, 7 May 2018)
7 May: Six people are injured and four arrested during clashes at the Langadika refugee centre outside Thessaloniki in northern Greece. (Ekathimerini, 7 May 2018)
7 May: Three firefighters from Spain and two volunteers from Denmark, accused of human smuggling by Greek authorities for their work as humanitarian activists, are cleared of all charges on the first day of their trial. (The Local, 8 May 2018)
8 May: Italian and British authorities leave a ship carrying 105 migrants stranded at sea for two days whilst they stall in making a decision, before allowing the ship to dock in Italy. (The Local, 8 May 2018)
8 May: Refugees who were shipwrecked off the coast of Libya file a case against the Italian government at the European Court of Human Rights, alleging that it is responsible for the drowning of twenty asylum seekers, as the Libyan coastguard prevented a Sea Watch rescue ship from helping them, in pursuance of an agreement with Italy which lawyers call ‘pullback by proxy’. (Al Jazeera, 8 May 2018)
9 May: A report by David Bolt, the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, is critical of the Home Office for its lack of ‘strategic oversight’ for newly arrived refugees under the Vulnerable Person Resettlement Scheme (VPRS). Download the report here. (Guardian, 9 May 2018)
9 May: Educationalists call on the government to rethink rules that deny children of those with uncertain immigration status access to free school meals. (Guardian, 9 May 2018)
9 May: In a U-turn of ‘hostile environment’ policy, the NHS will no longer be required to hand immigrants’ data over to the Home Office for immigration enforcement. (Guardian, 9 May 2018)
10 May: The Independent Monitoring Board publishes its Annual Report at North and Midlands Short Term Holding Facilities, download it here.
13 May: Homeless EEA nationals who have been illegally detained for deportation are to receive compensation, following a judicial review in December that halted the policy. Tomas Lusas, a Lithuanian national, has been awarded £10,000 in damages. (BBC News, 13 May 2018)
14 May: Freedom of Information requests made by the BBC find that over half of UK police forces are routinely handing over victims of crime to the Home Office for immigration enforcement. (BBC News, 14 May 2018)
14 May: The Public Interest Law Unit (Pilu) lodges a complaint with the Charity Commission and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) against the homeless charity St Mungo’s for its work with the Home Office which resulted in homeless migrants being arrested, detained and deported, in some cases unlawfully. (Guardian, 14 May 2018)
14 May: The government of the Republika Sprska, Bosnia’s mainly Serbian entity, calls for the closure of Bosnia’s state borders to migrants, saying that since the 2016 closure of the ‘Balkan route’ which had allowed migrants to reach western Europe, Bosnian institutions have been unable to ‘establish control’. (Balkans Insight, 14 May 2018)
15 May: Figures released by the Ministry of Social Policy and Integration in the German state of Hesse reveal that seventy asylum seekers attempted to commit suicide, four of whom died, in Hesse in the last year, with most incidents taking place in the special transit zone of Frankfurt airport. (InfoMigrants, 15 May 2018)
15 May: An HM Chief Inspector of Prisons report finds that on a charter flight deporting twenty-three people to third countries, staff from Tascor (a subsidiary of Capita) outnumbered detainees three to one and nearly all detainees were placed in waist restraint belts, which the inspector states was ‘not necessary, proportionate or reasonable’. Download Detainees under escort: Inspection of a Third Country Unit removal to France, Austria and Bulgaria, here.
Policing and criminal justice
6 May: Spanish police arrest Jamie Acourt, 41, a former suspect in the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence, for extradition to the UK on alleged drugs offences. (BBC News, 6 May 2018)
8 May: A new report by Amnesty International on the gangs violence matrix used by the Met police finds that 87 per cent of those on the database come from BAME communities and that young black people have been stigmatised as a result. Download the report, Trapped in the matrix: Secrecy, stigma, and bias in the Met’s Gangs Database, here. (Guardian, 9 May 2018)
8 May: The Monitoring Group publishes a report by Stafford Scott, The War on Gangs or a Racialised War on Working Class Black Youths, download it here.
9 May: Joint Enterprise Not Guilty by Association (JENGbA) publishes issue forty-six of its newsletter, download it here.
10 May: In one of the biggest rallies in Munich for years, eighty civil society groups and political organisations mobilise over 30,000 people to protest against Bavaria’s Police Tasks Bill. The bill uses the counter-terrorism term ‘impending danger or peril’ as a justification for the extension of police powers to intervene before an offence takes place, and aims at the deployment of a Bavarian border police alongside federal officers. (Deutsche Welle, 10 May 2018)
11 May: An employment tribunal finds that retired police officer Zaheer Ahmed was subjected to ‘unconscious racial discrimination’ by North Yorkshire Police as he tried to gain promotion. A further hearing will take place to decide compensation. (York Press, 11 May 2018)
15 May: New research into the use of facial recognition by Big Brother Watch finds that identification is wrong in 90 per cent of cases and the use of the technology at Notting Hill Carnival last year had a 98 per cent error rate. Download the report, The lawless growth of facial recognition in UK policing here. (Guardian, 15 May 2018)
Anti fascism and the far right
4 May: Around eighty far-right extremists attack journalists covering a government migration-related visit to Lesbos, Greece. (Ekathimerini, 4 May 2018)
5 May: Scottish independence supporters marching through Glasgow are confronted by a man carrying a union jack and appearing to make Nazi salutes. (Herald, 7 May 2018)
6 May: Speakers including the leader of UKIP Gerard Batten, Anne Marie Waters (For Britain) and former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos address a demonstration for free speech in central London, called after the Twitter ban on ex-leader of the EDL Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, aka Tommy Robinson. (Guardian, 6 May 2018)
7 May: Officials at the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial and museum in Poland report that they have been subjected to a campaign of disinformation and abuse, including the vandalising of the home of a guide, which they attribute to a new law criminalising speech that alludes to the role Poland played in the Holocaust. (Guardian, 7 May 2018)
9 May: Four men, Chad Williams-Allen, 26, Gary Jack, 22, and two unnamed men, are found guilty of inciting racial hatred for putting up National Action stickers at Aston University in July 2016, and will be sentenced on 1 June. (Independent, 9 May 2018)
14 May: Jeremy Bedford-Turner, 48, is jailed for stirring up racial hatred in a speech made in Whitehall in July 2016 after far-right groups were stopped from marching through Golders Green. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had initially refused to prosecute but the decision was challenged by the Campaign Against Antisemitism. (Guardian, 14 May 2018)
14 May: Austrian prosecutors announce criminal charges against seventeen members of the far-right ‘Identitarian Movement’ (IBO), following raids last month at the homes of several members. (The Local, 14 May 2018)
11 May: Theresa May apologises for Britain’s role in the 2004 rendition of Abdel Hakim Belhaj and his wife Fatima Boudchar, with the help of MI6, to Libya, where they were detained and tortured. Fatima Boudchar, who was pregnant when the couple were kidnapped, will receive £500,000 compensation. (Guardian, 11 May 2018)
9 May: Eleven male students at Warwick University are suspended pending an investigation into racist slurs and rape jokes used in Facebook messages. (Independent, 9 May 2018)
9 May: A Berlin court upholds the city authorities’ decision to ban a primary school teacher from wearing a headscarf in classes, saying neutrality takes precedence over the right to free expression, and that small children ‘should be free of the influence’ of religious symbols. The plaintiff can teach in secondary schools, the court said. (Deutsche Welle, 9 May 2018)
11 May: The Home Office begins reviewing cases of asylum seekers denied access to education as part of its ‘hostile environment’ policy. (BBC News, 11 May 2018)
11 May: It is revealed that the men’s hockey club at Hull University created a ‘punishment’ of drinking a pint for racist comments, as they were being made so often. (Hull Daily Mail, 11 May 2018)
14 May: The Oratory School in Oxfordshire apologises after photographs of its pupils dressed as slaves and slave-owners, with some pupils blacked up, appear on social media. (BBC News, 11 May 2018)
10 May: A Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) report examining modern slavery in the construction industry finds that major contractors are heavily reliant on migrant labour and immigration checks are conflated with modern slavery checks. (CIOB, 10 May 2018)
12 May: The Royal College of Nursing calls for a stop to charging overseas nurses working in the NHS in order to receive care for themselves and their families. Currently, non-EEA nationals working for the NHS must pay a £200 health surcharge per family member, due to double later this year. (RCN, 12 May 2018)
3 May: Somali women in Brent stage a demonstration against alleged ‘ethnic cleansing’ in the London borough, which has resulted in the displacement of families and the disruption of their children’s education. (Wembley Matters, 3 May 2018)
8 May: The House of Commons Library publishes a briefing paper by Hannah Cromarty: Gypsies and Travellers, download it here.
12 May: Tendayi Achiume, the UN Special Rapporteur on Racism, finds that ethnic minorities in the UK have been disproportionately affected by the government’s austerity and immigration policies. (Guardian, 12 May 2018)
4 May: A survey by Pulse magazine finds that a quarter of BAME GPs claim to have been racially abused at least once a month by patients. (Pulse, 4 May 2018)
Media and culture
8 May: A new play about the far Right in the UK, The Ununited Kingdom, is withdrawn due to concerns raised by its own cast members that the play was racist. (The Stage, 8 May 2018)
9 May: The Daily Telegraph pays undisclosed damages to Mohammed Kozbar, the chairman of Finsbury Park mosque, over an article claiming he supported violent Islamist extremism, written by Andrew Gilligan in March 2016. (Independent, 9 May 2018)
9 May: Chelsea FC brings in charity Barnardo’s to oversee an independent investigation into allegations of racism towards black youth players who claim they were racially abused by Gwyn Williams and Graham Rix in the 1990s. (Guardian, 8 and 9 May 2018)
10 May: Tony Henry, a former West Ham football scout, is charged with misconduct by the Football Association in relation to comments he made to an agent about African players. (Shropshire Star, 10 May 2018)
6 May: The Conservative Party is criticised after regaining control of Pendle Council following the reinstatement of councillor Rosemary Carroll, who had been suspended for sharing racist jokes on Facebook. (BBC News, 6 May 2018)
8 May: Over eighty complaints are made to the Local Government Commissioner for Standards over a ‘racist, sectarian and offensive’ tweet posted by Jolene Bunting, a Belfast city councillor. (Belfast Telegraph, 8 May 2018)
10 May: Nick Farmer, an Ossett Conservative councillor, is suspended after it is revealed he had been dismissed from the fire service for ‘offensive remarks’. He is re-elected as an independent. (BBC News, 10 May 2018)
Violence and harassment: attacks on people
3 May: In an Edinburgh hostel, Syrian refugee Shahbaz Ali, 28, is stabbed six times and left seriously injured following an attack by two men and two women, as he attempted to protect a female relative. A 17-year-old is later charged. (Daily Record, 6 and 7 May 2018)
6 May: Two young Jewish boys are racially abused and assaulted in Golders Green at the North Circular road crossing. (Jewish News, 8 May 2018)
10 May: Hundreds protest in Edinburgh in support of Syrian refugee, Shabaz Ali, who was stabbed in a racist attack. (CommonSpace, 11 May 2018)
14 May: Ian Cleaver, a security guard at Northgate bus station in Northampton, is given an award for bravery after disarming a man wielding a meat cleaver who was racially abusing passers-by. (Northampton Chronicle, 14 May 2018)
Violence and harassment: attacks on property
4 May: Racist graffiti is daubed on the walls of a new housing development in east Belfast and fifteen windows are broken, in an attack that police are treating as racially motivated. (Belfast Telegraph, 5 May 2018)
14 May: Racist graffiti is daubed on beach huts in Shoebury. (Brainstree & Witham Times, 14 May 2018)
Violence and harassment: abuse
5 May: A 19-year-old man is racially abused and followed by a gang of up to eight teenagers aged between 13-15, whilst out with friends in Tidworth. (SpireFM, 8 May 2018)
9 May: Police appeal for information after a 44-year-old black woman is racially abused on a bus from Crosspool to Sheffield city centre. (ITV, 9 May 2018)
Violence and harassment: charges
8 May: Steven Robson, 54, appears at court charged with the racially aggravated assault of a security guard at a Marks & Spencer store in Carlisle. (Cumbria Crack, 8 May 2018)
Violence and harassment: convictions
8 May: Kamil Sciebior, 29, is jailed for five years after admitting arson being reckless as to endangering life, which was found to be racially aggravated, racially abusing workers at a petrol station and setting charcoal alight. (Manchester Evening News, 8 May 2018)
9 May: Nicola Coomber is found guilty of two counts of religious and racial hatred for racially abusing her neighbours in Margate. She is given a twelve month discharge, and ordered to pay compensation and costs. (Kent Online, 9 May 2018)
9 May: At South Cumbria magistrates’ court, Jason Heasley, 42, pleads guilty to a charge of racially aggravated threatening or abusive behaviour. He is fined and ordered to pay compensation, a victim surcharge and costs. (NW Evening Mail, 11 May 2018)
10 May: Flintshire man Sean Maguire, 49, is found guilty of two counts of publishing or distributing written matter intended to stir up religious hatred, for posting ‘Kill all Muslims’ on Facebook after the Westminster terror attack. Sentencing is adjourned until 14 June. (Daily Post, 10 May 2018)
11 May: Police release CCTV images of men, believed to be Leeds United fans, wanted in connection with racial abuse on a train between Leeds and Sheffield. (Yorkshire Evening Post, 11 May 2018)
11 May: Shaista Aziz, a newly elected Labour councillor in Oxford, complains to police that she was racially abused at the election count on 4 May. (This is Oxfordshire, 11 May 2018)
11 May: Craig Garnell, 29, admits assault causing actual bodily harm and affray for attacking a promoter and racially abusing a bouncer at a club in Liverpool where he worked. He is sentenced to twelve months in prison suspended for eighteen months, and given a curfew. (Liverpool Echo, 11 May 2018)
14 May: O2 apologises to a British Iraqi family after leaflets addressed to ‘Mr Isis Terroriste’ and ‘Mr Getout Ofengland’ are sent to the family in London. (BBC News, 14 May 2018)
15 May: Wayne Williams, 34, is found guilty of racially aggravated harassment and threatening behaviour for racially abusing an Asian couple outside an Asda store in Wrexham and throwing snowballs at their car. He is given a six month community order, and ordered to pay a fine, costs and compensation. (Leader Live, 15 May 2018)
15 May: Two women from Fife, Frances Duggan, 61, and Annette Hay, 52, are found guilty of acting in a racially aggravated manner towards Marcin Tatartoinowicz, a bus driver, who they called a ‘Nazi’ as he drove the women home from the Edinburgh Festival. Both women receive community payback orders with 150 hours of unpaid work. (Dunfermline Press, 15 May 2018)
9 May: Freedom of Information requests reveals that fewer people are being charged with racially and religiously aggravated hate crimes in England and Wales, despite a two-fold increase in reports. (BBC News, 9 May 2018)
10 May: According to new research by Citizens UK, three out of five Muslims in Nottingham have been the victim of hate crime. Download the report, Still no place for hate: analysis of the findings of the Nottingham Citizen’s Hate Crime Survey, here.