Calendar of Racism and Resistance (5 – 19 January 2022)


Calendar of Racism and Resistance (5 – 19 January 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

2 January: The Independent reveals that the Home Office paid Hong-Kong-based ‘migration behaviour change’ company Seefar £700,000 between 2016 and 2018 to dissuade Afghans from leaving the country before the Taliban takeover. The company has won two more lucrative government contracts since. (Independent, 2 January 2022) 

13 January: The anonymous owner of a shoe factory in the southern Italian port of Barletta donates 2,500 shoes for migrants on the Balkan route. (InfoMigrants, 13 January 2021)

14 January: Redbridge council says that since the pandemic almost half of the 389 rough sleepers provided with emergency accommodation were impacted by the no recourse to public funds policy and that the council faces a ‘cliff edge’ situation with a very real risk to life unless government changes tack. (Yellow Advertiser, 14 January 2022)

14 January: Five UN Special Rapporteurs issue a statement saying that the Nationality and Borders Bill breaches international law obligations towards children, women, trafficking victims, asylum seekers and refugees, ‘dismantling a core human rights protection of democratic societies and pushing vulnerable people into dangerous situations’. (United Nations, 14 January 2022)

14 January: The High Court refuses an application to extend the Windrush scheme to include descendants of Windrush victims who joined family here as adults after 1988, including some prevented from joining parents earlier by the discriminatory policy. (Guardian, 14 January 2022) 

18 January: JCWI publishes a report on the experiences of undocumented migrants during the pandemic, We also want to be safe, showing the devastating effects of prioritising hostile environment policies over people’s health and welfare. (JCWI, 18 January 2022)

Policing the borders - impunity entrenched
Policing the borders – impunity entrenched (2021)
Borders and internal controls

6 January: Doctors without Borders says it has removed its emergency response team on the Belarus-Poland border after Poland blocked its access to migrants by declaring certain areas ‘restricted’ for journalists and aid groups. (Deutsche Welle, 6 January 2022)

10 January: The Home Office rejects a recommendation by the Domestic Abuse Commissioner for a firewall to prevent data sharing between police, to whom migrant women report domestic abuse, and the Home Office enforcement directorate. (Electronic Immigration Network, 10 January 2022)

11 January: In Italy, one year after the release from port of a SOS Mediterranee search and rescue vessel after five months of extreme scrutiny under administrative detention, Ocean Viking is blocked once again in Trapani, Sicily, on grounds that are unrelated to the previous detention. (SOS Mediterranee, 11 January 2022)

13 January: In northern Greece, an Iranian couple die while trekking through the hills in severe rainstorms and snowfalls to avoid police patrols. (Keep Talking Greece, 13 January 2022)

14 January: In France an unnamed man, believed to be Sudanese and in his 20s, dies attempting to cross the Channel, as 32 people are rescued off Berck, near Calais, suffering from hypothermia. (Guardian, 14 January 2022)

18 January: After the government announces that the military will be put in charge of efforts to prevent migrant boat Channel crossings, Royal Navy sources say it has ‘little interest’ in carrying out Priti Patel’s ‘pushback’ policy which is ‘not part of our ethics’. (Guardian, 18 January 2022) 

18 January: In Greece, Human Rights Watch condemns the EU-funded programme that gives police use of biometrics that scan people’s faces and fingerprints to cross check against police, immigration, and private sector databases, as it violates international human rights standards on privacy. (Ekathimerini, 18 January 2022)

Reception and detention

6 January: As the government announces that the first families have been resettled under the Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme launched in August, it is revealed that the British citizens evacuated from Kabul and Afghan families already in the UK are counted in the 5,000 whom the government pledged to resettle in the first year, while vulnerable women, girls and minorities remain stuck in Afghanistan. (Guardian, 6 January 2022)

7 January: A coroner finds that Croydon council missed opportunities to help Eritrean refugee Alexander Tekle, who committed suicide at age18 in December 2017, one of four friends who took their own lives in 16 months. (Independent, 7 January 2022; London News Online, 13 January 2022)

11 January: Charities working in Calais and Dunkirk, France, warn that 2,000 migrants, including refugees from Afghanistan abandoned during the evacuation, face the risk of dying in freezing temperatures in makeshift camps, which police clear every two days. (Independent, 11 January 2022)

16 January: The Independent reveals that hundreds of child refugees are wrongly classified as adults and forced to share hotel rooms and even a bed with adult strangers, including a victim of multiple rapes. (Independent, 16 January 2022)

16 January: Groups including Abolish Detention, Durham People’s Assembly and No to Hassockfield join former immigration detainees in a protest outside the Derwentside Immigration Centre, which opened in December 2021 to replace Yarl’s Wood as the UK’s sole women-only detention centre. (BBC News, 16 January 2022)

Deportation

13 January: After the Home Office retracts a decision refusing a Syrian asylum seeker’s claim on the basis that it is safe to return there, it is disclosed that an Afghan and a Yemeni have been told to go home as it is safe for them to return. (Guardian, 13 January 2022)

16 January: The Home Office refuses to say if officials still tell new Channel arrivals they are illegal entrants and are liable to removal, weeks after the Court of Appeal rebuked it for the ‘heresy’ and pointed out that it is not illegal to arrive without documents, the Independent reports. (Independent, 16 January 2022)

18 January: A legal opinion by Leigh Day solicitors argues that clause 9 of the Nationality and Borders Bill, which gives the Home secretary the power to strip a person’s citizenship without notifying them, is at odds with both common law and Britain’s obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights. (New Statesman, 18 January 2022)

ELECTORAL POLITICS | GOVERNMENT POLICY

With anti-migrant, anti-equalities, anti-abortion, misogynistic and anti-LGBTQI activities increasingly interlinking, we now incorporate information on the Christian Right.

7 January: A former director of public prosecutions and senior criminal lawyers accuse Attorney General Suella Braverman of politically driven meddling over the Colston Four verdict after she says on Twitter that she may refer the acquittal to the court of appeal on a point of law. The parliamentary Common Sense Group was also vocal against the acquittal. (Guardian, 7 January 2022)

7-8 January: ‘Wokism’ and ‘cancel culture’ rooted in decolonial thought and gender theory is the subject of a Sorbonne university conference in Paris, France, attended by 600 academics and opened by education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer who last year launched ‘The Laboratory of the Republic’, a think-tank to uphold French values against the ‘ideology’ of ‘wokism’ that ‘fragments and divides’. (Le Monde, 8 January 2022; CNN, 7 January 2022)

9 January: Rhian Graham, one of the Colston Four protesters acquitted of criminal damage for toppling the statue of Edward Colston in Bristol, suggests the verdict has been misrepresented by right-wing commentators and MPs as part of their ‘war on woke’. (Guardian, 9 January 2022)

11 January: As police make multiple arrests of young men of North African origin following assaults on women in Milan, Italy, on New Year’s Eve, right-wing politicians call for the resignation of the city’s left-wing councillor for security, with Forza Italia declaring ‘the left-wing goodness, even in the face of the evidence, is really disgusting’. Comparisons are made with similar events and racialised responses in Cologne in 2015-16. (Guardian, 11 January 2022)

14 January: The Polish parliament passes an education bill, the ‘LGBT + Propaganda law’, which, according to its critics, stipulates those extracurricular activities run by NGOs must be approved by a government-appointed supervisor. Education minister Przemslaw Czarnek thinks LGBT+ people ‘aren’t equal to normal people’ and has compared them to Nazis. (Guardian, 14 January 2022; Pink News, 12 January 2022)

14 January: Philip Normal, a former mayor of Lambeth resigns as a Labour councillor after a series of Islamophobic social media posts are unearthed. (Independent, 14 January 2022)

17 January: French far-right presidential candidate Éric Zemmour, who in 2020 described unaccompanied migrant children as ‘thieves’, ‘murderers’ and ‘rapists’ and part of a ‘permanent invasion’, is found guilty of inciting hatred and racial abuse and ordered to pay €10,000. The CNews which broadcast the comments is also fined. (Euronews, January 2022)

ANTI-FASCISM AND THE FAR RIGHT

5 January: Facebook bans Confederation, a far-right nationalist grouping with 11 MPs in the Polish parliament, for repeated violations of the platform’s community standards regarding COVID-19 disinformation and hate speech. (Notes from Poland, 5 January 2022)

5 January: The French government bans the far-right youth organisation ‘Zouaves Paris’ for incitement to violence and hatred after its leader Marc de Cacqueray-Valmenier was arrested for assault at a rally in support of presidential candidate Éric Zemmour. (The Local, 5 January 2022)

8 January: Syrians living in an apartment complex in Chloraka, Cyprus, ask the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to intervene after a ‘Put Cypriots First, No More Ghettos, no more Fake refugees’ rally, supported by Golden Dawn and ELAM and the leader of the local council, creates a climate of fear used by the interior ministry as an excuse to evict them, with those who refused to leave the building threatened with benefits sanctions. Read a press statement from KISA here. (Politis, 8 January 2021) 

11 January: In Italy, Jewish and Catholic leaders condemn as ‘offensive and unacceptable’ a funeral procession in Rome at which the coffin of a former member of Forza Nuova was draped in a Nazi flag and mourners gave the fascist salute outside a church. (Guardian, 11 January 2022)

17 January: The Polish government informs Meta of its strong opposition to the banning of the far-right Confederation on Facebook, stating that its objection that it spreads Covid disinformation and hate speech, is ‘not authentic’. (Notes from Poland, 17 January 2022)

POLICING | PRISONS | CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

Police impunity – in and beyond the pandemic (2021)

5 January: The government says its refusal to publish an assessment of a pilot into an expansion of Section 60 suspicionless stop and searches is because it needs a ‘safe space’ to discuss changes. The National Black Police Association says new proposals risk ‘pushing communities further away from policing, at a time when trust and confidence is already low’. (Independent, 5 January 2022)

9 January: On the first anniversary of his death, the family of Mohamud Hassan, 24, who died hours after being released without charge from Cardiff Bay police station, call on the attorney general and home secretary to force the IOPC to response to repeated requests for the release of bodycam and CCTV footage of the final hours of his life. (Observer, 9 January 2022)

10 January: After an investigation by the European Data Protector Supervisor found that Europol had collected and stored data on innocent citizens, it is ordered to delete any data that does not comply with safeguards on the length of time that sensitive information can be stored, if no criminal activity is proven. (Euronews, 10 January 2022)

10 January: FOI requests, responded to by two thirds of police forces in England and Wales, reveal that police officers and staff have covered up more than 100 cases of misconduct by colleagues in an 18-month period, with dozens of officers failing to act when colleagues make discriminatory comments or engage in sexual misconduct. The National Police Chiefs’ Council pledges to do more to ‘call out’ inappropriate behaviour. (Times, 10 January 2022)

10 January: The House of Lords votes to amend Part 10 of the police bill which means the government cannot immediately roll out Serious Violence Reduction Orders after a pilot scheme but have to carry out an evaluation which will be further scrutinised. (The Canary, 10 January 2022)

15 January: As 350 clinical psychiatrists and academics warn in an open letter that the police bill, if passed, ’will have a profound negative impact on young people’s mental health’ dozens of ‘kill the bill’ demonstrations against the legislation take place in cities, including London, Manchester, Edinburgh, and Newcastle. (Guardian, 15 January 2022; Morning Star, 16 January 2022)

17 January: At a late-night House of Lords sitting, the government suffers a series of defeats to its police bill. Peers vote against six clauses, including the power to place conditions on noisy protests, create a new offence of ‘locking on’, stop and search people at a protest without suspicion. Amendments, including making misogyny a hate crime and scrapping the Vagrancy Act 1824, are also made. The justice secretary warns that measures may be brought back via the Commons.(BBC News, 18 January 2022; Guardian, 18 January 2022)

Kill the Bill demonstrators with a banner in central London
A ‘Kill the Bill’ demonstration in central London on 15 January. Credit: Aisha Rana-Deshmukh.

17 January: The inquest opens into the death of Jamaican-born Jason Lennon on 31 July 2019 at London ExCel centre after being restrained by security guards and the Metropolitan police during a mental health crisis. (Inquest, 17 January 2022)

COUNTER-TERRORISM AND NATIONAL SECURITY

13 January: The asylum minister revokes the right to residency of Mohamed Toujgani, the head imam at the Al Khalil Mosque in Molenbeek, Brussels, citing unspecified security service concerns. (Brussels Times, 13 January 2022)

17 January: As the FBI names British national Malik Faisal Akram as the man killed after holding four people hostage at a Texas synagogue, UK counter terrorism police detain two teenagers in Manchester. (Guardian, 17 January 2022) 

DISCRIMINATION | EQUALITIES | HUMAN RIGHTS

9 January: Former disgraced Austrian chancellor, Sebastian Kurtz, is appointed co-chair of the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation. He is currently employed by the investment firm of Donald Trump supporting tech billionaire Peter Thiel, and in office formed a coalition government with the far-right Freedom party. (Deutsche Welle, 9 January 2022)

10 January: In Lithuania the justice ministry confirms that it has paid court-ordered compensation to the ‘forever prisoner’ Abu Zubaydah (still detained at Guantánamo) in recognition that it allowed the CIA to hold him at a secret site outside Vilnius where he was subjected to forms of torture. (Guardian, 10 January 2022)

11 January: On the 20th anniversary of the war on terror’s opening of Guantánamo Bay, the organisation Cage launches a campaign to close the camp, seek justice for its victims and accountability of the politicians involved. (Morning Star, 11 January 2022)

13 January: In Germany, Anwar Raslan, a former Syrian intelligence officer who gained asylum in Germany, is found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to life imprisonment, in a case which is seen to set a precedent for international jurisdiction cases. (Guardian, 13 January 2022)

EDUCATION

10 January: In France, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region freezes funds for Sciences Po Grenoble over the suspension of associate professor, Klaus Kinzler, who sparked protests and death threats over comments about Islamophobia. After comments to the media claiming his colleagues were indoctrinating students within a ‘political re-education camp’, he was suspended. Marine Le Pen says loss of funding is the right response to the ‘infiltration of our grandes écoles by Islamo-leftism’. (Times Higher Education, 10 January 2021)

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.

8 January: Police are investigating allegations that former England footballer and ITV Sport pundit Ashley Cole was racially abused during the FA Cup tie between Swindon and Manchester City. (Guardian, 8 January 2022)

13 January: King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands announces he is retiring his golden horse-drawn carriage because it depicts kneeling black slaves handing over cocoa and sugarcane to their white masters. (Guardian, 13 January 2022)

Gold Coach with King Willem-Alexander
King Willem-Alexander’s golden horse-drawn carriage. Credit: Toni, Wikimedia Commons.

13 January: The Charity Commission opens a regulatory case into the Jewish National Fund (JNF) UK charity after its Chair, Samuel Hayek was found to have made a number of anti-Islamic remarks and promoted the ‘great replacement theory’. Another JNF trustee, Gary Mond is asked to step down from his position at the Board of Deputies while the board investigates allegations of anti-Muslim sentiment. (Jewish News, 13 January 2022)

14 January: A report by the digital, culture, media and sport select committee urges the government to cut the England and Wales Cricket Board’s funding unless it can prove it is serious about tackling the ‘deep-seated racism’ that exists across the sport. (Guardian, 14 January 2022)

RACIAL VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT

5 January: A couple admits to racially abusing and attacking an Iranian couple in Sheffield in September 2020, during which the woman was repeatedly hit in the face, breaking her nose, and the man was knocked to the floor. (Yorkshire Live, 5 January 2022)

10 January: A 25-year-old man is charged in connection with the alleged racial abuse and assault of police officers in Shanklin, the Isle of Wight, on 9 January 2022. (County Press, 10 January 2022

12 January: Five teenagers, aged between 13-14, are reported to the police after a 50-year-old woman who wears a hijab is racially abused and allegedly hit with a plank of wood in Glasgow. (STV News, 12 January 2022; Daily Record, 12 January 2022)

13 January: The police appeal for information on three people in connection with the alleged racially aggravated attack on two women in their 20s in Wembley, north-west London in October 2021, which left one needing surgery after suffering a fractured leg whilst the other required stitches due to a head injury. (Metro, 13 January 2022)

14 January: A Filipina corner shop owner in Falmouth, who recently moved from London, is consistently taunted as ‘a P**i’ and harassed by children aged 12-15 each day over Christmas 2021. (Asian Image, 14 January 2022)

15 January: A 24-year-old man on the Isle of Wight is accused of a religiously motivated attack on a Muslim, causing him serious injury in November 2021 and will stand trial in April 2022. (County Press, 15 January 2022)

The calendar was compiled with the help of Annabelle Woghiren, Graeme Atkinson, Lou Khalfaoui and Joseph Maggs. Thanks also to ECRE and Stopwatch, whose regular updates on asylum, migration and policing issues are an invaluable source of information.


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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