Calendar of Racism and Resistance (5 – 19 March 2024)


Calendar of Racism and Resistance (5 – 19 March 2024)

News

Written by: IRR News Team


ELECTORAL POLITICS |GOVERNMENT POLICY

As anti-migrant, anti-equalities, anti-abortion, misogynistic and anti-LGBTQI rhetoric in electoral campaigning are increasingly interlinked, we reflect this in the coverage below which also includes information on the influence of the Christian Right as well as the religious Right generally.

6 March: In leaflets for the forthcoming general election in Portugal, the far-right Chega party – campaigning against ‘uncontrolled Islamic immigration’, for the death penalty and chemical castration for repeat rapists – promises to ‘end corruption and jobs for the boys in Portugal’. It scored 7.3% in the 2022 general election. (Al Jazeera, 6 March 2024)

8 March: In an open letter, Amnesty International and 45 other organisations call on the prime minister to defend freedom of assembly, oppose moves to further restrict protests in specific locations, and call for an end to the use of divisive language that inflames tensions between communities and the demonisation of an overwhelmingly peaceful movement concerned by the loss of life in Gaza. (Guardian, 8 March 2024)

8 March: German federal state leaders ask chancellor Olaf Scholz to inform them by 20 June, the date of the next conference of regional presidents, whether Germany can outsource asylum processing, as Italy is doing. (Info Migrants, 8 March 2024)

9 March: Government counter-extremism tsar Robin Simcox says London’s streets have become a ‘no-go zone for Jews’ and a ‘permissive environment for radicalisation’ is developing. (Independent, 9 March 2024)

9 March: Byline Times claims that the government backtracked from appointing Tell Mama founder Fiyaz Mughal as its new ‘anti-Muslim hatred advisor’ after the paper revealed Mughal’s suppression of a Tell MAMA-funded report exposing Conservative party relationships with anti-Muslim and antisemitic political parties tied to neo-Nazi networks. (Byline Times, 9 March 2024)

10 March: The chair of the government’s anti-Muslim hatred working group expresses concern that, despite a rise in anti-Muslim hate crime, the group has not met since 2020. The government’s advisor on such crime was removed in 2022 and has not been replaced. (Guardian, 10 March 2024)

10 March: More than 50 members of Survivors against Terror sign an open letter warning politicians to stop conflating British Muslims with extremism. (Guardian, 10 March 2024)

10 March: In Portugal, the far-right Chega party quadruples its share of the vote in the general election and is now the third largest party in the country, with 48 seats (previously 12) in a fragmented national assembly with no stable majority. (Le Monde, 11 March 2024)

10 March: Conservative MPs Marco Longhi and Jill Mortimer, allies of Lee Anderson, question on a WhatsApp group the need for a memorial remembering Muslim war dead in the two world wars. (Guardian, 10 March 2024)

11 March: Twelve counter-terror and extremism experts, including three former Conservative home secretaries, sign a joint statement warning against politicising anti-extremism in the run-up to the general election. (Guardian, 11 March 2024)

11 March: Lee Anderson MP, suspended from the Tories for Islamophobic remarks about London’s mayor, announces on GB News that he has joined Reform UK. (BBC News, 11 March 2024)

11 March: It is revealed that Frank Hester, head of a healthcare technology firm that has enjoyed £135m of government contracts and is the Tories’ biggest backer, donating £10m in the last year, told colleagues that, though he did not hate all black women, seeing Diane Abbott on TV made him want to do so and that she ‘should be shot’. Hester says his remark had nothing to do with Abbott’s colour or gender. (Guardian, 11 March 2024; Guardian, 12 March 2024)

12 March: After a number of MPs, including Conservatives, publicly deplore Hester’s remarks on MP Diane Abbott, Labour calls on Conservatives to return the donation and Abbott reports Hester to police, the prime minister describes the remark as ‘racist and wrong’. (Independent, 13 March 2024)

12 March: The archbishops of Canterbury and York warn against a new definition of extremism which risks targeting Muslims and threatening freedom of speech and peaceful protest. (Guardian, 12 March 2024)

13 March:  Geert Wilders, whose far-right Freedom party came first in last year’s Netherlands election, concedes that he cannot be prime minister because potential coalition partners do not back him. (BBC News, 13 March 2024)

14 March: The government issues a new, broad definition of extremism as the ‘promotion .. of an ideology based on violence, hatred or intolerance, that aims to .. negate the fundamental rights and freedoms of others; undermine .. the UK’s system of liberal parliamentary democracy and democratic rights; or intentionally create a permissive environment for others to do so.’ (Government statement, 14 March 2024)

14 March: As critics of the new extremism definition say it targets thought rather than action, civil rights organisations and Muslim community groups criticise the ban on ministers and civil servants talking to or funding organisations in a draft list, including MEND, CAGE and the Muslim Association of Britain. (Guardian, 14 March 2024)

14 March: Labour leader Keir Starmer says that although the party must deplore the remarks by Hester about Abbott, her readmission to the party is a completely separate matter. (Huffington Post, 14 March 2024)

16 March: Vaughan Gething, now head of Welsh Labour, becomes the first black leader of a European country when confirmed as first minister of Wales. (Guardian, 16 March 2024)

18 March: Labour announces it will set up a 1000-strong ‘returns and enforcement’ unit to speed up removal of refused asylum seekers and undocumented migrants, to demonstrate its hardline approach to migration ahead of this year’s general election. (inews, 18 March 2024)

18 March: Romania’s far-right Alliance for the Union of Romanians (AUR), which appeared on the political scene in 2019, tops the poll in monthly projections for the European Parliament in March and is projected to win 12 seats in the EU elections in June. (EurActiv, 18 March 2024)

19 March: The civil service union PCS condemns deputy prime minister Oliver Dowden’s suspension of the Civil Service Muslim Network and expresses concern over HMRC’s claim that donating to Medical Aid for Palestinians is ‘contrary to civil service values’. (Morning Star, 19 March 2024)

ANTI-FASCISM AND THE FAR RIGHT

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

5 March: In Spain, the legislative assembly Les Corts Valencianes, dominated by the far-right Vox party and the conservative PP, discontinues funding for the Alex Guillem Agulló Anti-Hate Award, which was set up in 2016 in memory of a young anti-fascist brutally murdered by nazis. (BNN, 5 March 2024)

11 March: A Byline Times investigation reveals that Britain’s Patriotic Alternative is becoming increasingly relevant to mainstream British politics, with Red Flare’s Alan Jones stating that it is attempting to transform fascist activism on the internet into real-world organising. (Byline Times, 11 March 2024)

12 March: In Belgium, far-right activist and former member of parliament for the Flemish Interest party Dries Van Langenhove is sentenced to a year in prison and fined 16,000 euros for an extremist speech. (New York Sun, 12 March 2024)

12 March: In Greece, two MPs of the ruling New Democracy party receive letters from the banned Golden Dawn party threatening to continue targeting them for their support of legislation that legalised same-sex marriage. (Balkan Insight, 12 March 2024)

13 March: Austrian interior minister Gerhard Karner reveals a sharp increase in right-wing extremist crimes in 2023, jumping from 928 to 1,208, the highest number since 2018. (AA, 13 March 2024)

15 March: Winchester crown court sentences a far-right extremist to two years and nine months in jail after he pleaded guilty to ten offences, including posting Nazi material and encouraging terrorist acts on Telegram and BitChute. (BBC News, 15 March 2024)

15 March: The Milan Court of Appeal, Italy, refuses Hungarian demands to hand over Gabriele Marchesi, an Italian man suspected of being a member of a ‘hammer gang’ which targeted neo-Nazis marking their ‘Day of Honour’ last year. The court says there is a ‘concrete risk of inhuman and degrading conditions’ in Hungarian jails, with another suspect in the attack, Ilaria Salis, possibly being tortured to procure a confession. (ANSA, 14 March 2024, ANSA, 15 March 2024)

17 March: Swiss police prevent a gathering organised by the far-right Junge Tat group, proponents of the ‘great replacement’ theory, and deport Austrian nationalist Martin Sellner. (Barron’s, 17 March 2024)

19 March: The German authorities ban Martin Sellner, leader of Austria’s Identitarian Movement, from entering the country for three years. (Al Jazeera, 19 March 2024)

POLICING| PRISONS| CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

3 March: Following an earlier statement by the mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz, condemning ‘thuggery, bullying and intimidation’ at a council meeting on 29 February, and claiming that hissing at a councillor attempting to speak on the budget was antisemitic, several members of Newham Socialist Labour Group are arrested and charged with racial harassment under the Public Order Act. (Left Horizons, 3 March 2024)

5 March: A report of an unannounced inspection of the Wetherby Young Offender Institute in Yorkshire records trauma inflicted on a vulnerable young girl who was twice restrained and stripped by several male prison officers to prevent her from harming herself. No details as to the child’s ethnicity are given. (BBC News, 5 March 2024)

7 March: Groups including INQUEST and Reclaim these Streets condemn the ‘dilution of police accountability’ after Met commissioner Sir Mark Rowley tells officers in an internal memo that in many cases they will be able to continue working without restriction and be eligible for promotion while under investigation for misconduct. (inews, 14 March 2024)

8 March: INQUEST welcomes a decision made at a hearing at the Old Bailey to lift the anonymity of the firearms officer charged with the murder of Chris Kaba, who was unarmed when he was fatally shot in Streatham, London, in September 2022. (INQUEST,  8 March 2022)

Protesters in central London holding up a banner saying Justice for Chris Kaba with an image of the 24-year-old in black and white.
The Justice for Chris Kaba march in London. Credit: Steve Eason, Flickr.

8 March: Following the circulation of mobile phone footage showing a suspect (ethnicity unknown) being dragged out of his car in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire and kicked in the head before being handcuffed, a Lancashire police officer is moved from frontline duties. (ITV News, 12 March 2024)

10 March: Five police vans with forty officers from across London arrive to police a peaceful short BDS protest with Palestinian flags and leaflets inside Battersea Power Station shopping mall, half an hour after it ends. (Netpol on X, 14 March 2024)

11 March: The Met commissioner condemns what he calls the ‘army of armchair commentators’ who film police on duty, saying filming and criticism takes a toll on officers and their families and deters new recruits. Netpol says the lack of genuine accountability for police misconduct makes public scrutiny essential. (Morning Star, 11 March 2024, Standard, 11 March 2024)

14 March: Jennifer Edmunds, who was brutally arrested at the Sarah Everard vigil in March 2021, is to split the £10,000 damages paid by the Met police with pro-Palestinian protesters ‘who have also been victims of police’. (Morning Star, 14 March 2024)

15 March: The Da’aro Youth Project, set up by the Eritrean community after four Eritrean friends committed suicide between 2017 and 2019, expresses shock and disappointment after West Midlands police say there is insufficient evidence for charges to be brought in respect of the death of Eritrean asylum seeker Henok Zaid Gebrsslasie at the Caludon mental health centre in Coventry in 2021. (BBC, 15 March 2024)

18 March: Berlin-based civil liberties group Liberties’ annual report on the rule of law in EU countries finds that Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Hungary and Sweden have all introduced bans or restrictions on protest rights, often relating to Gaza, with some banning pro-Palestinian messages or symbols. (Guardian, 18 March 2024)

EDUCATION

5 March: Science minister Michelle Donelan pays damages to Prof Kate Sang and Dr Kamna Patel for alleging that the academics had ‘extremist views’ and – In the case of one academic – supported Hamas. UKRI, an advisory group to Research England which suspended the academics, publishes the results of its investigation which completely exonerates them. (Guardian, 5 March 2024)

7 March: The University Jewish Chaplaincy, which provides pastoral care for Jewish students and advises the government on tackling antisemitism in higher education, requires its chaplains to be proactive advocates for Israel, it is revealed, as opposition continues to Leeds university’s reinstatement of a UJC chaplain who posted serving as a reservist in the Israeli army in November. (Middle East Eye, 7 March 2024)

7 March: The National Education Union criticises the school principal of Astrea Academy, Doncaster for ‘snooping on families’, authorising staff, in a crackdown on unauthorised absence, to carry out invasive and counter-productive ‘home checks’ such as checking bins are put out and cars are on driveways. (Guardian, 7 March 2024)

11 March: The Department for Education’s invitation for tenders for its programme on tackling antisemitism in education is ‘frozen indefinitely’ as Jewish-led group Diaspora Alliance launches a High Court legal challenge for its stipulation of the controversial IHRA definition of antisemitism as the programme’s ‘cornerstone’, which the group says will repress free speech and silence criticism of Israel. (Bindmans LLP, 11 March 2024; Jewish Voice for Labour, 19 March 2024)

12 March: Recently resigned education recovery commissioner Kevan Collins says some ‘schools aren’t serving the population in which they are located’, leading to ‘weird disconnects between a school operating in a community with deprivation but actually not serving those children’. (TES, 12 March 2024)

14 March: The Children’s Commissioner reports on a mental health crisis among young people and severe problems in accessing services, with ‘nearly 40,000 children experiencing a wait of over 2 years’ and Asian and black children underrepresented in accessing treatment. (Children’s Commissioner, 14 March 2024)

14 March: A five year longitudinal study of over 580,000 secondary school children reveals a ‘significant and stark’ link between school suspensions and lower attainment, with frequently suspended students more likely to have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Fifteen percent of those surveyed were suspended at least once during their time at secondary school. (Education Policy Institute, 14 March 2024)

15 March: A report by the Child of the North campaign highlights two in five of the 4.3 million children in the UK living in poverty are not eligible for free school meals. The research finds that ‘46% of children from Black and minority ethnic groups live in poverty compared to 26% of white children,’ with school leaders confirming that this drives ‘problems with behaviour, persistent absence and mental health’. (Guardian, 15 March 2024)

18 March: Research from FFT Education datalab shows that ‘at every transition point in secondary school, absence figures for students from disadvantaged background increased more than for their peers.’ (TES, 18 March 2024)

19 March: An estimated 18,000 students demonstrate outside the Greek parliament against the authorisation of degrees from private universities and fee-charging branches of international ones. (THE, 19 March 2024)

HOUSING| POVERTY| WELFARE

6 March: Hundreds of children, GPs and teachers march to Lewisham council’s HQ to protest the ‘potentially life-threatening’ state of its social housing, on which 11 local headteachers and seven primary care networks have written open letters describing the impact on children’s school attendance and residents’ health. (London News Online, 6 March 2024)

8 March: Police evict around 100 squatters, mostly Moldovans with some Ukrainians, from a building in the Brussels municipality of Schaerbeek, Belgium after time ran out for a negotiated temporary occupation agreement supported by the municipality and the building’s owner. (Brussels Times, 8 March 2024)

8 March: The third round of the Local Authority Housing Fund, which offers councils funding to combat homelessness, including providing accommodation to resettled Ukrainian and Afghan refugees, is expanded by £450m. (Housing Today, 8 March 2024)

8 March: An investigation by Le Monde finds that on the outskirts of Lisbon, Portugal, an increasing number of often poorly paid foreign workers, mainly Brazilians, facing unaffordable rents, are forced to live in makeshift camps. (Le Monde, 8 March 2024)

9 March: New research finds that, with a record 109,000 homeless households including 142,490 children in temporary accommodation between July and September last year, some children are now spending their entire childhoods in ‘temporary’ homeless persons’ accommodation. (Guardian, 9 March 2024)

11 March: Tenants in Yorkshire and the northwest of England are suffering from the worst housing conditions in the country, finds the People’s Health Trust, with renters almost twice as likely as others to live in conditions that do not meet the decent home standard. (Independent, 11 March 2024)

12 March: Tower Blocks UK accuses Bristol Council of discrimination and coercion as residents subjected to an emergency evacuation from Barton Tower in November 2023 due to serious safety concerns say they are being coerced into returning by threats that otherwise they will be deemed ‘intentionally homeless’ and removed from temporary accommodation. (Inside Housing, 12 March 2024)

13 March: A report from Pathway and Crisis, Always at the bottom of the pile, reveals how, in the housing and health crises, discrimination, inflexibility and stigma create obstacles to access to health care for homeless people. (Pathway, 13 March 2024)

13 March: Residents of Meath Court, a block of 60 shipping containers erected seven years ago as ‘temporary’ accommodation, begin legal action against Ealing Council, saying the block is unfit for human habitation, dangerous and degrading to live in. (Standard, 13 March 2024)

13 March: Homelessness and refugee charities call for refugees to be given twice as long to find their own accommodation after their grant of status, when they face eviction from asylum hotels, as the number of refugees sleeping rough in London has soared by almost 1000% since July 2023. (Guardian, 14 March 2024)

14 March: An Ombudsman awards a family £20,000 against Lewisham council for a decade of damp and mould which spread to mattresses and a baby’s cot, which the council blamed on the family’s lifestyle. (News Shopper, 18 March 2024)

HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE

11 March: The Equity in Medical Devices review raises concerns over the impact on ethnic minorities, women and people from deprived communities of biases in tools and devices using AI and those that measure blood oxygen levels. (Guardian, 11 March 2024)

11 March: Research by a team from Glasgow and Oxford universities finds that ASPEN prepayment cards issued to asylum seekers adversely impact mental health by isolating and stigmatising them and controlling their behaviour by not permitting them to buy culturally appropriate foodstuffs. (phys.org, 11 March 2024) 

12 March: A new report, Food experiences of people seeking asylum in London: areas for local action, finds that the food provided to asylum seekers by Home Office contractors is of such poor quality that some are ending up in hospital suffering from malnutrition, food poisoning and diabetes, with reports of children crying of hunger and losing significant amounts of weight. (Sustain, 12 March 2024)

EMPLOYMENT| EXPLOITATION| INDUSTRIAL ACTION

8 March: Frontline workers at the debt advice charity Rooted Finance vote to strike in a dispute over pay, conditions and trade union recognition, alleging ‘aggressive intimidation’ from management including threats of disciplinary action and dismissal. (IWGB, 8 March 2024)

11 March: New rules come into force banning care workers from bringing family, which they say will prevent recruitment although the sector currently has 152,000 unfilled roles. (Mirror, 14 March 2024)

12 March: Amazon GMB members announce further strike action to demand £15 per hour and union recognition rights for Amazon UK workers in Coventry and Birmingham. (GMB, 12 March 2024)

13 March: One of the UK’s largest domiciliary care providers, Grosvenor, says Home Office delays in renewing its workers’ visas mean they can’t work, so the company pays them reduced wages to stay at home until their visa comes through. (Guardian, 13 March 2024)

14 March: Low pay is driving tens of thousands of workers out of the social care sector, warns the Community Integrated Care charity, pointing out that care staff are paid one-third less than NHS staff. (Morning Star, 14 March 2024)

15 March: An inews investigation reveals a loophole enabling the growth of a black market in renting accounts on food delivery apps, leading to exploitation of undocumented workers. (inews, 15 March 2024)

18 March: P&O Ferries, which controversially sacked 800 workers in 2022, is paying some crew members less than half the UK minimum wage, it is revealed. Hired from countries including India, the Philippines and Malaysia, they are required to work 12-hour daily shifts, seven days a week for up to 17 weeks at a time. (Guardian, 18 March 2024)

19 March: A secret NHS England report shows that the NHS is failing to protect trainee paramedics in the ambulance service from sexual harassment and racist abuse by its own staff. (Independent, 19 March 2024) 

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.

6 March: After the Campaign Against Antisemitism calls on the Charity Commission to launch an investigation into the Bedwas Workmen’s Hall, Cardiff, an investigation is opened, although the complainant is undisclosed. CAA objected to the venue’s hosting of a   fundraiser for medical aid to Gaza where a choir led by Charlotte Church sang a rendition of ‘from the river to the sea’. (Jewish Voice for Labour, 6 March 2024)

6 March: The Centre for Media Monitoring publishes Media Bias Gaza 2023-24 which exposes significant bias in British TV and online media websites in reporting from Gaza in the first month after 7 October. The misrepresentation of pro-Palestinian voices and protests as antisemitic, violent or pro-Hamas perpetuates harmful stereotypes, it finds. (Centre for Media Monitoring, 6 March 2024)

6 March: In Munich, Germany before the Champions League match between Lazio and Bayern Munich, Lazio fans gather and sing fascist songs in the Hofbräuhaus beer hall, a site where Hitler and the Nazi party held their first public meeting. One Lazio supporter is arrested for performing the Hitler salute. (Merkur, 6 March 2024)

6 March: Chelsea footballer Sam Kerr is accused of racially abusing a police officer, whom he allegedly referred to as a ‘stupid white bastard’. (Guardian, 6 March 2024)

6 March: Baroness Jacqueline Foster pays substantial damages to a University Challenge contestant she criticised for having a soft toy octopus mascot, which she described as one of the most ‘disgusting antisemitic symbols’. (BBC News, 6 March 2024)

7 March: In Athens, Greece, before a Europa League match between Olympiacos and Maccabi Tel Aviv, Maccabi Tel Aviv fans attack an Egyptian migrant who was holding a Palestinian flag. (Keep Talking Greece, 7 March 2024)

7 March: MEMO Monitoring publishes a video journalist’s account of the German media’s recent coverage of the war in Gaza, highlighting the influence of the giant media company Axel Springer and the discourse around ‘imported’ antisemitism (the idea that migrants, not native Germans, are responsible for antisemitism). (Middle East Monitor, 7 March 2024)

10 March: In Amsterdam, Netherlands, the Jewish anti-Zionist organisation Erev Rave and the Dutch Palestinian community organise a protest against Israeli president Isaac Herzog, as he opens the country’s first National Holocaust Museum. Such a ‘sacred space’ should not be used to ‘normalise genocide today’, they argue. (Al Jazeera, 10 March 2024)

11 March: In Ireland, a review of disparities in Arts Council funding among different ethnic groups concludes that the Arts Council must be more transparent and increase strategies to address under-representation so that Black artists are more confident in making applications. (RTE, 11 March 2024)

14 March: Church of Ireland archbishops of Armagh and Dublin make a statement that ‘Failure to speak against an anti-immigrant and a racist narrative creates a new level of tolerance of what only weeks before was intolerable’. (Dublin Anglican, 14 March 224)

14 March: In Paris, France, attendees at an election rally for the far-right Reconquest party boo at a mention of Aya Nakamura following reports that she may perform at the Paris Olympics opening ceremony. Marion Maréchal of the Reconquest party states that Nakamura ‘does not represent the French language’. (BBC News, 14 March 2024)

16 March: All Irish bands booked to perform at the SXSW festival pull out in solidarity with Palestine after it was revealed that the festival is sponsored by the US army. Welsh musician Gruff Rhys also pulls out in protest over ‘the hyper violence inflicted on civilians in Gaza’. (NME, 13 March 2024; BBC News, 16 March 2024)

15 March: In France the Paris prosecutor opens an investigation into alleged racist abuse against Aya Nakamura by far-right politicians who oppose the idea she could sing at the Paris Olympics.(Guardian, 16 March 2024)

18 March: Inter Milan footballer Francesco Acerbi leaves Italy’s national team training camp amid accusations that he racially abused Napoli footballer Juan Jesus during a match between the two clubs. (ESPN, 18 March 2024)

19 March: Following Jonathan Glazer’s Academy Awards acceptance speech for Best International Film Zone of Interest director saying he and producer James Wilson ‘refute their Jewishness and the Holocaust being hijacked by an occupation which has led to conflict for so many innocent people, whether the victims of October 7 in Israel or the ongoing attack in Gaza’, over 450 Jewish creatives denounce the speech for ‘drawing a moral equivalence’ between a Nazi regime and Israel. (Guardian, 11 March 2024; Guardian, 19 March 2024) 

RACIAL VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT

For details of court judgements on racially motivated and other hate crimes, see also POLICING | PRISONS | CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. 

6 March: A 75-year-old man is arrested on suspicion of assault occasioning actual bodily harm after a 14-year-old Black child was attacked while playing in a football match in Hertfordshire. (Voice, 6 March 2024) 

10 March: In Thessaloniki, Greece, thousands take to the streets to condemn an attack on two young trans people, surrounded by 100 people and forced to flee to a local restaurant, where bottles were thrown at them as they attempted to leave.  Charges include abuse with bigoted intent. (Antivirus, 10 March 2024, Ekathimerini, 10 March 2024, Variety 11 March 2024, Independent, 10 March 2024)

11 March: The government announces £117 Million in funding to protect Muslim communities as online attacks, physical assaults, other forms of targeting grow 335 percent in a month compared to the same period last year. (Al Jazeera, 11 March 2024) 

16 March: Four teenage boys are arrested after a video posted online showed a black school student in uniform being repeatedly hit and forced to kiss a white teenager’s shoes near St John Henry Newman Catholic school in Carlisle. (Independent, 18 March 2024)

18 March: Seven men are jailed for a total of 18 years, and another is given a suspended sentence, for violent disorder outside The Suites Hotel asylum accommodation in Kirby, Merseyside in February 2023, causing £80,000 worth of damage to the hotel. A total of 17 people have been convicted in relation to the disorder. (ITV, 18 March 2024) 

ASYLUM | MIGRATION| BORDERS | CITIZENSHIP 

Asylum and migrant rights 

6 March: Official statistics reveal that only 736 refugees were allowed to come to the UK in resettlement programmes in 2023, although the Home Office pledged to resettle 5,000 a year from Afghanistan alone. (Refugee Council, 6 March 2024)

10 March: A Palestinian refugee wins his legal challenge to the Home Office refusal of a visa for his Gaza-based family to join him because they were unable to give biometrics, no functioning visa centre existing in Gaza. Disclosure in the case reveals that every visa application made from Gaza since 7 October has been refused. (BBC News, 10 March 2024)

14 March: The Information Commissioner investigates a huge data breach by the Home Office resulting in 76,000 people being misidentified, affecting rights to residence, health care, work and benefits. (Guardian, 14 March 2024) 

Borders and internal controls

6 March: The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports that 2023 was the deadliest year on record for migrants, with nearly 8,600 deaths on migration routes, up by 20 percent from 2022. Deaths in the Mediterranean rose to 3,129. (Al Jazeera, 8 March 2024)

6 March: European Commission president Ursula van der Leyen endorses the proposal of the European People’s Party for the EU to ‘offshore’ asylum seekers, while the home affairs commissioner said this would not involve removing those already in the EU. (EU Observer, 6 March 2024)

7 March: The EU signs a ‘migration partnership’ with Mauritania to prevent the departure of migrants for the Canary Islands, with Frontex training border officials. (Info Migrants, 8 March 2024)

7 March: In Italy, the anti-mafia tactics used by prosecutors, which result in migrants wrongly convicted of smuggling, are illustrated by the story of Senegalese ‘fake smuggler’ Alaji, whose conviction for smuggling and causing deaths refugee support group Baobab Experience is seeking to overturn. He was sentenced to seven years on the basis of testimony of one witness on another boat in the dark. (Info Migrants, 7 March 2024)

10 March: Two alleged ringleaders of a corpse-smuggling network which charged relatives of dead north African migrants to identify their bodies are arrested and 20 people are investigated in the Spanish cities of Murcia, Alicante, Almería and Madrid. (La Verdad, 12 March 2024)

14 March: After the European Commission transferred €250 million to the Tunisian government, which is accused of brutal treatment of migrants in transit, the European Parliament adopts a resolution by MEP Tineke Strik MEP to reject the EC’s decision. (ECRE, 15 March 2024)

15 March: Finnish prime minister Petteri Orpo announces temporary legislation to allow border officials to block asylum seekers seeking entry at its border with Russia, which it claims is ‘funnelling’ Syrian, Yemeni and Somali asylum seekers to the Finnish border. (Al Jazeera, 15 March 2024)

17 March: The EU signs a €7.4 billion deal with Egypt to boost border controls and curb irregular migration to Europe. (Politico, 17 March 2024)

18 March: Berlin-based civil liberties group Liberties finds in its annual report that in many EU member states pushbacks have been legalised and unaccompanied minors’ rights regressing, while refusal to comply with court rulings reached record highs in Belgium and Greece. (Guardian, 18 March 2024)

Reception and detention

See also health

8 March: One of the ‘Moria 6’, young Afghans accused and convicted for the fires which destroyed the Moria camp on Lesvos, Greece in September 2020 has his appeal rejected and is sentenced to 8 years, while three others are released after 42 months in prison, and will be retried as juveniles. (Legal Centre Lesvos, 14 March 2024) 

8 March: A report by Fenix Humanitarian Legal Aid finds that the Greek authorities fail to provide female asylum seekers protection against pervasive sexual and gender-based violence in the Mavrovrouni camp on Lesvos. (Fenix, 8 March 2024)

9 March: An Ethiopian man in his early 30s commits suicide in a Belgian detention centre after signing papers agreeing ‘voluntary’ return to Ethiopia. He is the second person to die by suicide in detention in Belgium in three months. (Brussels Times, 13 March 2024)

10 March: Following a ruling by the Information Commissioner, the Home Office admits that it does not routinely inform family members when asylum seekers die in its care. 176 people have died in Home Office accommodation since 2020, with at least 23 suicides. (Guardian, 10 March 2024)

12 March: Following the death by suicide of 19-year-old Ousmane Sylla from Guinea in February after receiving papers expelling him from Italy, Radicali Roma calls for the closure of Rome’s repatriation centre. Since Sylla’s death 6 other people have reportedly attempted to end their lives in the centre. (InfoMigrants, 12 March 2024)

13 March: A tent hall accommodating refugees in Berlin, Germany, is set on fire. The hundreds of people living in the accommodation are brought to safety and no one is injured. The cause of the fire is not yet known. (InfoMigrants, 13 March 2024)

14 March: Four guards from Amygdaleza pre-departure centre in northern Athens, Greece, are arrested following a complaint by a non-national that he had been beaten by uniformed officers and suffered a fractured rib. (Ekathimerini, 15 March 2024)

13 March: Outbreaks of scabies and respiratory illnesses hit homeless asylum seekers camping out in 150 tents around the international protection centre in Dublin, Ireland, with NGO Social Rights Ireland saying it is overwhelmed and calling on the government to intervene. (EuroNews, 13 March 2024)

16 March: As the months-long encampment around the international protection centre in Dublin, Ireland is emptied and asylum seekers are bussed to a campsite in Crooksling, 20km from the city centre and previously subject to anti-migrant protests, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar denies the move is to ‘cleanse’ the city for tourists ahead of St Patrick’s Day, saying it is for ‘health and safety’ reasons. (BBC, 16 March 2024, Irish Examiner, 18 March 2024) 

Deportations

12 March: As the government offers refused asylum seekers £3,000 for ‘voluntary’ removal to Rwanda, the FDA union, representing civil servants, threatens the Home Office with legal action over the Rwanda scheme, saying they would breach international law and risk prosecution for following ministers’ orders to ignore injunctions from the European Court of Human Rights. (Guardian, 12 March 2024) 

The calendar was compiled with the help of Graeme Atkinson, Sam Berkson, Margaret McAdam and Louis Ordish. Thanks also to ECRE, the Never Again Association and Stopwatch, whose regular updates on asylum, migration, far Right, racial violence, employment 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


Feature image: 1st March 2024 over 150 people representing 22 local institutions gathered to raise the alarm on Lewisham’s housing crisis before tomorrow’s Mayoral election including school children, teachers, GPs and more. Credit: Citizens UK / Salomé Revault d’Allonnes’


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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