Calendar of Racism and Resistance (6 – 20 February 2024)


Calendar of Racism and Resistance (6 – 20 February 2024)

News

Written by: IRR News Team


 

A fortnightly resource for anti-racist and social justice campaigns, highlighting key events in the UK and Europe. Find these stories and all others since 2014 on our searchable database, the Register of Racism and Resistance.

ASYLUM | MIGRATION| BORDERS| CITIZENSHIP

 Asylum and migrant rights

8 February: After judges in Catania rule unlawful new provisions for detaining asylum seekers from ‘safe’ countries who cannot pay bail of €5,000, Italy’s Court of Cassation seeks an urgent ruling on the measures from the European Court of Justice. (InfoMigrants, 12 February 2024)

12 February: The parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights condemns the Safety of Rwanda Bill as fundamentally incompatible with and hostile to human rights, removing rights to an effective remedy by denying access to courts to challenge Rwanda’s safety. (JCHR, 12 February 2024)

13 February: After a judge described as ‘shockingly poor’ the treatment of Amena El Ashkar, a stateless Palestinian Chevening scholar whose application for a student visa was refused on ‘public good’ grounds despite the offer of a full scholarship for a PhD from the London School of Economics, home secretary James Cleverly apologises. (Guardian, 13 February 2024, Middle East Eye, 7 February 2024)

13 February: A 16-year-old Iranian boy, currently in a children’s home in Northern Ireland, is granted permission to bring a legal challenge to the Illegal Migration Act, which deprives him of the right to claim asylum because he arrived by small boat. He claims the Act breaches the Good Friday agreement as well as the Human Rights Convention. (UK Human Rights Blog, 19 February 2024) (Belfast Telegraph, 13 February 2024)

15 February: The EU’s new migration pact embeds a so-called ‘Rwanda clause’ enabling member states to designate as ‘safe’ any country with which the EU has an agreement, it is revealed, regardless of the actual country conditions, and to return asylum seekers there. (EU Observer, 15 February 2024)

19 February: Migrant support groups  respond with outrage after Ibrahima Bah, a Senegalese teenager forced by people smugglers  in December 2022 to pilot a small boat across the Channell in which at least four people died, is convicted of facilitating illegal entry and manslaughter at Canterbury Crown Court after a retrial.  Captain Support draw attention to anti-black racism  during the trial and the fact that many survivors testified that Ibrahima had saved their lives. (Guardian, 19 February 2024, Captain Support, 20 February 2024)

19 February: A Home Office statement announces the closure of the Ukraine Family Scheme with immediate effect, as an amendment to the Homes for Ukraine Scheme reduces the period for new visas to 18 months from 11 March. Current visa holders can apply for an 18-month extension. (Electronic Immigration Network, 19 February 2024)

19 February: Lighthouse Reports and Panorama obtain documents and emails showing UK special forces vetoed resettlement in the UK for hundreds of members of the Afghan Special Forces who worked alongside them, at the same time as a public inquiry was investigating allegations of war crimes by SAS soldiers. (BBC, 19 February 2024)

20 February: The home secretary sacks chief inspector of borders and immigration David Neal with immediate effect, claiming breach of the terms of his appointment, after he told the Daily Mail that most passengers on private jets underwent no border checks. The Home Office already told him his term would not be renewed when it ends in March, and has failed to publish at least 15 critical reports by him. (Guardian, 20 February 2024)

 Borders and internal controls

7 February: The Polish government publishes data revealing 6,000 pushbacks of migrants at the Belarus border between July 2023 and January 2024, after over 100 NGOs and 500 public figures call on the government to stop the practice. (Notes from Poland, 7 February 2024)

 8 February: The EU agrees a €210 million deal with Mauritania to help curb migration to Europe in exchange for investment in security and green energy. (Euractiv, 8 February 2024)

14 February: The government allocates payments to TikTok social influencers to dissuade asylum seekers from crossing the channel. (Firstpost, 14 February 2024) 

15 February: Rescue NGOs say EU policies are partly to blame for the deaths of over 3,000 people in the Mediterranean last year. (Guardian, 15 February 224)

 Reception and detention

7 February: A building rumoured to be earmarked for asylum accommodation is set on fire in Leixlip, County Kildare, Ireland, days after a vacant nursing home was burned out in Crooksling, County Dublin. This is the 18th fire on premises rumoured or considered as potential asylum housing since January 2023. Seven arrests are made in relation to two attacks. (RTE, 7 February 2024)

7 February: Hours before a high court hearing of a legal challenge, the Home Office withdraws a policy to remove basic housing protections in houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) from asylum seekers, which would have exposed them to serious risks of fire and other hazards. (Guardian, 7 February 2024)

8 February: Bahraini refugee and human rights activist Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei says he has been stopped at least eight times at UK airports, as the home secretary apologises and arranges compensation for his latest detention on return from a UN meeting in September 2023, which Alwadaei says came soon after Bahrain pledged to invest £1bn in the UK and was removed from the government’s human rights priority list. (Guardian, 8 February 2024)

13 February: As the Home Office prepares to use Wethersfield former RAF base as asylum accommodation for a further three years under planning powers, internal Home Office documents reveal that officials warned ministers of adverse press coverage if the accommodation was of too high a standard for asylum seekers. (inews, 13 February 2024)

 16 February: Lawyers for the family of Leonard Farruku, who died by suspected suicide on the Bibby Stockholm in December, call for an investigation into his death by the prisons and probation ombudsman. (Guardian, 16 February 2024)

16 February: Immigration and borders expert David Neal warns the Home Office of a serious risk of violence and harm to hundreds of asylum seekers held at Wethersfield as a result of tensions emanating from hopelessness and boredom. (Guardian, 16 February 2024)

16 February: Police increase patrols in Millom, Cumbria, after properties intended to house asylum seekers are vandalised. The Home Office pauses the programme as Cumberland Council blames a ‘lack of information and consultation’. (BBC News, 16 February 2024)

17 February: In Drogheda, Ireland, a protest is held against a decision to accommodate 500 asylum seekers in a local hotel. (RTE, 17 February 2024)

19 February: The home secretary urges the Scottish government to use ‘large sites’ and a cruise ship to house more asylum seekers, as a spokesperson for the Scottish government says more financial support for dispersal should be available to local authorities. (BBC, 19 February 2024)

 Deportations

 7 February: The Home Office tells Malwattege Peiris that she must leave the UK on pain of deportation, although a tribunal ruled in July 2022 that she had the right to stay with her Italian husband, who has pre-settled status, and their son. (Guardian, 15 February 2024)

12 February: After Bulgaria issues a deportation order against him, Abd al-Rahman al-Khalidi says he risks torture and execution if returned to Saudi Arabia. The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders expresses concern. (Balkan Insight, 12 February 2024)

14 February: Immigration minister Michael Tomlinson says inadmissibility decisions are on pause following the Supreme Court’s November judgment ruling out deportations to Rwanda. (Electronic Immigration Network, 15 February 2024)

Citizenship

9 February: A British man stranded in Rafah with his young family, including an infant daughter with a serious medical condition, says MI5 offered to help his family escape from Gaza, but only if he agreed to work for the agency. (Middle East Eye, 9 February 2024)

11 February: In France, the interior minister announces that French nationality will no longer be granted to those born on the French Indian Ocean island of Mayotte of immigrant parents. The proposal is welcomed by the far Right, who seek similar laws for the mainland, and criticised by others for breaching fundamental rights. (Guardian, 12 February 2024)

 ELECTORAL POLITICS | GOVERNMENT POLICY

 6 February: Conservative MPs Liz Truss and Jacob Rees-Mogg launch the ‘Popular Conservatism’ movement at an event in central London, with Priti Patel and Nigel Farage among those in attendance. (Standard, 6 February 2024)

7 February: In a speech during a visit to Washington, the Irish Tánaiste condemns the ‘organised campaign of arson and criminality’ targeting buildings rumoured to be set aside for the accommodation of asylum seekers. (RTE, 7 February 2024)

8 February: Following a Channel 4 investigation into the paucity of Israeli ‘evidence’ around UNRWA and Hamas, the internationally respected Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention declares that countries that do not immediately reinstate aid to UNRWA will be violating the Genocide Convention. (X, 8 February 2024)

12 February: Labour withdraws its support for Azhar Ali, the prospective candidate for a byelection in Rochdale, after the Daily Mail reveals comments he had made to the effect that Israel had prior knowledge of but allowed the 7 October Hamas attack as it justified the invasion of Gaza. Ali apologises. (Guardian, 12 February 2024)

12 February: In a speech in Morag to launch the Civic Coalition’s local election campaign, Polish prime minister Donald Tusk, asked to comment on the situation at the border with Belarus, says that the ‘survival of Western civilisation’ depends upon preventing ‘uncontrolled immigration’. (Notes from Poland, 12 February 2024)

13 February: Labour suspends Graham Jones, the parliamentary candidate for Hyndham, following revelations of an October 2023 meeting, which included Azhar Ali and Labour councillors, at which he allegedly criticised Israel and British Jews for joining the IDF. (Guardian, 13 February 2023)

13 February: Martin Forde KC, previously commissioned by Keir Starmer to investigate allegations of bullying, racism and sexism in the Labour party, says that Labour’s delay in handling Ali’s ‘very inflammatory’ and ‘clearly antisemitic remarks’ raises new questions about ‘disparity in treatment’ of Labour MPs. (Guardian, 13 February 2024)

14 February: During a visit to the US/Mexican border, former immigration minister Robert Jenrick says the 12-month ban on work for asylum seekers should be extended and calls on France to deploy buoy blockades in waters off the French coast. (Telegraph, 14 February 2024)

16 February: The ‘anti-woke’ Reform UK’s candidate Ben Habib wins 13 percent of the vote in the Wellingborough by-election in Northamptonshire; in third place and on a low turn-out, this represents Reform’s best election result yet. In a by-election in Kingswood, near Bristol, it secures 10.4 percent. (Sky News, 16 February 2024; Financial Times, 16 February 2024)

17 February: Fabrice Leggeri, former director of the EU Border Agency Frontex who resigned under investigation by the EU’s anti-fraud office, says he has joined the candidate list for France’s far-right Rassemblement National, to put his ‘experience and expertise at the service of the French’ to ‘combat the migratory submersion’. (Euractiv, 18 February 2024)

18 February: Following violence in the Hague amidst tensions within the Eritrean diaspora between opponents and supporters of the dictatorship, the Netherlands justice ministry launches an inquiry and the far-right prospective prime minister, Geert Wilders, calls for those involved to be ‘arrested and deported’. Other MPs call for ‘serious punishments’. (Dutch News, 18 February 2024)

19 February: French mayors say that death threats and intimidation from the far Right are spreading across the country, citing among other incidents Callac mayor Jean-Yves Rolland’s abandonment of a plan to host seven to ten refugee families in order to fill job vacancies in the village, after repeated threats and demonstrations. (Euronews, 19 February 2024, AP, 19 February 2024)

19 February: North Yorkshire Liberal Democrat councillor Pat Marsh is suspended from the party and investigated for antisemitism after she allegedly described Jews on Twitter as ‘vile’, ‘evil’ and a ‘disgrace to the world’ during comments about the Israeli offensive in Gaza. (Yorkshire Post, 19 February 2024)

ANTI-FASCISM AND THE FAR RIGHT

7 February: It is revealed that prior to the arson attack on a property in Leixlip, County Kildare, Ireland, far-right anti-immigrant protests were staged, motivated by false rumours and leaflets claiming that asylum seekers were moving in. (RTE, 7 February 2024)

8 February: In Budapest, Hungary, 600 neo-Nazis from across Europe gather to honour Nazi soldiers and collaborators who were under siege in Hungary in 1945. The ‘Day of Honour’ event is organised by Hungarian far-right group Legio Hungaria and attended by members of Blood and Honour, an international neo-Nazi group banned in Germany, Spain and Canada. The event is opposed by around 300 anti-fascist demonstrators. (Al Jazeera, 8 February 2024)

9 February: In Greece, a member of the ‘Guardians of the Constitution’, an anti-vaxxer group claiming to establish paramilitary forces in order to carry out an ‘armed struggle’, is handed a 10-month suspended sentence and a €500 fine after being found guilty of incitement to commit crimes, violence and breach of authority. (Keep Talking Greece, 9 February 2024)

13 February: Two far-right activists from Les Remparts, heirs of the dissolved Génération Identitaire group in Lyon, France, are convicted in connection with a racist attack on 1 February against three people leaving a nightclub. Victims were called ‘dirty Arabs’ and  subjected to a vicious knife attack, leaving one with partial vision loss and the other with partial facial paralysis. (Streetpress, 13 February 2024)

14 February: In Italy, police find a fake pistol, weapons, printed material and calendars with Mussolini’s image in raids on the homes of 24 people suspected of promoting fascism during a gathering at a restaurant in the Jewish quarter of Ferrera. At the gathering, perpetrators threatened to kill other diners and handed out material that insulted Anne Frank and praised Mussolini and Hitler. (WTOP News, 14 February 2024)

15 February: In Norway, neo-Nazi Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people during a rampage in 2011, loses a court appeal against his isolation, with the court ruling that his conditions were not ‘disproportionately burdensome’ and prison director Eirik Bergstedt testifying that Breivik is ‘particularly well treated’. (Al Jazeera, 15 February 2024)

 POLICING | PRISONS | CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

 6 February: Police apologise and reach a financial settlement with a woman who was arrested and PVA-sprayed in Bristol while her baby was removed from her during a dispute about a bus ticket in 2021. The case featured in a Channel 4 documentary as evidence of institutional racism. (Bristol Post, 6 February 2024)

6 February: Following an FOI request by Rights & Security International and a complaint to the Information Commissioner, the National Police Chiefs’ Council reveals that police in England and Wales have failed to record the race or ethnicity of nearly two-thirds of people referred to the Prevent counter-extremism programme over a period of eight years (a total of 33,116 people). (Guardian, 6 February 2024)

6 February: The IOPC investigates eight Met police officers after a complaint that a Black child was stopped six times between January and May 2023, with nothing criminal ever being found, leaving the boy ‘traumatised’. (Guardian, 6 February 2024)

7 February: Data from Operation Brocks (the Met’s ‘response to the ongoing conflict in Israel and Gaza and its impact on London’) reveal that there were only 153 arrests at weekly pro-Palestine protests from October to December 2023, with the majority, 117 people, released without charge. (Open Democracy, 7 February 2024)

8 February: Measures criminalising the wearing of face masks or possession of flares or fireworks on protests and climbing on war memorials, and removing human rights defences to public order charges, are added to the Criminal Justice Bill going through parliament. (Guardian, 8 February 2024)

13 February: Left-wing activists accuse the Met of working with the ‘Islamophobic witch-hunt site’ Harry’s Place, which photographs and videos pro-Palestine demonstrators and then tweets at the Metropolitan police to act. (Morning Star, 13 February 2024)

14 February: Three women accused of displaying images of paragliders at a march for  Palestine are convicted of terrorism offences but given conditional discharges after the judge, while commenting that they ‘crossed a line’, finds no evidence of support for Hamas. The women’s lawyer claims that the image was of a parachute, and that ‘an internet group with an agenda’ put forward the paraglider accusation. (BBC News, 14 February 2024)

14 February: The Met confirms that three police officers have been referred to the IOPC for possible misconduct hearings after Carol Campbell, the mother of rapper Craig Small who was gunned down in north London in July 2019, says that police appeared to ‘joke’ about her son’s death in a clip she unexpectedly saw on YouTube. (ITV News, 14 February 2024)

 14 February: The UK National Preventative Mechanism’s annual report expresses concern about the greater use of force against Black prisoners and of restrictive measures against Black people in mental health settings. The NPM’s repeated calls for improvements in places of detention, including prisons, police cells, immigration centres and mental health units, are ignored. (Inside Time, 14 February 2024)

15 February: Police forces in England and Wales are to get £66 million in extra funding to tackle anti-social behaviour by increasing uniformed patrols in ‘hotspot’ areas, says the Home Office. The government sets a target to ‘smash’ 1,000 county lines by August, claiming that its initial target to shut down 2,000 lines by 2025 has already been met. (Gov.uk, 15 February 2024)

18 February: In an interview with the BBC, Commissioner for Countering Extremism Robin Simcox calls on the police to make more use of powers to crack down on offences such as glorifying terrorism, and backs a ban on the BDS movement and potential broadcasting restrictions on ‘extremist voices’. (Morning Star, 18 February 2024)

18 February: The security and policing ministers write to chief constables urging them to make ‘robust use’ of powers, particularly section 42 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2021, to protect politicians from pro-Palestine demonstrators, citing a demonstration outside the home of Bournemouth MP Tobias Ellwood. (Independent, 18 February 2024)

18 February: Testimony in an ongoing public inquiry reveals that Aamer Anwar, the lawyer for Sheku Bayoh’s family, was subjected to a secret spying operation, and the Scottish police also kept secret files on Bayoh’s family. The Police Independent Review Commissioner, which discovered the intelligence gathering, was obstructed in attempts to investigate. (Daily Record, 18 February 2024)

18 February: The media announce the launch of the Police Sex Equality and Equity Network, formed by police officers to ‘push back’ against what is claimed to be the ‘pro-trans ideologies pushed by police chiefs’. (Daily Express, 18 February 2024)

 HUMAN RIGHTS AND DISCRIMINATION

While we cannot cover all legal judgements and advocacy initiatives against the international arms trade,  we provide a summary of the  most important incidents. For more information follow the Campaign Against the Arms Trade.

8 February: The Spanish foreign minister confirms that arms exports licenses to Israel are  suspended, and the regional government of Wallonia, Belgium, announces that it has temporarily suspended licenses to export munitions to the Israeli port city of Ashdod because of ‘the unacceptable deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip’. (iNews, 8 February 2024)

2 February: In the Netherlands, a court upholds an appeal by human rights organisations and orders the government to stop delivering parts for fighter jets used by Israel in the Gaza Strip. (Reuters, 12 February 2024)

13 February: Over 40 international and European organisations call on Cyprus to take immediate steps to stop escalating harassment and attacks against KISA, also noting that KISA members and volunteers, in particular former executive director Doros Polykarpou, continue to face criminalisation apparently linked to their activities as human rights defenders. (Picum, 13 February 2024)

15 February: Holiday Park Pontins is served an unlawful act notice after the Equality and Human Rights Commission found that it breached the Equality Act by creating a ‘banned guest’ list, which included common Irish surnames and those Pontins believed to be Irish Travellers. (Guardian, 15 February 2024)

16 February: The March 30 Movement in the Netherlands lodges a criminal complaint against Dutch-Israeli citizen Leah Rachmani, a member of the IDF, for active participation in the war in Gaza and possible participation in war crimes and crimes against humanity. It also lodges a complaint against the Dutch prime minister. (Anadolu Agency, 16 February 2024)

 EDUCATION

 6 February: Fifty organisations sign an open letter to UK Labour leader Keir Starmer, calling for support to address serious speech and language difficulties in early years schooling, adding that ‘as many as 50 percent of children in areas of social disadvantage start school with language difficulties’. (RCSLT, 6 February 2024)

6 February: The UK government announces the tender of a £5.5million one-year contract for the Tackling Antisemitism in Education (TAE) Programme. Aimed at ‘cultural change’ in universities, colleges and schools. A  ‘Quality Seal’ for ‘practical commitment’ to the controversial International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism will be awarded. (Middle East Eye,  9 February 2024)

7 February: An FOI request by the Agenda Alliance reveals that in 2021-22, Black Caribbean girls were excluded at double the rate of white British girls. The exclusion of Gypsy and Roma schoolgirls was three times higher in the same period, while the rate among mixed white and Black Caribbean girls was also double that of white British girls. (Independent, 7 February 2024)

7 February: A report by the National Education Opportunities Network concludes that ‘Higher education is unavailable to the majority of young people eligible for free school meals’ and that the gap between FSM pupils and non-FSM pupils progressing to HE has increased since 2011-12 ‘in the majority of areas’. (NEON, 7 February 2-24)

8 February: A letter signed by over 500 teachers and school leaders asks the government to continue funding the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) and the 16-19 tuition fund. The NTP was introduced in 2021 to help close the ‘disadvantage gap’ exacerbated during the Covid pandemic. (TES, 8 February 2024)

8 February: Lebanese-born professor of anthropology Ghassan Hage is dismissed from Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology after an article in Die Welt which labels him an ‘Israel-hater’ for criticising Israel as an ‘ethno-religious state’ and for using the terms ‘genocide’ and ‘ethnic cleansing’. A petition is launched against a ‘vile smear campaign’. (THE, 8 February 2024)

8 February: After the Dutch House of Representatives calls for Dutch universities to come up with ‘concrete measures’ to reduce the numbers of overseas students, the Dutch university body, UNL, announces measures including restricting the number of English-language degree courses. An ‘Internationalisation In Balance Bill’ is put forward in parliament. (THE, 8 February 2024)

11 February: Care homes are refusing to take vulnerable children with complex needs, to protect their Ofsted ratings, an Ofsted report finds. (Observer, 11 February 2024)

15 February: In a new report, the Education Policy Institute calls for greater funding of extracurricular activities in school, pointing out that ‘vulnerable’ students are the least likely to attend school clubs, and that attendance at clubs ‘is associated with a range of positive outcomes’ later in life. (EPI, 15 February 2024)

15 February: The Community Security Trust claims that there has been a record rise of 232 percent (on the previous year) of antisemitic incidents in schools in the UK – 70 percent of which happened after 7 October 2023. (Guardian, 15 February 2024)

16 February: Following a report of widespread experiences of racism, the Black Members Standing Committee of the UCU announces that it will cease work with the higher education union ‘until genuine engagement and action is taken by the leadership and until an external investigation into UCU’s conduct is under way’. (THE, 16 February 2024)

19 February: Ten years after the Home Office cancelled 35,000 student visas after a flawed investigation concluded that 97 percent of students taking an English-language test had cheated, a group of students cleared by the tribunal launch a group action for compensation for unlawful detention, for what an MP has called the biggest miscarriage of justice he has seen in three decades. (Guardian, 19 February 2024, Guardian, 13 February 2024)

19 February: In response to the July 2023 closure of a ‘unique’ research masters course in the history of Africa and the African diaspora, 14 University of Chichester masters students  initiate legal action against the university for breach of contract and discrimination (THE, 19 February 2024)

19 February: The new president of Science Europe, Mari Sundli Tveit, says that ‘the resurgence of right-wing politics across Europe is a concern for science’, citing ‘anti-expert, anti-science views’ among the new right-wing parties likely to win seats in the upcoming European elections. (THE, 19 February 2024)

19 February: BRISMES warns that recent attacks on decolonial and anticolonial scholarship and perspectives on the situation in Israel-Palestine are creating a ‘challenging environment for speaking about Palestinian human rights on campus’. The widespread adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism and linking the term ‘settler colonialism’ to support for terrorism and/or antisemitism, are identified as particularly concerning. (BRISMES, 19 February 2024)

HOUSING | POVERTY |WELFARE

7 February: The poorest have borne the brunt of the cost of living crisis, with living standards for the poorest half of Britain’s population 20 percent lower than in 20219-20, losing £4,500 since the start of the pandemic, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research finds. (Guardian, 7 February 2024)

9 February: Three professors from Poland and the US publish ‘Implications of the Decline in LGBT Rights for Population Mental Health: Evidence from Polish ‘LGBT-free Zones’. The research links the social stigma of anti-LGBT legislation in Poland to a 16 percent increase in suicide attempts, largely among men. (Lehigh University, 9 February 2024)

17 February: Housing minister Michael Gove demands an explanation from housing association Midland Heart, which suspended its chair, Lord Ian Austin, for posting an allegedly Islamophobic tweet (since removed) following 7 October. (Jewish Chronicle, 17 February 2024)

HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE

12 February: A report by Middlesex University and Brap sheds light on the experiences of BME healthcare staff and institutional responses to allegations of discrimination, finding that 71 per cent of the UK-trained BME staff surveyed complained of racial discrimination. (Practice Business, 12 February 2024)

14 February: Research by University College London finds that hostile environment policies and the Windrush scandal created more psychological distress to those of Black Caribbean heritage than Covid lockdown measures did to the general population. (Guardian, 14 February 2024) 

15 February: Guardian analysis of NHS Digital and census data shows that areas with the highest proportion of ethnic minorities have the poorest access to GPs. Experts attribute the disparity to an outdated formula used to determine funding. (Guardian15 February 2024)

16 February: An investigation into the death of a 31-year-old pregnant Black woman at Liverpool Women’s Hospital in March 2023 finds that ‘ethnic and health inequalities’ delayed the timing of the diagnosis and her treatment.  (BBC News16 February 2024)

 17 February: Government data for the first year since ‘Seni’s Law’ was introduced to end the use of excessive force against mental health patients shows an increase in the number of Black inpatients injured as a result of police restraint in mental health units, while such injuries to non-Black inpatients have fallen. The law is named for Olaseni Lewis, who died in 2010 following restraint by 11 police officers in Bethlem Royal Hospital, Beckenham. (Guardian17 February 2024)

EMPLOYMENT | EXPLOITATION | INDUSTRIAL ACTION

 12 February: An analysis of NHS Digital figures shows that over one-fifth of NHS staff in England are non-UK nationals, up from 13 percent in 2016. (Guardian, 12 February 2024)

14 February: To mark Valentine’s Day, Delivery Job UK, whose members are mostly Brazilian, organise a strike of UK Deliveroo and Uber Eats takeaway drivers against low pay and insecure conditions. (Guardian, 12 February 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 February: The Barbican backs out of hosting a London Review of Books lecture series including a talk by Pankaj Mishra about The Shoah after Gaza. The series will now be held at St James Church, Clerkenwell. (Guardian, 6 February 2024)

9 February: Basketball Ireland state they are outraged by an Israeli player’s description of the Irish women’s team as ‘quite antisemitic’. The team later refuses to line up and shake hands with the Israeli team, having previously raised concerns over the match and been told it would face expulsion from EuroBasket if it were to boycott. (ESPN, 8 February 2024, Guardian, 9 February 2024)

10 February: In Paris, France, a prosecutor opens a preliminary investigation after anonymous groups, using titles such as ‘Jewish Brigade’ and ‘Servants of Solomon’, are accused of publishing the personal details, including telephone numbers and photographs, of pro-Palestinian journalists, activists and lawyers, and inciting harassment against them. (Le Monde, 10 February 2024)

 14 February: An Everton fan is given a £500 fine and football banning order after pleading guilty to racially or religiously aggravated harassment during a Merseyside derby match, during which he shouted racist abuse at Mohamed Salah and mocked the Heysel Stadium disaster. (BBC News, 14 February 2024)

14 February: After the Italian state broadcaster distances itself from an appeal made during a televised song festival by the rapper Ghali to ‘stop the genocide’, a demonstration is held outside RAI’s headquarters in Naples against its coverage of the war in Gaza. RAI’s chief executive Roberto Sergio publicly expresses his support for ‘the people of Israel and the Jewish community’. (Reuters, 14 February 2024)

15 February: In Lille, France, a court upholds a ban on the concerts of rapper Freeze Corleone on the grounds that several songs ‘call for violence’ and defend terrorism. (Le Monde, 15 February 2024)

15 February: Following public outcry, the organisers of the Berlin international film festival in Germany reverse a decision to invite five AfD politicians alongside other elected politicians. (Guardian 14 February 2024; Reuters, 15 February 2024)

15 February: Equity writes to Arts Council England opposing new guidance for funded organisations on reputational risk and ‘overtly political or activist’ statements made in a personal capacity. ACE denies that the policy was brought in due to the war in Gaza and promises to clarify its guidance. (Guardian, 14 February 2024; Equity, 15 February 2024; The Art Newspaper, 15 February 2024)

15 February: Chickenshed Theatre in London pulls a play by a writer of British Palestinian heritage, citing vague concerns that it might cause offence and affect their funding. (British Theatre Guide, 15 February 2024)

16 February: In Italy, Luca Dell’Atti, the president of the Museum of Pre-Classical Civilizations of Southern Murgia, resigns after facing criticism from culture minister Gennaro Sangiuliano following a social media post in which Dell’Atti inverted a picture of Meloni, a reference to the hanging of Mussolini. (The Art Newspaper, 16 February 2024)

 RACIAL VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT

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

15 February: The Community Security Trust records an increase of 589 percent in the number of antisemitic incidents (ranging from attacks and desecration to online abuse) in the UK, with 4,103 in 2023 compared with 392 in 2022. Between 1 January and 6 October, 19 percent of reported incidents involved ‘Israel-related antisemitism’, while between 7 October and 31 December, 56 percent did. (Guardian 15 February 2023)

16 February: Chief Imam Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri, chair of the Irish Muslim Council, receives treatment for broken teeth and a swollen face in what he believes to have been a   ‘deliberate hate crime attack’ in Tallaght, County Dublin. Gardai launch an investigation into robbery and assault. (Irish Independent, 16 February 2024)

The calendar was compiled by Sophie Chauhan with the help of IRR staff,   Graeme Atkinson, Sam Berkson,  Margaret McAdam, Louis Ordish and   Anne-Ysore Onana-Ateba. 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: Court artist drawing by Elizabeth Cook of Ibrahima Bah. Contributor: PA Images


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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