Calendar of Racism and Resistance (9 – 24 January 2024)

Calendar of Racism and Resistance (9 – 24 January 2024)


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 and migrant rights 

11 January: Nadia El-Nakla, the wife of Scotland’s first minister and a Dundee councillor,  pleads with the UK government to establish a scheme, similar to the Ukrainian resettlement programme, for Palestinian refugees to come to the UK. (Guardian, 11 January 2024)

11 January: A Refugee Council report shows that the two main ‘safe routes’ to the UK for refugees have declined. Only 766 were resettled under the government’s resettlement scheme in the year to September 2023 and delays grow the backlog of family reunion applications. (Refugee Council, 11 January 2024)

11 January: A Home Office report on safe and legal routes for refugees, required by the Illegal Immigration Act, reveals that no new routes or expansion is proposed. (Electronic Immigration Network, 11 January 2024)

15 January: Actors, musicians and campaigners including Doreen Lawrence launch a campaign, Justice4Windrush, calling in an open letter to Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer for the transfer of the deficient Windrush compensation scheme from the Home Office to an independent organisation and for speedier and full payments, noting that more than 40 claimants have died awaiting compensation. (Guardian, 15 January 2024)

19 January: Following a campaign, the Home Office announces that EU citizens with old permanent residence documents can remain and apply late under the EUSS scheme. (Guardian, 19 January 2024)

20 January: An Observer investigation reveals that, despite immigration rules allowing for healthcare works to bring in close family when they apply for visas, the children of migrant mothers, from Africa and India, working in the NHS or social care, are being refused entry to Britain. (Observer, 20 January 2024)

22 January: Media speculation that a new scheme will give asylum seekers the right to work is confirmed as false by the Right to Work Coalition. (Refugee Action, 22 January 2024)

Borders and internal controls 

14 January: Five die and one is in a critical condition as over 70 people face difficulty attempting to board a small boat off the coast of Wimereux, northern France, in an attempt to reach the UK. (Guardian, 14 January 2024) 

16 January: The ECtHR finds Greece guilty of breaches of the right to life by the use of excessive force when coastguards fired on a boat carrying migrants, killing one and seriously injuring another, during an interception operation, and by failing to conduct an effective investigation into the killing. (ECRE, 19 January 2024)

19 January: Amid rising deaths in the Channel, a freedom of information request reveals that Border Force staff were absent for mental health reasons on average more than two days per year between spring 2022 and 2023, a 45% increase from the previous year. (Guardian, 19 January 2024)

Reception and detention

12 January: Closure of a Worcestershire hotel leaves migrant women and children facing uncertainty over moves to sites far from planned school places and support. More hotels in the area accommodating migrants are planned to close in January. (BBC, 12 January 2024)

12 January: A report by African Rainbow Family reveals that one-third of LGBTQ asylum seekers feel unsafe in their asylum accommodation. (African Rainbow Family, 12 January 2024)

12 January: The high court rules unlawful a Home Office practice of obtaining a second opinion on vulnerable detainees deemed unsuitable for detention by independent experts, thereby delaying their release by weeks. (Medical Justice, 12 January 2024)

16 January: As 17 women and children arrive at the Racket Hall hotel near Roscrea, Ireland, around 200 people demonstrate outside against plans to accommodate 160 International Protection applicants at the facility. A smaller demonstration took place earlier in the week. (RTE, January 2024; RTE, 16 January 2024)

18 January: Charities urge the Home Office to reintroduce a pause in evictions of refugees from hotels, resumed in recent days amid sub-zero temperatures, as London mayor Sadiq Khan says the refusal to pause evictions is ‘horrifying’ and vulnerable people will end up on the streets. (Guardian, 18 January 2024)

22 January: A report by the Refugee Council, Helen Bamber Foundation and Humans for Rights Network finds that over 1,300 vulnerable child asylum seekers were wrongly assessed as adults, placed in hotels, prisons and immigration removal centres for adults, causing many to need treatment linked to suicidal ideation. (Independent, 22 January 2024) 

22 January: Asylum seekers are moved from a Warwickshire hotel to small open-plan pods with heating and water issues, which the council says are too small for families. (BBC, 22 January 2024)


11 January: A policy statement sent to MPs by the home secretary admits ‘issues’ over Rwanda’s ‘human rights record around political opposition to the current regime, dissent and free speech’. (Guardian, 11 January 2023)

16 January: The UN High Commission for Refugees says the Safety of Rwanda bill is still in breach of international law and the deal between Rwanda and Britain ‘runs counter to the fundamental principles of global solidarity’ underpinning the protection of asylum seekers. (National, 16 January 2024)

16 January: In response to government plans to recruit 150 judges and expand court capacity to implement the Rwanda policy, lady chief justice Sue Carr says that such decisions are the exclusive responsibility of the judiciary. (Guardian, 16 January 2024)

17 January: The Safety of Rwanda bill passes its third Commons reading by 320 votes to 276, with only 11 Tory MPs voting against, as amendments to the bill are defeated. (Guardian, 17 January 2024)

Demonstration by Together with Refugees outside parliament to scrap the Rwanda plan. Credit: Together with Refugees

17 January: The minister for illegal migration says the civil service code will be ‘tweaked’ so that Strasbourg injunctions halting Rwandan deportations can be ignored. Three civil service unions condemn the change, insisting on the need to work within the law and saying that court action will be taken where necessary. (Guardian, 17 January 2024)

17 January: Amnesty International research singles out Croatia, France, Germany, Poland and Romania for denying international protection to asylum seekers from North Caucasus and returning them to Russia, where they face risk of torture, ill-treatment and forced conscription. Heightened security fears since the war in Gaza are used to justify the branding of religious and ethnic groups as ‘dangerous extremists’. (AI, 17 January 2024)

18 January: Evidence from the UNHCR sent to the Home Office in 2022 shows that LGBTQ+ people seeking asylum in Rwanda faced torture and abuse, as Robbie de Santos of Stonewall says this is further proof that the Rwanda deal fails to protect LGBTQ+ asylum seekers. (Pink News, 18 January 2024) 

19 January: Home Office officials confirm that the department has hired an aircraft hangar and airplane body to train staff who perform deportations in taking people onto planes and handling anyone who resists. (Guardian, 19 January 2024)

22 January: In an unprecedented move, the House of Lords approves a motion to delay ratification of the Rwanda bill as a report identifies at least ten issues requiring further steps to ensure asylum seekers’ safety. As Rwandan political dissidents who survived assassination condemn the plan, Downing Street insists that flights will not be delayed. (Guardian, 22 January 2024, Guardian, 22 January 2024)


9 January: Two parliamentary deputy chairs and a parliamentary private secretary resign from the Conservative party to vote for hard-right MPs’ amendments to the Safety of Rwanda bill limiting rights to challenge deportation and preventing the ECtHR from delaying removals. (Guardian, 9 January 2024; Guardian, 15 January 2024) 

10 January: In Germany, the investigative outlet Correktiv reveals that senior AfD figures, including co-leader Alice Weidel, met at a countryside estate in Potsdam with neo-Nazi activists and Martin Sellner, head of the Identitarian movement, to discuss a ‘re-migration’ masterplan of forced deportations. (Guardian, 10 January 2024; Guardian, 11 January 2024)

13 January: After the German government rejects South Africa’s indictment of Israel for genocide, Namibia’s First Lady points out the former colonial power’s ‘absurd‘ stance occurred on the anniversary of the build-up to the Heremo-Namibia genocide of 1904, an irony which ‘is not lost’ on Namibians. (In Context, 13 January 2024)

13 January: In Switzerland, Federation Swiss-Palestine condemns bans imposed by German-speaking cantons as an ‘unconstitutional infringement of the fundamental right to protest’, drawing attention to the withdrawal of financial support for Palestinian associations and attempts to undermine the work of UNWRA. (Euronews, 13 January 2024)

14 January: Chancellor Scholz and his foreign minister join thousands marching in Potsdam, Germany, to ‘defend democracy’ in the face of plans by the far-right AfD to deport migrants, even if they are citizens, if they do not ‘adapt’. (Guardian, 15 January 2024)

15 January: Demonstrators gather outside RAF Akrotiri, a British Ministry of Defence base near Limmasol, Cyprus, to protest against its use as a launchpad for strikes against the Houthi militia in Yemen and the alleged funnelling of weapons to Israel for its war in Gaza. (Al Jazeera, 15 January 2024)

15 January: Home secretary James Cleverly lays a draft order before Parliament to proscribe Hizb ut-Tahir, effective 19 January, which he calls ‘an antisemitic organisation that actively promotes and encourages terrorism, including praising and celebrating’ the 7 October attacks. (, 15 January 2024; Guardian, 16 January 2024)

15 January: South African lawyers handling the genocide case against Israel at the ICJ announce that they are preparing a separate lawsuit against the United Kingdom and United States for complicity in war crimes. (Telesa, 15 January 2024)

15 January: The prime minister is asked to apologise for his use of an Islamophobic trope during a parliamentary debate about the Middle East, where he responded to Zarah Sultana MP’s call for de-escalation by telling her to ‘call on Hamas and the Houthis to de-escalate the situation’. (Independent, 15 January 2024)

16 January: The International Centre of Justice for Palestinians files a criminal complaint with the Metropolitan Police’s War Crimes Unit against senior UK politicians, including ministers, alleging complicity in war crimes committed in Gaza. Private British citizens, including some who travelled abroad to fight for the Israeli army, are also named. (Middle East Eye, 16 January 2024)

17 January: In Germany, the Werteunion (Values Union), a conservative CDU and CSU grouping, admits that two of its members were present, as private individuals, at the meeting where the ‘re-migration’ masterplan was discussed. The CDU is attempting to expel the Werteunion’s chair Hans-Georg Maaßen, a former head of the domestic intelligence services. (Guardian, 17 January 2024)

17 January: As VVD senators in the Netherlands back legislation opposed by Geert Wilders’ far-right PPV to ensure all councils take their fair share of refugees, research by RTL News reveals that almost half of the country’s 342 local authorities have not provided any accommodation for refugees over the past 12 years. (Dutch News, 17 January 2024)

18 January: The Italian defence ministry is accused by the opposition and the association of partisans (ANPI) of ‘rehabilitating fascism’ in its official 2024 army calendar, which honours soldiers who fought for Mussolini. (Politico, 18 January 2024)

20 January: The Werteunion announces it will establish itself as a new political party to contest upcoming regional elections in three eastern German states. (Deutsche Welle, 20 January 2024)

21 January: Protests against the far-right AfD culminate in an estimated 1.4 million people demonstrating in 100 locations across Germany. (Le Monde, 21 January 2024)

22 January: The Justice & Accountability for Palestine Initiative, a Palestinian-led legal group, sends letters to the governments of Austria, France, the Netherlands and Germany warning of intent to prosecute public officials for their involvement in crimes against Palestinians. (Law for Palestine, 22 January 2024)

22 January: In a speech at a civil society summit trailed in advance as echoing Cameron’s vision of the ‘big society’, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer defends the National Trust and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution against the Tories’ ‘desperate’ culture wars and anti-woke politics. (Guardian, 21 January 2024)

23 January: The German constitutional court rules that the far-right Homeland party (formerly NPD) can be stripped of state funding for six years on the ground that the party aims to replace the ‘constitutional system’ with an authoritarian state based on an ethnic ‘people’s community’. (Al Jazeera, 23 January 2024)


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.

16 January: In Germany, a close aide to AfD co-leader Alice Weidel is fired after it is revealed that he and other AfD officials attended a meeting of far-right extremists at a hotel near Berlin, where a ‘master plan’ to deport millions of people was discussed. (Politico, 16 January 2024)

17 January: The European Parliament launches an investigation into far-right Flemish Vlaams Belang MEP Tom Vandendriessche’s use, during a debate on the European pact on Migration, of the term ‘omvolking’, a neo-Nazi term used to refer to the ‘Great replacement’ theory. (Brussels Times, 17 January 2024)

18 January: The court of cassation in Italy determines that performing the fascist salute is only a crime if it endangers public order or risks reviving a banned fascist party, and the high court orders a retrial for eight far-right militants found guilty of making the salute in 2016.. Hundreds of men recently made fascist salutes in Rome at a public commemoration. (Guardian, 18 January 2024; Ansa, 19 January 2024)

21 January: Evidence seen by the Observer suggests that the killer of two men outside a gay bar in Bratislava, Slovakia, in October 2022, and other lone young men across Europe, are being influenced by US-based extremists peddling ‘great replacement’ conspiracy theories. (Observer, 21 January 2024)


12 January: In Newport, Wales, the inquest opens into the death of Mouayad Bashir, who died there following police restraint in February 2021. (Inquest, 12 January 2024)

Image of Mouayed Bashir. Credit: Family Handout

15 January: Six activists linked to Palestine Action are arrested over an alleged plot to disrupt the London Stock Exchange by ‘locking on’ to the building to prevent it from opening. Information leading to the arrests is said to have come from a tip-off from the Daily Express, which allegedly infiltrated the organisation. (Euronews, 15 January 2024)

15 January: Following mayor Andy Burnham’s review of Greater Manchester police and Rochdale council’s handling of child sexual exploitation cases from 2004-2013, the scale of police failings of children is laid bare: one 15-year-old CSE victim was treated as a co-conspirator, and police secretly took the aborted foetus of a 13-year-old grooming victim for DNA tests without telling the girl or her parents. (Guardian, 15 January 2024)

16 January: A judicial review hearing at the high court challenges new police powers introduced by the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act as discriminatory for targeting Gypsies and Travellers living in roadside camps. (Friends, Families & Travellers, 16 January 2024)

17 January: Liberty takes up the case of a teenager wearing a Palestinian flag, who was stopped at an airport under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and questioned, along with a family member, about his views on the Middle East and attendance at pro-Palestine marches in London. (Open Democracy, 17 January 2023)

18 January: The families of Basil Peterkin and Saliah Mehmet, whom the court of appeal clears posthumously 46 years after they were framed by racist British Transport Police officer DS Derek Ridgwell in 1977, call for imprisonment of any police officer to trigger automatic review of their cases. (Guardian, 18 January 2024)

20 January: In France, three police officers receive suspended jail sentences for an assault during a stop and search in 2017 in the Paris suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois that left Theodore Luhaka disabled after suffering irreversible anal injuries from a police baton. (Independent, 20 January 2024)

22 January: An inquest into the death of 13-year-old Christopher Kapessa in 2020 delivers a narrative conclusion, finding that he was pushed into a river as a ‘dangerous prank’, leading to death by drowning. The family calls on the CPS to now take action against the boy responsible, who has now been named. (Guardian, 22 January 2024)

“In Memory of Chris” banner. Credit: Justice for Christopher Kapessa campaign

24 January: A study by the miscarriages of justice charity Appeal, published in Race & Class, reveals that majority jury verdicts, introduced in 1967 into England and Wales, were motivated partly to dilute the influence of minority ethnic people and the labouring classes on juries, more of whom had recently become eligible to serve on juries. (Guardian, 24 January 2024)

Majority Jury Verdicts in England & Wales: A Vestige of White Supremacy? By Nisha Waller and Naima Sakande


22 January: The French authorities announce that a new ‘women’s radicalisation prevention section’ has been established at the Roanne detention centre near Lyon, comprising fourteen cells reserved for female returnees from Syria, and that the first inmates will arrive at the end of January. (Le Monde, 22 January 2024)


11 January: A Sutton Trust report finds that 150 comprehensive secondary schools in England are more ‘socially selective’ than the average grammar school, with poorer students less likely to get into the best performing schools in their area. (Sutton Trust, 11 January 2024)

15 January: More than 100 schoolchildren and university students have been targeted with ‘harsh repression and censorship’ over the last three months, including referrals to Prevent, for expressing pro-Palestinian sentiments, says Open Democracy. Prevent Watch reports receiving 20 new calls to its helpline. The Home Office says it is offering guidance to schools on how to manage political expression from students. (Open Democracy, 15 January 2024)

16 January: A judicial review hearing opens at the high court arguing that the ban on prayer rituals at the Michaela community school in north-west London discriminates against Muslim pupils. (Guardian, 16 January 2024)

16 January: An employment tribunal rules that a Manchester primary school teacher was the victim of  racial discrimination and unfairly dismissed  from  here post after six colleagues claimed that her  her ‘relentless complaining’ about racial issues in the classroom left them feeling ‘intimidated’ and the school’s leadership team launched a collective grievance against her. (Daily Mail, 16 January 2024)

19 January: Barclay primary school in east London warns parents that it might switch to online teaching if protests against the ban on political symbols, including those relating to Palestine, and abuse and threats to school staff, do not cease. (Guardian, 19 January 2024)

22 January: Two Conservative student societies in Scotland invite peers to debate the topic of sinking small boats in the channel. (National, 22 January 2024)


15 January: The Guardian reveals that plans to force landlords managing social housing to deal with damp and mould will not extend to asylum housing, amid contestation from charities working with refugees and asylum seekers. (Guardian, 15 January 2024)

20 January: A government survey of more than 300 councils reveals that of the 23,727 complaints made from 2021 to 2022 concerning mould in private rentals, only half lead to inspections. (Observer, 20 January 2024)

23 January: According to research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, six million of the very poorest people in Britain would need to more than double their income to move above the poverty line – defined as below £21,900 for a family of four. (Guardian, 23 January 2024)


10 January: The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) urges the government to expedite action against the growing health risks posed by rising damp, mould and leaks in social housing. The special adviser on air quality to the RCP warns of widening health concerns as more people inhale fungal toxins. (Guardian10 January 2024)

15 January: A 26-year-old Hertfordshire woman claims that her cervical cancer was not detected early enough after the hospital falsely assumed that she was from a Traveller community and would therefore have no fixed address, resulting in delays in treatment due to the necessary referrals not taking place. (BBC, 15 January 2024)


21 January: Britain’s social care sector is seeing a surge in modern slavery, campaigners say, with calls to anti-slavery charity Unseen from potential victims up from 63 in 2021 to at least 800 last year. Tighter checks by local authorities and the NHS on private care firms employing migrant workers are demanded. (Guardian, 21 January 2024)

23 January: France’s data protection agency, the CNIL, fines Amazon France Logistique warehouse management €32 million for its excessively intrusive surveillance system to monitor staff performance. (Le Monde, 23 January 2024)


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.

11 January: More than 500 global creatives sign ‘Strike Germany’, demanding, in the face of genocide in Gaza, an end to collaborative work with German state-funded cultural institutions that suppress free expression on Palestine in order to ‘weed out cultural workers who do not echo Germany’s unequivocal support of Israel’. (Al Jazeera, 11 January 2024)

11 January: Former Yorkshire Cricket chairman Colin Graves apologises for describing incidents of racism that occurred during his time as chairman as ‘banter’. Graves is set to return to his post on 2 February subject to members’ approval. (Guardian, 11 January 2024)

15 January: The prize-winning Bosnian and Serbian novelist Lana Bastašić terminates contracts with her German publisher and calls for a boycott of German cultural institutions to protest their silence on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. (Guardian, 15 January 2024)

16 January: Football pundit Eni Aluko says that she felt frightened to leave her home after being targeted by former footballer Joey Barton on social media. Aluko, who did not mention Barton by name, accused him of having a racist, misogynistic and ‘violent history’. (Guardian, 16 January 2024)

16 January: The Arnolfini art gallery apologises ‘without reservation’ for ‘recent programming decisions’ which led to the cancelling of two events linked to the Bristol Palestine Film Festival. (B/247, 16 January 2024)

16 January: French footballer Karim Benzema files a defamation case against France’s interior minister for saying, after the former expressed solidarity on social media with the people of Gaza, that he had ‘notorious’ links with the Muslim Brotherhood, which Benzema completely denies. (Guardian, 17 January 2024)

17 January: The Charity Commission opens an investigation into the Boys Clubhouse for vulnerable young Jewish men in north London after it announces an event marking the return to the UK of ‘special guest’ Levi Simon, a Briton who fought with the Israeli army and has been criticised for posting footage from Gaza on Instagram. (Middle East Eye, 17 January 2024; Novara Media, 17 January 2024)

19 January: In Spain, La Liga is to investigate the racist abuse of Real Madrid’s Vinicius Jr following an incident during a derby match with Atletico Madrid. The abuse follows a prolonged period in which Vinicius Jr has been the target of racism from supporters of clubs across Spain. (Athletic, 19 January 2024)

21 January: After Italy’s AC Milan players walk off the pitch when goalkeeper Mike Maignan is targeted with racist abuse by Udinese supporters, and Coventry mid-fielder Kasey Palmer is racially abused at Hillsborough by a Sheffield Wednesday fan, FIFA president Gianni Infantino states that clubs whose fans cause matches to be abandoned through racist abuse must face an automatic forfeit of games. (BBC Sport, 21 January 2024)


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

15 January: Ian Beim and Kevin Sweeney receive community orders after admitting to racially aggravated public offences directed at pro-Palestine protesters, who they called terrorists and told to ‘go back to their own country’ on Armistice day. Lawyers attempt to situate their clients’ ‘inexcusable behaviour’ as a response to protesters chanting ‘from the river to the sea’, as well as the October 7 attacks. (Independent, 15 January 2023)

22 January: Police launch an investigation after criticism for failing to respond promptly to an antisemitic attack on a group of Jewish friends speaking Hebrew by a group of 20 men in London’s West End. (Standard, 22 January 2024) 

The calendar was compiled by Sophie Chauhan with the help of 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: London Palestine Solidarity Campaign demonstration on 13th January 2024. Credit: IRR News

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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