Dear IRR News subscriber,
In a week where tens of thousands marched worldwide to mark UN anti-racism day, it is fitting that two reports published by the Institute of Race Relations unearth the most brutal side of state racism in the UK and in Europe – that which results in death.
In 1991, the IRR’s Deadly Silence report exposed the reality of black deaths in custody, detailing seventy-five ‘cases’ in which people had lost their lives in the custody of the police, prisons and psychiatric hospitals. Between then and 2014, at least 509 people from BAME communities have died in suspicious circumstances in which the police, prison authorities or immigration detention officers have been implicated, as the recent comprehensive follow-up report Dying for Justice reveals. A significant proportion of these deaths have involved undue force. Many more indicate a culpable lack of care. Yet, in the two-and-a-half decades which the research covers, not a single person has been convicted. A typical case is that of Habib ‘Paps’ Ullah, who died during a stop and search by police using unapproved and dangerous methods in 2008 in High Wycombe. The recent inquest which ended in March 2015 is reviewed here this week.
Dying for Justice reveals the lack of accountability of state institutions; and a similar pattern is revealed in IRR’s second report, Unwanted, unnoticed: an audit of 160 asylum and immigration-related deaths in Europe. It also makes clear that the deaths of migrants and asylum seekers, over the last five years, in detention and reception centres, on the streets and in the squats of Europe, are a product of the rightlessness and lack of human dignity governments afford them. And it is this potential undermining of rights which Frances Webber exposes in an examination of the UK’s Operation Nexus, which allows for deportation on the basis of fundamentally unreliable and untestable material.
Our regular calendar of racism and resistance, a fortnightly resource for anti-racist and social justice campaigns, highlights key events in the UK and Europe.
We also now have a programme for our 18 April conference Catching history on the wing. Details of this, and how to book, are available here.
IRR News team