Dear IRR News subscriber,
Today, the IRR publishes When witnesses won’t be silenced: citizens’ solidarity and criminalisation, a compelling new report on crimes of solidarity that draws attention to a dramatic increase in prosecutions, restrictions and penalties against a variety of civil society actors, including of course, in the UK, the Stansted 15. Its publication could not be more timely. As fighting between rival groups reaches Tripoli, the UN has started evacuating refugees from detention centres in Libya’s capital. Thousands of other detainees across the country feel trapped and abandoned. The fact that that they have been exposed to such dangers owes much to EU cooperation agreements since 2011 with the Libyan coastguard aimed at stopping refugee boats arriving in Europe. The Italian far-right government, which has closed its ports to migrant ships, does everything in its power to stop search and rescue NGOs operating in the central Mediterranean, including using aiding illegal immigration laws to prosecute the crews of the Iuventa, Open Arms, Aquarius and the Mare Jonio – all cases documented in this report.
A few weeks ago on IRR News, Jasbinder S. Nijjar wrote about the range of community activities organised by Southall Resists 40, recalling the historic opposition to racism and fascism in Southall in 1979. A demonstration is to take place on Saturday 27 April to remember not just Blair Peach but also 18-year-old student Gurdip Singh Chaggar who was killed in a racially-motivated attack in 1976. Our regular calendar of racism and resistance draws attention to the plaque unveiling and vigil for both young men this week. Tragically, other families, like that of Sheku Bayoh, who died in Fife in 2015, are still fighting for justice. We note in our calendar the family’s criticisms of a decision to let two police officers, questioned over his death, retire on medical grounds. The calendar also has multiple entries on racism in sport that document the shocking number of racist incidents at football grounds in both Europe and the UK as premier league clubs West Ham and Crystal Palace face difficult questions about their failure to denounce the Democratic Football Lads Alliance.
IRR News Team