Racism underpins the hostile environment

There are many many examples of racism in UK and beyond, coming to our attention daily and it is racism that has enabled the hostile environment to take hold such that people are left in a situation where they fear the potential threat to their safety from the Home Office more than they fear the threat to their own lives of the Covid pandemic.

Below, you will find just a small selection of reports about the way in which racism shows itself.

Updated 6 April 2023: Ethical Journalism Network: Structural racism in UK newsrooms: Research and fieldwork conducted by the EJN Jan – Jul 2022

In February 2021, the Ethical Journalism Network (EJN) was awarded funding from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, through their Power and Accountability programme, to fund a project to identify and begin to address structural racism in UK journalism. The resulting policy report, published in March 2023, provides an overview of the challenges that Black journalists are facing in the British news media. Browse the report by chapter and download the report below.

The report, written by Dr Aida Al-Kaisy and based on 27 in-depth interviews with Black journalists and stakeholders who have or are currently working in national mainstream media newsrooms across print, online and broadcast media, provides an overview of the challenges that Black journalists are facing in the British news media.

Although the proportion of Black African and Caribbean journalists has increased in recent years, and there has been a heightened sense of the possibility for change since 2020 with the increased momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement, Black journalists interviewed confirmed that newsroom processes continued to be exclusionary and racism was commonplace.

Read more: https://ethicaljournalismnetwork.org/structural-racism-in-uk-newsrooms-research-and-fieldwork-conducted-by-the-ejn-jan-jul-2022

Institute of Race Relations/John O: Calendar of Racism and Resistance Monday 22nd November to Sunday 27th November Callous Indifference: Remembering 32 Lives Lost in the Channel

Exactly a year ago, a dinghy with 34 people on board sank in the English Channel. There were two survivors. In the three hours it took for the boat to sink, as distress messages flooded in from those on board, French and British coastguards debated whose responsibility it was to rescue them. No help came, as one by one the passengers died of cold or drowned. As this week’s Calendar of Racism and Resistance shows, the body investigating the deaths – the worst loss of life in the Channel in over 30 years – the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB), will not present its findings until at least early summer next year, and has not yet been in touch with most of the families of those who died, despite being sent their contact details. The families have also been denied access to recordings of their loved ones’ final calls for help. The unmistakable message conveyed by such responses is that these deaths don’t matter and that the families of the deceased are unworthy of respect.

Twelve months on, another death, this time in Manston, a former RAF base which in its short time as a holding centre for asylum seekers has become, like Napier barracks, a byword for inhumanity. Manston has now been emptied, but as Joseph Maggs, in his critical analysis of the state violence that occurs behind the closed doors of a ‘no-access border zone’, shows, the closing of Manston will not put an end to the politically manufactured humanitarian crisis facing newly arrived asylum seekers. This can only end with a wholesale rejection of current policies of criminalisation and deterrence. But a change in policy, Maggs concludes, will not come from the top-down parliamentary process, with Labour leaders seem determined to match the Tories on toughness towards migrants. It will come through grass-roots resistance to state violence and demonisation, exemplified by the determined and dogged commitment of groups like SOAS Detainee Support, Action Against Detention and Deportations, as well as people from the Thanet area, at Manston.
Source; Institute of Race Relations, https://rb.gy/6razem

IRR: Manston: state violence in a no-access border zone

With the Manston facility emptied this week after the death of a man detained there, IRR News publishes the first in-depth analysis of a politically manufactured crisis, caused by policies of criminalisation and deterrence. Joseph Maggs provides a first-person account after visiting the facility on 30 October alongside fellows activists from SOAS Detainee Support and other groups and organisations.

Read the long-read on the IRR website: https://irr.org.uk/article/manston-state-violence-in-a-no-access-border-zone and check out the accompanying twitter thread.

Updated 6 November 2022: Observer: Suella Braverman was warned ‘hate speech’ could inspire far right

Senior lawyers had told home secretary about risks of inflammatory rhetoric long before she referred to asylum seekers as an ‘invasion’

The home secretary, Suella Braverman, who last week caused outrage by referring to asylum seekers entering the UK as an “invasion”, had been warned by government lawyers that inflammatory immigration rhetoric risked inspiring a far-right terror attack.

Braverman’s comments came just one day after a man with links to the far right threw firebombs at a Dover immigration centre. On Saturday, counter-terrorism police announced they had found evidence that the attack was motivated by an “extreme rightwing” terrorist ideology.

In October 2020, Braverman, then attorney general for England and Wales, was briefed in detail about how hate speech by senior politicians could lead to a terrorist risk. It followed an alleged terror plot against a law firm shortly after Priti Patel, then home secretary, had claimed that “activist lawyers” were frustrating the removal of failed asylum seekers.

After the alleged incident, senior legal figures contacted the attorney general’s office to make clear their concern that inflammatory political rhetoric inspired violence.

In late October 2020, Braverman met in person with government lawyers, the lord chancellor and lord chief justice to discuss the “worrying increase in use of ‘activist lawyers’ rhetoric” by the government, an internal Bar Council newsletter reveals.

At the time, Braverman was so concerned that she contacted Patel to ask her if she would consider toning down her language.

However, last week Braverman doubled down on her choice of language, also referring to “Albanian criminals” in parliament, prompting Edi Rama, the prime minister of the eastern European country, to accuse Braverman of using “purely xenophobic” words.

One prominent barrister with knowledge of the discussions during October 2020 said that Braverman was fully aware that her intervention last week in the immigration debate was incendiary.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/nov/06/suella-braverman-was-warned-hate-speech-could-inspire-far-right

Updated 3 November 2022: It’s about the system – made to punish the innocent and the poor. Migrants know nothing other than seeking sanctuary. Trained Met police officers are shown to be committing crimes and what happens to them? It is sad that the country’s security arm is so dysfunctional: see the report below

Evening Standard: A police officer who was arrested on suspicion of dealing class A drugs has been dismissed from the force.

Rasvinder Agalliu had been in the Metropolitan Police’s central west command unit for almost 20 years and was reportedly a budding beauty queen away from her day job.

She was not ultimately charged with drug offences but was found to have breached the standards of professional behaviour.

Officers raided her house on June 25, 2020, finding class A drugs, drugs paraphernalia, a large quantity of cash and a Metropolitan Police radio.

Read more: https://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/rasvinder-agalliu-met-police-beauty-queen-cocaine-b1037150.html

Updated 25 June 2022: Independent: Celebrities urge Commonwealth leaders to condemn ‘offensive’ Rwanda asylum plan

Celebrities including Olympian Anita Asante and actress Dame Emma Thompson have urged Commonwealth leaders to stand against Britain’s “ill-planned” and “offensive” scheme to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.

More than 20 high-profile names have penned an open letter to attendees of this week’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm) in Rwanda, describing the controversial plan as a “scandalous affront” to Africa and the rest of the world.

Many of the signatories have heritage from African Commonwealth countries, including the actress Sophie Okonedo, and actors Martins Imhangbe and Lucian Msamati.

Read more: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/rwanda-emma-thompson-commonwealth-celebrities-africa-b2109144.html

Updated 22 June 2022: Independent: Grenfell and Rwanda have something terrible in common – they highlight how we treat refugees in Britain

Our treatment of people fleeing war and persecution is what colonialism and systemic racism look like in real time

[…] The echoes of history should send a shiver down our spines. There must be change. A refugee protection system should be based on justice and compassion. To get there, the structural racism that underpins the current regime must be called out and torn down.

Tim Naor Hilton is the CEO of Refugee Action

Read more: https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/grenfell-rwanda-flight-refugees-boris-johnson-b2100921.html

Updated 2 June 2022: The Voice: Black parents stand up

Diane Abbott’s popular black child conference returns

THE RETURN of Diane Abbott’s popular Conference for the Black Child comes at a crucial time, following controversies over the strip searches of Child Q and Olivia.

The legendary MP said that the new conference, targeted at black parents, was important to stop the criminalisation of black children by police in schools.ADVERTISING

The event takes place on Saturday 11 June at a north London school, over a decade after former London mayor Boris Johnson scrapped it.

Speaking to The Voice, the Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington said the community needed to discuss solutions to the exclusions-to-prison pipeline.

“There is a continuum between being marginalised or brutalised in a schools context and ending up in the criminal justice system, and I think police want to be in school as part of a criminal justice system push. It’s not really about helping the school community at all.”

The strip search in school of Child Q, a 15-year-old girl who was menstruating at the time, raised issues not only about the unnecessary traumatising of the child but also about the experience of black parents, Abbott said.

Read more: https://www.voice-online.co.uk/news/exclusive-news/2022/05/30/black-parents-stand-up/

Updated 29 May 2022: Guardian: Windrush scandal caused by ‘30 years of racist immigration laws’ – report

Exclusive: legislation has been designed to reduce the UK’s non-white population, according to leaked government paper

The origins of the Windrush scandal lay in 30 years of racist immigration legislation designed to reduce the UK’s non-white population, according to a leaked government report.

The stark conclusion was set out in a Home Office commissioned paper that officials have repeatedly tried to suppress over the past year.

The 52-page analysis by an unnamed historian, which has been seen by the Guardian, describes how “the British Empire depended on racist ideology in order to function”, and sets out how this affected the laws passed in the postwar period.

It concludes that the origins of the “deep-rooted racism of the Windrush scandal” lie in the fact that “during the period 1950-1981, every single piece of immigration or citizenship legislation was designed at least in part to reduce the number of people with black or brown skin who were permitted to live and work in the UK”.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/may/29/windrush-scandal-caused-by-30-years-of-racist-immigration-laws-report

Updated 25 May 2022: Guardian: From ‘go home’ vans to Windrush scandal: a timeline of UK’s hostile environment

Theresa May first revealed Tory policy that has been derided across the world

On 25 May 2012 Theresa May, the then home secretary, gave an interview to the Daily Telegraph in which she said: “The aim is to create here in Britain a really hostile environment for illegal migration.” The phrase became shorthand for a series of strict policies aimed at cracking down on migrants who had overstayed, making it harder for them to work in the UK legally and access housing and bank accounts.

A decade on and the hostile environment is still around, but politicians and others from across the political spectrum question whether it has achieved its stated objectives.

25 May 2012Theresa May announces the aims of the hostile environment in a Telegraph article. For the first time private landlords, employers and NHS staff are to be co-opted into plans to carry out checks on migrants to ensure they are in the UK legally and to report them to immigration enforcement if not. May, who became home secretary two years before she announced her crackdown, warned: “We’re going to give illegal migrants a really hostile reception.” The policy heralded a culture change across a range of UK institutions unused to policing immigration.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/may/25/from-go-home-vans-to-windrush-scandal-a-timeline-of-uks-hostile-environment

Updated 24 May 2022: BBC: Teenage girl traumatised after police strip-search, says mum

The detail of what happened to this young woman is horrendous:

‘Separate data revealed 75% of the children who were strip-searched by the Met in custody over the past three years were from ethnically diverse backgrounds, prompting allegations of racism.’

Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-61523291

Updated 21 May 2022: Guardian: Black social worker Tasered by City of London police treated like ‘wild animal’

Edwin Afriyie, 36, is suing the force after suffering a head injury and suicidal thoughts following the incident

A black social worker who was Tasered and knocked unconscious during a roadside stop says police treated him like a “wild animal.”

Edwin Afriyie, 36, is suing City of London police after suffering a head injury and suicidal thoughts following the incident.

He was driving three friends back from a party in east London when he was pulled over by police in the City.

During discussions with officers he was Tasered and fell backwards, hitting his head on a stone window ledge.

Afriyie spent much of his working life trying to improve trust between young black Londoners and the police. Yet he believes he was singled out because he was a black man driving a Mercedes coupe.

Read more: https://amp.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/may/21/black-social-worker-tasered-by-city-of-london-police-treated-like-wild-animal

Updated 16 May 2022: Independent: Dalston protest: Police clash with locals as officers attempt to arrest man on ‘immigration offences’

Several arrests were made following the clash

Several people were arrested in east London after protesters clashed with officers attempting to arrest a man on “immigration offences” on Saturday.

Videos shared on social media showed scores of protestors clashing with police, with some clips showing officers hitting locals who tried to stop the arrest on Kingsland high street in Dalston. Protesters lined the street and could be heard shouting “let them go” in response to the people who had been detained by officers.

The Metropolitan Police said it was carrying out a “pre-planed operation targeting e-scooters and moped-enabled crime” in Dalston at 7pm on Saturday when officers identified a man who was wanted for immigration offences. After officers sought to arrest the man, protesters gathered to stop them, the Met Police added.

Witnesses at the incident described “horrendous” scenes as violence broke out. Journalist Samir Jeraj who was at the protest said “police and protesters periodically clashed with police” and said he saw someone “hit multiple times with a baton.” The Metropolitan Police claim officers were also “assaulted” during the clash but none required hospital treatment.

In one video a group of over half a dozen officers can be seen pushing into the protesters knocking some of them to the ground before one protester is seen being beaten with a baton and pushed to the ground. In another video, one of the protesters is seen on the ground surrounded by police while onlookers shout “he’s punching him.”

Read more: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/dalston-protest-police-clash-immigrant-offences-b2079432.html

Updated 29 April 2022: It starts early: BBC: Black children over-policed in schools, report says

Black children are more likely to face tougher punishments at school because they are viewed as “less innocent” and more adult-like, a report says.

This process of “adultification” means black children can feel unsafe and over-policed at school, the Commission on Young Lives in England report says.

This can lead to black children being disciplined more harshly – including being more likely to be excluded.

The government said it had strengthened safeguarding guidance for schools.

Vulnerable teenagers

Former children’s commissioner Anne Longfield, who chaired the commission, said adultification was a significant issue.

“It’s very real and it has a huge impact on children’s lives,” she said.

“Essentially, it’s young people being viewed as older.

“That means that we look after them slightly less, and they don’t get the protections and safeguarding they should.”

The year-long independent study is looking at how to improve support and life chances for vulnerable teenagers to prevent them being exploited in schools or by criminal gangs.

About one in every three of state-school pupils belongs to an ethnic minority – but more than 90% of the teaching staff are white.

Recommendations from the report include:

  • better race-equality teacher training
  • a more inclusive curriculum to tackle racial discrimination
  • more black teachers in classrooms and leadership roles

The report highlights the strip-search of a 15-year-old girl, known as Child Q, by Metropolitan Police officers as a shocking example of adultification.

Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-61263246

Updated 28 April 2022: Guardian: Non-verbal black teenager who has never left UK detained at immigration centre

Boy who went missing from hospital arrested and held at Gatwick facility after being wrongly recorded as Nigerian

A woman has described how her 17-year-old black British son was found at an immigration detention centre after going missing while being treated for psychosis.

The boy – who is non-verbal – disappeared from a hospital in Kent, where he had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act, on 7 April. Two days later, he was arrested by British Transport Police (BTP) at Euston on suspicion of fare evasion, before being detained by Immigration Enforcement near Gatwick, despite being British.

“It’s just horrific,” the boy’s mother said. “Because he’s black they just assumed ‘let’s pick him and put him in a deportation centre’.”

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/apr/28/non-verbal-black-teenager-who-has-never-left-uk-detained-at-immigration-centre

Update re: Ukraine: Euronews: Nigerians fleeing Ukraine war freed from Polish detention camps, say officials 

Thirteen Nigerians who fled the war in Ukraine have now been released from detention in Poland, the government has said.

The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) said on Wednesday that most people who had been detained at camps in Poland were now free.

“The Nigerians were released with the intervention of the Nigerian Ambassador to Poland,” a statement read.

At least six others — including a man who claimed he is Cameroonian — were still waiting for their asylum applications to be processed, it added.

NIDCOM and the ambassador in Poland said they would continue to work and “ensure that the interests of Nigerians are well taken care of”.

Read more: https://www.euronews.com/2022/04/21/nigerians-fleeing-ukraine-war-freed-from-polish-detention-camps-say-officials

The Mirror: [8 April 2022] EXCLUSIVE: Wayne Couzens’ Met Police unit celebrate George Floyd’s murder in sick racist messages

A message shared by ex-officers from Wayne Couzens’ elite unit celebrated the 2020 US police killing of George Floyd. They also shared an image of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with racist language

Former members of killer policeman Wayne Couzens’ elite unit shared sick messages including one celebrating the murder of George Floyd.

[…] Diane Abbott, Labour MP for Hackney North, said: “These are horrible and upsetting messages and one of them is about me.

“They happen to reveal a racist and misogynistic culture in the Met police which is what we saw in the WhatsApp messages from Charing Cross police station.

“This racist and misogynistic culture is behind some of the recent scandals, whether it’s the murder of Sarah Everard, the way the vigil for her was treated and the strip searching of child Q by the police.

“I think that the incoming commissioner really has to tackle this culture. It needs to be understood that racism and misogyny is not going to go unpunished.”

Read more: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/wayne-couzens-met-police-unit-26670931

Updated 3 April 2022: Big Issue: Exclusive: Fewer than 500 people in the UK have offered to help find homes for Afghan refugees

Government data obtained by The Big Issue shows the disparity between the number of people offering homes to refugees from Ukraine and from Afghanistan.

More than 150,000 people have expressed interest in taking in Ukrainian refugees – but fewer than 500 have offered to house Afghans seven months on from the fall of Kabul.

Experts say it highlights the impact of the government “dehumanising refugees who are brown, Black, or Muslim”, as 11,500 Afghan refugees are believed to be stuck in hotels waiting for more secure accommodation.

Government data obtained by The Big Issue shows 427 individuals — at most — had offered Afghan refugees a place to stay between last August and February 22. Almost 350 organisations had offered help in the same period.

“The numbers speak for themselves,” said Robina Qureshi, chief executive of Positive Action in Housing, which runs the community hosting network Room For Refugees. “The hostile environment rhetoric has succeeded in dehumanising refugees who are brown, Black, or Muslim, all filtered down courtesy of successive home secretaries who have promoted hate rhetoric against refugees from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yemen, helped by sections of the media.”

Read more: https://www.bigissue.com/news/social-justice/exclusive-fewer-than-500-people-in-the-uk-have-offered-to-help-find-homes-for-afghan-refugees

Updated 31 March 2022: MyLondon: STOPPED AGAIN!! Black man stopped and searched for wearing a coat stopped again a week later

The man says he feels “targeted” by police after the second incident in just six days

Read more: https://www.mylondon.news/news/south-london-news/black-man-stopped-searched-wearing-23530922

from 26 March 2022: Independent: Black man stopped by Met Police ‘for wearing coat during warm weather’

‘You’re not dressed for the climate,’ officers told the 20-year-old before searching him

A black man was stopped and searched by police officers in London for wearing a coat in hot weather.

Eric Boateng-Taylor, who also goes by Carter Jr, was walking in Croydon on Wednesday on his way to work after a shopping trip when he was stopped by police, who accused him of not dressing appropriately for the climate.

Read more: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/black-man-stopped-warm-weather-police-b2044635.html

i Newspaper on Twitter: Tory MP Sir Bill Wiggin has called on PM to ensure the UK only accepts the “right” sort of refugees. “We want Ukrainians, we want Qataris, we don’t want people in rubber boats,” he said.

Evening Standard: Change or risk another Windrush scandal, Home Office is warned

The Home Office is at risk of another Windrush type scandal because of its “disappointing” progress in implementing key reforms to change its culture, the author of an official inquiry has warned.

Wendy Williams said Priti Patel’s department is at a “tipping point” as she highlighted a series of continuing weaknesses in its approach towards migrants and their descendants.

She emphasised in a “progress update” on a Windrush Lessons Learned Review, produced for the Home Secretary in 2020, that some advances have been made towards achieving the “profound cultural and systemic changes” to prevent a repeat of the injustices suffered by the Windrush generation.

But, she was “disappointed by the lack of tangible progress” in vital areas and that the Home Office was at “a tipping point” as a result.

Read more: https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/risk-another-windrush-scandal-home-office-priti-patel-warned-report-wendy-williams-b991640.html

Updated 28 March 2022: Metro: Only letting Ukrainian asylum seekers work ‘exposes racism in UK’s system’

As Britain told people fleeing Ukraine they could live and work in the UK for three years, asylum seekers from other war-torn countries were left thinking: ‘What about us?’.

Human rights campaigners and even Dominic Raab have spoken of the economic and societal benefits of letting people work while they await their applications for refugee status.

But it wasn’t until war broke out in Europe that the Government decided to let Ukrainians seek work straight away under its new sponsorship scheme.

Meanwhile people fleeing violence from countries like Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen can only work after waiting 12 months for their claim with the Home Office.

Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2022/03/27/only-letting-ukrainian-asylum-seekers-work-exposes-racism-in-uks-system-2-16341696

Updated 24 March 2022: Open Democracy: Revealed: 90% of Met officers disciplined for racism still work for force

Despite hundreds of complaints of racism towards colleagues over the past five years, only four officers lost their jobs

Just 5% of Metropolitan Police officers disciplined for racism towards fellow officers in recent years were sacked, openDemocracy can reveal.

Four officers of the 76 who had disciplinary proceedings for racism against their colleagues upheld were dismissed without notice between 2017 and 2021, Freedom of Information (FOI) requests reveal. Three further officers resigned or retired during this period after claims against them for racism were upheld.

It comes after the revelation that two officers who traumatised a Black teenage girl by strip-searching her at her school were only removed from front-line roles last week – two years after the horrifying event took place.

Read more: https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/metropolitan-police-officers-disciplined-racism-colleagues/

Updated 22 March 2022: Hansard: Metropolitan Police: Strip-search of Schoolgirl

Bell Ribeiro-Addy: They walked into her place of safety at the request of people who were meant to keep her safe, stripped her naked while she was on her period and forced her to remove her sanitary towel, spread her legs, part her buttock cheeks and cough, to look for drugs they never found. We should remember that this comes on top of a string of incidents, from the abuse and strip-search of Dr Duff, the rapist and murderer Wayne Couzens, the vile racism and misogyny uncovered in Charing Cross police station, the brutal handling of the vigil in Clapham Common, and the record low confidence in policing, particularly by minority communities, who are evidenced as being over-policed as citizens and under-policed as victims.

Does the Minister understand that there is no apology that could atone for the perverse racist degradation of this child? Does the Minister accept that this is not an isolated incident—that between 2016 and 2021 the Met carried out over 9,000 strip-searches on children, some Toggle showing location ofColumn 26younger than 12, and that over 33% of all strip-searches were carried out on black people, despite only 13% of Londoners being black? Given that this happened in a school, what discussions has his Department had with the Department for Education on this serious breach of safeguarding and the questionable presence of police officers in our schools? Will he finally accept that the Met police have an issue with institutional racism and misogyny and take steps to ensure that any new commissioner is committed to rooting it out?

The Minister may be aware that during the statement on the commission on race and ethnic disparities last week, the Minister for Equalities said:

“We have systems in place to ensure that when things go wrong we can right them. What we cannot do is stop any bad thing happening to anyone in the country at any time.”—[Official Report, 17 March 2022; Vol. 710, c. 1075.]

I have to ask: what on earth are this Government here for? I simply do not accept that. Finally, in the words of Child Q herself:

“I need to know that the people who have done this to me can’t do it to anyone else ever again”.

Can the Minister assure Child Q and our constituents of that?


Diane Abbott: Does the Minister appreciate how angry people up and down the country are about this incident, particularly people in Hackney? We had a very big demonstration outside Hackney town hall—it was a completely peaceful one, but people were just consumed with unhappiness and anger and fear. It is not just parents of colour; all parents are thinking, “This could have been my daughter.” Is the Minister aware of how traumatised that young woman still is by the incident, and is he aware that it took the police two full years to apologise? What is he going to do? He is telling us about inquiries, but what is he going to do so that at the very least, the instructions and guidelines to the police are much clearer than they currently appear to be?

Read more: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2022-03-21/debates/22032115000001/MetropolitanPoliceStrip-SearchOfSchoolgirl

Updated 20 March 2022: BBC: Child Q: Hackney march over strip-searched girl

Hundreds of protesters have marched through north London in support of a black pupil strip-searched at school after being wrongly suspected of carrying drugs.

A report released this month found the search of the 15-year-old girl, known as Child Q, was unjustified and racism was “likely” to have been a factor.

Activists marched chanting “power to black girl Child Q” and carried banners saying “protect black kids”.

The Met Police has apologised.

The girl’s family is suing her school and the force, which said its officers’ actions “should never have happened”.

Speaking via her lawyers, the girl said she wanted “cast-iron commitments to ensure this never happens again” and thanked supporters.

Protesters marched from Stoke Newington Police Station to Hackney Town Hall with placards saying “no to racist police” and “hands off our children”, while chanting “love for Child Q”.

Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-60807681

Updated 19 March 2022: UN: International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, 21 March


Voices for action against racism

The 2022 edition of the International Day focuses on the theme “VOICES FOR ACTION AGAINST RACISM”. This edition aims, in particular, at: highlighting the importance of strengthening meaningful and safe public participation and representation in all areas of decision-making to prevent and combat racial discrimination; reaffirming the importance of full respect for the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and of protecting civic space; and recognizing the contribution of individuals and organizations that stand up against racial discrimination and the challenges they face.

This simple message can be a powerful vehicle to encourage people everywhere to strengthen and consolidate their voices against racism, to mobilise against all forms and manifestations of racial discrimination and injustice, and to ensure a safe environment for those who speak up. It lends itself towards telling personal interest stories and can feature people and populations from across the world.

StatusNow4All in London
WAST in London

This theme draws also inspiration on the High Commissioner’s report on racial justice and the Agenda Towards Transformative Change for Racial Justice and Equality: “LISTEN UP: Ensure that people of African descent and those who stand up against racism are protected and heard, and their concerns are acted on”.

Principle of equality

The United Nations General Assembly reiterates that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and have the potential to contribute constructively to the development and well-being of their societies. In its most recent resolution, the General Assembly also emphasized that any doctrine of racial superiority is scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust and dangerous and must be rejected, together with theories that attempt to determine the existence of separate human races.

The United Nations has been concerned with this issue since its foundation and the prohibition of racial discrimination is enshrined in all core international human rights instruments. It places obligations on States and tasks them with eradicating discrimination in the public and private spheres. The principle of equality also requires States to adopt special measures to eliminate conditions that cause or help to perpetuate racial discrimination.

Read more: https://www.un.org/en/observances/end-racism-day

Updated 16 March 2022: Guardian: ‘Pervasive’ inequality derailing black UK chemists’ careers, report finds

Royal Society of Chemistry says black and minority ethic chemists paid less and less likely to get research funding

Black and minority ethnic chemists face “pervasive” inequalities that restrict their access to research funding and derail their academic careers, according to a new report by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

The report found that while black students were well represented at undergraduate level, very few were able to develop academic careers, with only one black professor of chemistry of the 575 professors working in UK universities.

Prof Robert Mokaya, of the University of Nottingham, said he was not aware he was the only black professor of chemistry when he was appointed nearly 15 years ago. “It only became clear to me as I didn’t interact with any others,” he said.

He said for many students, progressing on a career path from postgraduate degree to research fellowship to a first lectureship required support as well as ability. “Unless somebody has got support from the community around them, it can be very difficult – you need references and you need people to talk about your abilities,” he said. “If those who are able to offer that support do not feel inclined to offer it, then it can disadvantage some groups.

“Or some people are not seen as having the potential for that career path and are not given a push. It then becomes very discouraging and difficult to move on.”

The Royal Society of Chemistry’s report, Missing Elements, found that black and minority ethnic chemists were paid less than their white peers, and were less likely to receive research funding at crucial points in their careers.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2022/mar/16/pervasive-inequality-derailing-black-uk-chemists-careers-report-finds

Guardian: Racism cited as factor in police strip search of girl, 15, at London school

Black child’s ordeal, which involved exposure of intimate body parts, took place without parental consent, review finds

  • Warning: this article includes graphic content

A black child was subjected by police to a strip search at her London school that involved exposure of intimate body parts, according to an official investigation which found racism was likely to have been an “influencing factor” in the officers’ actions.

No appropriate adult was present during the 15-year-old girl’s ordeal, described by a senior local authority figure as “humiliating, traumatising and utterly shocking” and which took place without parental consent and in the knowledge that she was menstruating.

Details of her treatment in her secondary school’s medical room have emerged in a child safeguarding review initiated by Hackney council after the incident in December 2020.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/mar/15/black-girl-racism-police-strip-search-london-school-hackney

The Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review Child Q report is here: https://chscp.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Child-Q-PUBLISHED-14-March-22.pdf

Updated 11 March 2022: from SNN signatory Kanlungan: The Nursing Narratives:

Listen to the brave workers nurses who spoke out against racism and discrimination.

The Nursing Narratives project gathered the experiences of more than 350 health workers from Black, Asian and Arab ethnic backgrounds. It was found that all had experienced multiple types of racism during their careers.

Kanlungan is one of the grassroots migrants organisation involved in this report.“This study clearly shows despite the series of initiatives to address inequalities, the culture of the NHS fundamentally remains systemically racist”

Shockingly, those behind the research stated that: “The impact of racism not only killed Black and Brown staff, but has traumatised many, both before and during the pandemic.” In their research report, the authors noted that they had “adopted the terms Black and Brown to recognise the continued impact of colour-based racisms despite the intersection of discriminations based on other markers of ethnicity”.

Watch the Nursing Narratives film: Exposed: https://youtu.be/nesEPY9HXAM

To read the report: https://nursingnarratives.files.wordpress.com/…/nn…

Updated 10 March 2022: Migrant Voice: War of words

Words heal, explain, inform, enlighten. They can also hurt, muddle, mislead, misinform. And as reactions to the 2 million – and still rising – Ukrainian refugees show, they can reveal.

Many responses have been heartwarming and helpful: scores of Germans holding placards offering rooms in their homes to people they’ve never met; Poland taking in 1.2 million refugees by 8 March backed up by small cash payments for each newcomer from a specially created £1.3 billion fund. 

Others have been slow, confused, and ill-considered. Sadly, the British Government has been among the laggards, displaying a mindset shaped by years of “hostile environment” policies – though the public has already donated £100 million. 

A few responses around the world have been outright disgusting: like the leaked messages from a Brazilian MP on a humanitarian visit who made grossly inappropriate remarks about Ukrainian women. 

Outright misogyny, racism and hate need to be challenged and condemned, of course. But we also need to call out subtler expressions of prejudice.

It is striking, for example, how many White commentators, pundits, journalists and politicians have made a point of viewing – and treating – fleeing Ukrainians as worthy of help because they are “like us”.

In the words of the Bulgarian Prime Minister: “These people are Europeans. … These people are intelligent, they are educated people. … This is not the refugee wave we have been used to…”

Similarly, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that one doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to see the difference between “masses arriving from Muslim regions in hope of a better life in Europe” and helping Ukrainian refugees who have come to Hungary because of the war.

Such comments reveal more about the speaker than the people spoken about. They set the parameters and tone for debate about refugees and migrants, they prepare the ground for actions and policies based not on shared humanity but on perceived (and absurd) differences between intelligent, educated White people and ignorant, blinkered Others.

In Britain, there’s another “gap”, between acceptable West Europeans and less acceptable East Europeans. Praising Home Secretary Priti Patel for refusing to offer asylum to all Ukrainians fleeing war, an MP told Parliament that his constituents had already “done our bit in terms of migration from eastern Europe”.

Read more: https://www.migrantvoice.org/home/editorials/war-of-words-090322160733

5 March 2022: See here for examples of racism on the Ukraine border: https://statusnow4all.org/eu-borders-and-beyond/

Updated 20 February 2022: Guardian: Home Office immigration contractor failed to investigate racist staff messages

Mitie admits failure to ‘escalate’ whistleblower complaints made two years ago about racist WhatsApp group posts

The Home Office is investigating allegations of racist WhatsApp messages sent by immigration staff, as the contracting firm Mitie admitted that they received complaints two years ago but failed to “escalate them”.

The messages by workers for Mitie, revealed by the Sunday Mirror, include derogatory references to Chinese people and the mocking of the Syrian refugee crisis.

Mitie told the newspaper: “As soon as we were made aware we commenced an investigation, which is ongoing. We have suspended those about whom complaints have been made, pending the investigation outcome.”

However, Mitie later told the Guardian: “It has been brought to our attention that an allegation was previously raised but was not escalated in line with internal procedures. This is not acceptable and we are sharing details of our whistleblowing policy with all colleagues and reminding our mangers of their responsibilities to take any such allegations with the utmost seriousness.”

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/feb/20/home-office-immigration-contractor-failed-to-investigate-racist-staff-messages

Updated 17 February 2022: Herald Alba: Discrimination in Britain: immigrants

Discrimination in Britain has become a severe problem for minorities and immigrants. Britain is becoming a discriminatory society for minority ethnic groups and immigrants. Arbitrary extremism alongside the conservative Government’s unjust treatment has made the conditions difficult for immigrants.

Violation of UN immigration laws by the British government

UK government is breaking UN convention on racial discrimination due to ‘systemic racism’, a report claims. The report by the Runnymede Trust claims some government approaches to racial inequalities are making the conditions worse. A REPORT HAS CLAIMED THAT the UK government is breaching several articles of a UN convention on racial discrimination. According to research by the Runnymede Trust, racism is still “systemic” in England. The study shows that legislation, institutional practices, and customs harm ethnic minority groups. People from ethnically diverse backgrounds face inequalities across health, the criminal justice system, education, employment, immigration and politics (Sky News). Nationality and Borders Bill 

As it says in the UK Parliament, the Nationality and Borders Bill seek to achieve the below goals. 1) to increase the system’s fairness to protect better and support those in need of asylum. 2) to deter illegal entry into the United Kingdom, thereby breaking the business model of people smuggling networks and protecting the lives of those they endanger. 3) to remove those with no right to be in the UK more easily.

UK Borders Bill against UN human rights

Discrimination in Britain is increasing with the proposal of the UK Borders Bill. As it says in the UN News, UK Borders Bill increases risks of discrimination and human rights violations. Lawmakers are debating the Bill in the United Kingdom. The Bill increases the risk of discrimination and “serious human rights violations”. It breaches the country’s responsibilities under international law. 

According to UN Human Rights, the right to seek and enjoy asylum is a fundamental human right. If lawmakers pass the Bill, it can penalize asylum-seekers and refugees. It will violate the principle of non-punishment in international law. It will discriminate between asylum seekers, which is against international law. According to experts, the Government repeatedly wants to fight against trafficking and modern slavery. However, what the Government says does not match its action. The Government must ensure equal protection of the law for all victims of trafficking and modern slavery without discrimination.

Deprivation of citizenship

As it says in  GOV.UK, maintaining our national security and keeping the public safe are the Government’s top priorities. Deprivation of citizenship refers to removing someone’s British citizenship. The UK government uses Deprivation of citizenship against those who obtained citizenship by fraud. They also use it against the most dangerous people, such as terrorists, extremists and serious organized criminals. 

According to UN Human Rights, experts say “the Bill will increase the possibility of arbitrary Deprivation of citizenship. It has a troubled history rooted in racism and discrimination. The Bill increases the risks of discrimination and serious human rights violations, particularly against minorities, migrants, and refugees. 

Terrorism and Deprivation of citizenship

Deprivation of citizenship is a clear sign of discrimination in Britain. Terrorism is only an excuse for the British Government to deprive refugees of British citizenship. The British Government claims to stop terrorism by making complex rules against immigrants. Terrorism According to the Guardian, Matt Jukes said the vast majority of those plotting terrorist atrocities are British. They are British born or raised and not asylum seekers. Matt Jukes is the country’s most senior counter-terrorism officer. He is the head of counter-terrorism policing. 

Read more: https://heraldalba.com/2022/02/17/discrimination-in-britain-immigrants/

Updated 15 February 2022: Guardian: British BLM group closes down after police infiltration attempt

Swansea Black Lives Matter says covert police operations and far-right threats made supporters scared to join

A Black Lives Matter group in south Wales has closed down after revelations that a covert police unit attempted to recruit one of its members to be an informant.

The Swansea BLM group said it had decided to dissolve itself for a number of reasons, including the attempted recruitment by the police and threats to its members’ physical and mental safety from far-right activists.

Lowri Davies, one of the group’s main organisers, exposed a covert police operation to persuade her to become an informant last year by secretly recording the approach. It was the first public evidence that the police have sought to enlist a mole within the Black Lives Matter movement in the UK.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/feb/15/swansea-black-lives-matter-british-blm-group-closes-down-after-police-infiltration-attempt

BBC: Met Police: Some officers are racist, professional standards chief admits

A senior officer has admitted racism remains a problem in the Met Police, after two black colleagues told the BBC that discrimination was getting worse.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Bas Javid told BBC Two’s Newsnight some officers “have racist views and are racist”.

But he denied the Met was a “racist organisation”.

One officer said a supervisor called him a racist slur, while another said senior leaders suggested black people were not clever enough for the Met.

Mr Javid, who is the brother of Health Secretary Sajid Javid, said he was “extremely disappointed” to hear the allegations from the black officers – which include claims that the Met is failing to deal with complaints of racism and putting pressure on victims.

He said: “The fact that you’ve had officers or staff come to you to make allegations, what I’d like to see is an organisation where people feel comfortable to come forward and report it so we can deal with it effectively.”

The culture of London’s Metropolitan Police force has come under close scrutiny, with Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick resigning after London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was not satisfied with her response to the scale of the cultural change required.

Among his concerns were the rape and murder of Sarah Everard by a serving officer last year, and a report into abusive behaviour at Charing Cross police station published earlier this month.

It found that between 2016 and 2018, officers shared messages that were highly sexualised, violent and discriminatory against women, ethnic minorities, LGBT people and disabled people – which they defended as “banter”.

The two black officers interviewed by BBC Newsnight said there needed to be changes among the Met’s senior leadership to root out racism and misogyny.

One said some senior leaders refused to admit there were issues with discrimination, while the other suggested the next commissioner should be recruited from outside the force.

Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-60379131

Updated 2 February 2022: BBC: Rastafarian woman humiliated by police strip order

The case of a Rastafarian woman who was sat naked in a police cell shows officers need greater understanding of minority groups, ex-senior officers have said.

Yvonne Farrell said she was humiliated after sitting naked in a cell for three hours following her arrest by Hertfordshire Police. She successfully sued for wrongful arrest, receiving an apology and £45,000 in compensation.

[…] Ms Farrell was arrested after she sat on her partner’s car in Stevenage when a tow truck arrived to take it away in August 2018. When she refused to give her name at the police station, she was taken to a cell where a CCTV camera monitors the detainee at all times.

She was asked to remove her clothing, with a replacement “crop top and hot pants” left in the cell.

[…] Hertfordshire Police’s professional standards department initially rejected Ms Farrell’s complaint. She then enlisted the help of solicitor Iain Gould, who specialises in claims against the police.

[…] Mr Gould said he frequently encountered instances of police misusing strip-search powers, because many of his clients entered custody following alleged unlawful arrests and disputed the need to provide personal details as a form of protest.

“In response to this, the police often use the sanction of a strip-search to enforce the person’s compliance through a very physical act of degradation and humiliation,” he said. “In my opinion, it is a low-level form of torture, deliberately implemented in many cases, not to safeguard a detainee’s welfare, but to break their spirit.”

Ms Farrell has now moved to the Caribbean due to this experience.

Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-60158879

BBC: The NHS is “riddled with racism”, the chair of the British Medical Association’s council has told the BBC.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul has spoken out in response to a survey by the BMA, shared exclusively with BBC News.

At least 75% of ethnic minority doctors experienced racism more than once in the last two years, while 17.4% said they regularly faced racism at work, the survey said.

NHS England said it takes a “zero-tolerance approach” to racism.

Racism affects patients as well as doctors’ wellbeing, by stopping talented people from progressing fairly and affecting doctors’ mental health, Dr Nagpaul warned.

“This is about a moral right for anyone who works for the NHS to be treated fairly,” he told the BBC.

More than 2,000 people took part in the online survey, which was open to all UK doctors in medical workplaces.

Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-60208523

Updated 23 January 2022: Guardian: Eighty years late: groundbreaking work on slave economy is finally published in UK

Seminal work by scholar and future politician Eric Williams, shunned for decades, is issued by mainstream imprint

In 1938, a brilliant young Black scholar at Oxford University wrote a thesis on the economic history of British empire and challenged a claim about slavery that had been defining Britain’s role in the world for more than a century.

But when Eric Williams – who would later become the first prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago – sought to publish his “mind-blowing” thesis on capitalism and slavery in Britain, he was shunned by publishers and accused of undermining the humanitarian motivation for Britain’s Slavery Abolition Act.

Now, 84 years after his work was rejected in the UK, and 78 years after it was first published in America, where it became a highly influential anti-colonial text, Williams’s book, Capitalism and Slavery, will finally be published in Britain by a mainstream British publisher.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/23/eighty-years-late-groundbreaking-work-on-slave-economy-is-finally-published-in-uk

Updated 15 January 2022: Criminal Justice Alliance: How the PCSC Bill will deepen racial inequality in the criminal justice system

Since the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill was first introduced into Parliament in March, charities, GPs, social workers, nurses, teachers and members of the general public have sounded the alarm over its impact on minority groups. […]

Our concerns

The Bill will enable courts to hand Serious Violence Reduction Orders (SVROs) to individuals, allowing police to stop and search them without any need to suspect they’ve committed another crime. Worryingly, an SVRO could be imposed on someone without any evidence they ever handled a weapon. The government has admitted that the power could be ineffective as searches will not be based upon recent intelligence.

It’s also likely to be used disproportionately on Black, Asian and minority ethnic people, damaging already fraught trust in policing. Young people we spoke to are concerned that SVROs will label and stigmatise then, making it harder for them to move away from crime.

The Bill introduces measures which will disrupt the lives of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities, such as criminalising trespass and giving police powers to move people on from unauthorised encampments. This ignores the fact that there aren’t enough authorised sites for GRT people to live on. Most police forces said in a government consultation that they oppose criminalising trespass and instead called for more authorised sites.

The Bill also introduces a range of measures to toughen sentences. The government admits in equality assessments that these changes will disproportionately impact Black, Asian and minority ethnic people, yet justifies this by saying they will protect the public. However, tucked away at the end of a dense, official document, the government concedes there is limited evidence the Bill will reduce crime. Instead, the measures risk being counterproductive, increasing the prison population and reducing already limited resources for rehabilitation. The Bill will also mean people spend more time in custody and less time being supervised by probation in the community. We are concerned this will impact rehabilitation and resettlement.

Agenda and the Alliance for Youth Justice recently highlighted that measures to increase sentences for assaults on emergency workers risk drawing more Black, Asian and minority ethnic girls in the criminal justice system. Many have experienced significant trauma in their lives, and this approach risks criminalising girls who are distressed and have unrecognised needs. Instead, Agenda and AYJ call for ‘investment in training for emergency workers to identify those in need and de-escalate situations in a trauma-informed way.’

Read more: https://www.criminaljusticealliance.org/blog/how-the-pcsc-bill-will-deepen-racial-inequality/

Mirror: Fury over Home Office job advert that calls migrants a ‘threat’ amid refugee crisis

The founder of charity Care4Calais has called the listing for the six-figure position of Home Office Head of Science and Technology ‘deeply offensive’

Charities have blasted a Home Office job advert calling Channel migrants a “threat”.

It emerged hours after a desperate refugee family was pictured carrying a young child to safety on a British beach.

The description was published online in the same week a man in his 20s died making the perilous journey and two months after 27 people, including five women and a young girl, drowned trying to start a new life in Britain.

The attack on migrants is in a listing on jobs site LinkedIn for a new Home Office Head of Science and Technology.

The role, understood to offer a six-figure salary, involves finding ways to stop migrants crossing the Channel.

It says: “The Head of Science and Technology is responsible for: Understanding the Threat”.

Clare Moseley, founder of British charity Care4Calais, stormed: “It is deeply offensive the Government thinks of people crossing as a ‘threat’, after the tragic deaths in the Channel.

“They are ordinary people who have done nothing more wrong than to be born in the wrong place. We have seen years of government spending millions on security to stop people crossing. Not once has it worked.

“It’s time to try something new A system to screen those eligible to make an asylum claim and transfer them safely to the UK would put people smugglers out of business and save lives.”

Read more: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/fury-over-home-office-job-25957089

Morning Star: The brutality of modern racism cannot be separated from its history

CLAUDIA WEBBE MP welcomes the acquittal of those who toppled the statue honouring the slaver Edward Colston, which sanitised the abhorrent violation of black Africans’ humanity

THE acquittal of the Colston Four, the protesters charged with criminal damage after anti-racist campaigners tore down a statue of slave-trader Edward Colston in Bristol, shines a light on the ongoing struggle for equality and justice and the enduring legacy of the transatlantic slave trade.

The abhorrent statue of a man responsible for the violent deaths, rape and enslavement of thousands of people was pulled down and thrown into Bristol’s harbourside during the largest mobilisation of anti-racist protest for decades.

The trigger for such protest was the brutal police killing of George Floyd in May 2020, in Minneapolis, that shook the world. In its wake came the international mobilisation of the Black Lives Matter movement, the demand for change and the march for justice.

Read more: https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/f/brutality-modern-racism-cannot-be-separated-its-history

10 January 2022: from our signatory organisation, Freedom United: Freedom United and partners call out the International Olympic Committee

The gloves are off!

Along with our partners at the Coalition to End Forced Labour in the Uyghur Region, Freedom United has reached the end of our rope with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after eight long months of attempting to initiate a respectful two-way dialogue.

Despite the IOC previously promising and failing to produce their human rights due diligence plan for the fast-approaching Beijing Winter Olympics and repeatedly publicly dismissing the concerns of Uyghurs and advocates in the name of “neutrality”, the Coalition has been overly patient with the organization.

In February and April 2021, the Coalition publicly requested a human rights due diligence plan from the IOC to no avail. The IOC is officially committed to “responsible sourcing” yet its uniform supplier, Anta Sports, points to other realities.

Read more: https://www.freedomunited.org/news/freedom-united-calls-out-ioc/

Metro: Racism stopped me from embracing my bilingualism – but no more

‘Go back to your own country!’ a woman shouted at my mum while we were in our local supermarket.

All she was doing was speaking Tagalog – a central Philippine language – on the phone to a family member.

It didn’t really phase my mum, as I’m sure she’s encountered stuff like this before. But for 12-year-old me, it was the first time I witnessed xenophobia aimed directly at a loved one.

It’s incidents like these that created a barrier in me fully embracing such a wonderful language – and my culture in general.

Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2022/01/09/racism-stopped-me-from-embracing-my-bilingualism-but-no-more-15828518/

9 January 2021: Guardian: Exclusive: many resettled Guantánamo detainees in legal limbo, analysis shows

One-third of former prisoners sent to third countries are lacking legal status – unable to work or travel and at risk of human rights abuses

About 30% of former Guantánamo detainees who were resettled in third countries have not been granted legal status, according to new analysis shared exclusively with the Guardian, leaving them vulnerable to deportation and restricting their ability to rebuild their lives.

Of the hundreds of men released from Guantánamo since the prison first opened 20 years ago, about 150 were sent to third countries in bilateral agreements brokered by the US, because their home countries were considered dangerous to return to.

Publicly, the US committed to transferring them in a humane way that would ensure rehabilitation after years of incarceration – and, in many cases, torture – without charge. But many remain in legal limbo, unable to work or reunite with their families, and have been subject to years of detention. Others have been forcibly returned to dangerous conditions.

The new data was produced by the human rights organization Reprieve, which assists former detainees, and illustrates how the lawlessness that has marked the prison from the beginning can follow men years after their release. The analysis indicates that approximately 45 men have not been given residency documents upon resettlement.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jan/09/guantanamo-resettled-no-legal-status

5 January 2022: Guardian: BLM protesters cleared over toppling of Edward Colston statue

Rhian Graham, Milo Ponsford, Sage Willoughby and Jake Skuse found not guilty over act of public dissent during Bristol protest

Three men and a woman have been found not guilty of criminal damage after toppling the statue of the slave trader Edward Colston during a Black Lives Matter protest in Bristol, an act of public dissent that reverberated around the world.

Rhian Graham, 30, Milo Ponsford, 26, and Sage Willoughby, 22, were accused, with “others unknown”, of helping to tie ropes around the statue’s neck and joining with others to pull it to the ground.

Jake Skuse, 33, was accused of helping to roll it to Bristol harbour where it was thrown into the River Avon.

In a 10-day trial at Bristol crown court, the four defendants did not contest their actions on 7 June 2020 but sought to argue they were justified, because the statue was so offensive.

[…] The Colston statue was approved by the council in 1895 and it had not given permission to anyone to alter, damage or remove the statue on 7 June, the trial heard.

[…] Judge Peter Blair QC, the recorder of Bristol, allowed expert evidence from David Olusoga despite past comments by the historian and broadcaster that he “desperately” wanted to join protesters that day, which were raised as a sign of potential bias by the prosecution.

Olusoga described to the court the horrors of the slave trade, from “rape rooms” in slaver fortresses on the African coast to grotesque punishments meted out to rebellious slaves. Colston was “chief executive officer” of a company that branded children as young as nine, and which was eventually responsible for enslaving more Africans than any other in British history, Olusoga said.

The court heard from black Bristolians including a former lord mayor of the city, Cleo Lake, who had removed a portrait of Colston from her office. “He was the person responsible for brutalising my ancestors, taking away their humanity; and for me and my community experiencing the harm they still experience today,” Lake said.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/jan/05/four-cleared-of-toppling-edward-colston-statute

2 January 2021: Guardian: For Labour and the Conservatives, racism is really all about reputation management

[…] On ethnic minority matters, there is far more continuity between the Labour party and the Conservatives than there are material differences. Both parties share a notion that matters of race are merely a government liability and not something for which the government should take direct responsibility. Last year, that notion was manifest in the shape of the widely discredited report by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities chaired by Tony Sewell.

The denial and dishonesty in that document about the extent of the country’s institutional racism was just one step away from Blair’s timidity in front of the rightwing gallery. He passively did not want to upset the Telegraph and its reactionary contingent; today’s Tories actively want to please it. But what Labour and Tory leaderships have both exhibited is deference to a status quo that preserves racial hierarchies and refuses by default to acknowledge any criticism that might challenge Britain’s moral sense of self.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jan/02/labour-conservatives-racism-stephen-lawrence-inquiry-rightwing-press

Updated 30 December 2021: BBC: Africa Cup of Nations: Tournament is being ‘disrespected’, says former England striker Ian Wright

The Africa Cup of Nations is being “disrespected” by some negative media coverage, says former England and Arsenal striker Ian Wright.

The 24-team competition begins on 9 January and will feature a host of Premier League and European stars.

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira is among those to also call for the tournament to be given more respect.

“Is there ever a tournament more disrespected than the Africa Cup of Nations?” Wright said on Instagram.

On the media coverage around Afcon he claimed: “There is no greater honour than representing your country. The coverage is completely tinged with racism.

“We played our Euros across 10 countries in the middle of a pandemic and there’s no issue at all. But Cameroon, a single country hosting a tournament, is a problem.

“There are players getting asked if they will be honouring the call-ups to their national teams. Imagine if that was an England player representing the Three Lions. Can you imagine the furore?”

Former Newcastle, Tottenham and Norwich defender Sebastien Bassong, who won 18 caps for Cameroon, says he recognises the double standard.

Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/59825904

From 2 April 2020 Huffington Post: Four Migrant NHS Doctors Are Dead. Can We Please Stop Turning Migrants Into Villains?

Tens of thousands of migrants are putting their lives in harm’s way to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic, writes Cryton Chikoko.

Dr Alfa Saadu, Dr Habib Zaidi, Dr Adil El Tayar and Dr Amged El-Hawrani. These are the first NHS doctors to die from Covid-19 — we can but hope they will be the last. Like most NHS staff, the four doctors selflessly put themselves at risk to save the sick. Unfortunately, they have paid with their lives.

All four were of a minority race. There’s been some media coverage of their deaths, which is only right, but there is little mention of their migrant backgrounds. I don’t have a problem with that: people’s backgrounds, race or colour shouldn’t factor into the coverage. All people are equal. What troubles me, though, is that ethnicity and immigration status always take centre stage when a migrant commits a crime or does something wrong. ‘Man is hacked to death by his Syrian migrant ex-flatmate’, or ‘Afghan migrant stabbed ex-girlfriend to death’ — such headlines are common. This is often the same case as well with Muslims, and the four medics who died were Muslim, yet there has been little mention of that either.

Read more: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/coronavirus-nhs-doctors-migrants-racism_uk_5e85ae33c5b6f55ebf485759

29 December 2021: iNews: Raheem Sterling says racism in football is dealt with in the moment then ‘brushed under the carpet’

The Manchester City and England player has spoken out about the racist abuse he has faced on and off the pitch

Incidents of racism in football and wider society are addressed at the time but later brushed under the carpet, Raheem Sterling has said.

While guest editing an episode of BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, the England and Manchester City player spoke to presenter Nick Robinson and England manager Gareth Southgate about dealing with racism on and off the pitch.

Aside from his successful career as a footballer, the 27-year-old is known for his courage in calling out racism, including the high profile incidents he has faced.

He said: “I think a lot of the times when racism comes up or something has happened, a lot of time in football and the majority of society, we tend to address it for that five days or that week, and then we normally brush it up under the carpet and ‘things are all fine now’ and when the next scenario happens, that’s when we go again.”

Sterling said players want to keep highlighting the issue, whether that be by using their platforms to speak out about it or by taking the knee at the start of matches.

The England team made the decision to take the knee before all their games throughout the Euro 2020 tournament.

But the anti-racism gesture has drawn criticism and attracted boos and abuse from both domestic and international fans.

Despite the negative reactions, players have continued to take the knee as part of their visible opposition to racism.

Sterling said: “There’s been times that we’ve sat down and said, ‘is the message still powerful?’ And we’ve said yes and as a group and a collective, we’ve tried to keep that going.”

Read more: https://inews.co.uk/news/raheem-sterling-racism-football-dealth-with-brushed-under-carpet-1373804

28 December 2021 Glasgow Live: Glasgow Kenmure Street protest named among world demonstrations that ‘made a difference’ in 2021

The protest, which took place back in May, features on a new list alongside protests across the world, including Malaysia, Brazil, Burkina Faso and Colombia this year.

Glasgow’s Kenmure Street protest has made it onto a list of the top 10 protests across the globe ‘you may have missed that made a difference in 2021’.

The protest saw hundreds of locals and protestors join forces to halt an attempt by the Home Office to detain two Sikh men of Indian origin following a ‘dawn raid’ at a property on the street.

Regarded as’ one of the biggest demonstrations of civic defiance seen in the UK in recent history’ by Third Sector, it made headlines around the world back in May this year.

The two men – Lakhvir Singh and Sumit Sehdev – were successfully released after being held in a van by enforcement personnel for more than eight hours amid a stand-off between protestors and police on the Pollokshields street.

And amid a sea of goodwill directed at those who helped block the van that poured in from all corners of the earth after the story went viral, one person in particular who lay under the UK Border Force van to prevent it from moving – affectionately dubbed ‘van man’ – even found himself immortalised in song.

Read more: https://www.glasgowlive.co.uk/news/glasgow-news/glasgow-kenmure-street-protest-named-22578458

18 December 2021 Independent: ‘The most racist legislation in my lifetime’: Protest at Nationality and Borders Bill reaches Downing Street

Taiwo Owatemi, the shadow equalities minister, told The Independent that allowing the Home Office to remove citizenship without any warning or notice, given the Windrush scandal, is “very alarming” for millions of dual-nationality citizens.

“The Nationality and Borders Bill is a sham. Its tough-sounding measures are unworkable and it breaks key international humanitarian conventions,” she said.

“The new draconian powers to deprive a person of their British citizenship without any warning are deeply worrying – particularly in light of the Windrush scandal in which this Conservative government oversaw the wrongful detainment, deportation and denial of legal rights to British citizens with every right to live in the UK.about:blankjavascript:void(0)javascript:void(0)✕javascript:void(0)

“Once again it is black, Asian and ethnic minority people who look to be hit hardest by a Conservative government which denies that structural racism even exists. 

Read more: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/protest-nationality-borders-bill-b1978675.html

7 January: Clackton & Frinton Gazette: Ex-employee had no choice but to carry out ‘racist instructions’, tribunal told By Press Association 2021 

A former employee of a litter enforcement contractor has claimed “he had no choice” but to comply with the “racist” instructions of his bosses.

Gary Forrester, 39, told an employment tribunal the “dog-eat-dog” nature of the business meant staff targeted ethnic minorities with fixed penalty notices (FPNs) as they were less likely to challenge them.

The former team manager, who was usually stationed in the London borough of Barnet, said that on one occasion Waltham Forest was “flooded” with officers as Kingdom had not enforced enough penalties there.

Read more: https://www.clactonandfrintongazette.co.uk/news/19833075.ex-employee-no-choice-carry-racist-instructions-tribunal-told/

16 December 2021: Guardian: Windrush: high court rules claimants’ human rights breached by Home Office

Minister could have applied discretion when considering citizenship applications, says judge

Members of the Windrush generation had their human rights breached when the Home Office refused to grant them citizenship, the high court has ruled.

Eunice Tumi and Vernon Vanriel were refused citizenship after being told by the home secretary they did not fulfil the residence requirement of having been in the UK on the date five years before they made the application for citizenship, the court heard.

The only reason they could not fulfil this requirement was because the home secretary had unlawfully prevented them from coming back to the UK earlier, the court heard.

They were only granted indefinite leave to remain after the the Windrush scandal, when it emerged that those who arrived in the UK from Caribbean countries from 1948 onwards, as well as their children, were wrongly targeted by the government’s “hostile environment” policies designed to deter illegal immigrants.

Both were subsequently denied British citizenship when they applied for it under the Windrush scheme.

But on Thursday, Mr Justice Bourne ruled that the home secretary had discretion about applying the five-year rule when considering citizenship applications. The ruling is likely to have a significant impact for other members of the Windrush generation in similar situations.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/dec/16/windrush-high-court-rules-claimants-human-rights-breached-by-home-office