Thursday, 2 February 2023 — Institute of Race Relations
This week, tough new rules came into force under the Nationality and Borders Act, potentially denying ‘foreign criminals’ sentenced to over 12 months access to modern slavery protections. At the same time, amendments made to the online safety bill will, if passed, lead to the criminalisation of social media companies that show online videos of Channel crossings in a ‘positive light’. But when it comes to the ‘hostile environment’, it’s not just primary legislation we should be concerned about. As we report in this week’s calendar of racism and resistance, the hostile environment also grows through incremental measures, Kafkaesque bureaucracy, and other dubious practices, both official and unofficial. A new Home Office taskforce is set up to intensify controls and checks in banks, schools and the NHS. Yet this government department is unable to provide basic safeguards for asylum-seeking children, with hundreds disappearing from Home Office hotels. It is only thanks to the vigilance of journalists and campaigners that this has come to light. Thanks to them we know about other practices and acts of institutional neglect that are taking place under the radar, such as the failure to communicate successful asylum decisions to those living in Home Office hotel accommodation, or to provide medical and vaccine records to Tower Hamlets GPs seeking to provide care for asylum seekers dispersed from Manston.
If, as Desmond Tutu once said, ‘the price of freedom is eternal vigilance’, campaigners in the north of Ireland have shown they are alert to immediate dangers, mobilising this time against more primary legislation currently going through the UK parliament. The Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill, if passed, will stop virtually all further conflict-related criminal and civil cases, inquests and independent investigations. Professor Mark McGovern provides a timely analysis of ‘Legacy, truth and collusion in the North of Ireland’, in the current Race & Class. It should be read alongside Frances Webber’s earlier analysis of the Overseas Operations Act 2021 and Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Act 2021.
IRR News team
A fortnightly resource for anti-racist and social justice campaigns, highlighting key events in the UK and Europe. Calendar of Racism & Resistan
In this week’s Calendar, refugee & children’s charities call the 200 children missing from Home office hotels a ‘child protection scandal’, again showing this government department is unable to provide basic safeguards for asylum-seeking children.
At the same time, tough new rules come into force under the Nationality and Borders Act, potentially denying ‘foreign criminals’ sentenced to over 12 months access to modern slavery protections. Meanwhile, amendments made to the online safety bill will, if passed, lead to the criminalisation of social media companies that show online videos of Channel crossings in a ‘positive light’.
Find these stories and thousands more on our Register of Racism and Resistance database.
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Order the latest Race & Class from our website Breaking the ‘colour bar’: the stories of Pearl Prescod and Len Johnson
The January 2023 issue of Race & Class contains two key articles tracing the life, work and activism of Len Johnson in the 1940s and ’50s and Pearl Prescod in the 1950s and ’60s. They are pulled from the historical margins and recentred as radical agents of history that changed the shape of British society. Read the press release, check out the twitter thread and order your copy from the IRR website.
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