UKREN blog

Ratna Lachman, racial justice leader

Monday 24 July 2017
Category: General
Posted by: admin

Ratna Lachman, racial justice leader, Director of JUST and a Triustee of UKREN, sadly passed away on 23 July. This is my personal piece about her.

Challenges faced by Roma victims of hate crime in the UK

Tuesday 27 June 2017
Category: General
Posted by: admin

On 1 July I was invited to speak at the EU High Level Group on combating racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance. I was specifically asked to address the challenges faced by Roma victims of hate crime in the UK. This is what I said

Is Restorative Justice a solution to the growing problem of hate crime?

Thursday 27 April 2017
Category: General
Posted by: admin

So what really is stopping us from testing and trialling Restorative Justice for victims and perpetrators of hate crime? This article makes the case for using Restorative Justice as a solution to hate crime.

Great Repeal Bill: #WTF

Wednesday 12 April 2017
Category: General
Posted by: admin

On 30 March 2017 the government published ‘The Great Repeal Bill: White Paper’, setting out its plans to legislate for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. It is probably quite an important document but is it only accessible to lawyers and other legal eagles? This blog will give an admittedly one sided and humorous view on what is in it, and what not, and what should be of concern to human rights and social justice NGOs in a world that is just too depressing at the moment.

The greatest stain on the UK’s human rights record?

Friday 24 March 2017
Category: General
Posted by: admin

Exactly fourteen months to the day that the Shaw Review into the Welfare in Detention of Vulnerable persons was published, Anne McLaughlin, SNP MP for Glasgow North East launched a Westminster debate that challenged not only the government’s failure to uphold the review, but the very existence of detention itself.

New lows in the 'hostile environment': charities round up EU national rough sleepers

Friday 10 March 2017
Category: General
Posted by: admin

Exposures on behalf of Corporate Watch this week have revealed the government’s “hostile environment” policy is penetrating public institutions at a rate that is no means short of terrifying.

Immigration controls, but at what cost?

Thursday 9 March 2017
Category: General
Posted by: admin

From reading Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech about the UK’s departure from the EU, it is quite clear that her government’s highest priority is to limit immigration

Walls and borders

Tuesday 7 March 2017
Category: General
Posted by: admin

Soon after being inaugurated as President, Donald Trump signed an executive order to start building a wall between Mexico and USA. There is an existing fence along most of the 2,000 mile border with some 17,000 US Border Protection officers patrolling it. But is as much the anti-migrant, xenophobic attitude and intentions that led to this presidential order as the physical barrier itself. A brief history of border and city wall building does not provide comfortable bed fellows nor successful examples for the president of America.

The Winter of Our Discontent: Snowflake & Hate Speech

Wednesday 22 February 2017
Category: General
Posted by: admin

With the recent resignation of Milo Yiannopoulos, the term ‘Snowflake’ is due a stark re-evaluation. As we already know, ‘Snowflake’ alongside ‘Brexit’ was in Collins Dictionary’s top ten words of 2016. Collins defined ‘Snowflake’ as “The young adults of the 2010s, viewed as being less resilient and more prone to taking offence than previous generations”.  It is a term that infiltrates our political commentary, to the extent that it would be no surprise if this article was branded as ‘Snowflake’ propaganda. As we move into 2017 what is the term snowflake snowballing into?

Farewell to Europe: A homage to Stefan Zweig

Friday 10 February 2017
Category: General
Posted by: admin

“Before 1914 the earth belonged to the entire human race. Everyone could go where he wanted and stay there as long as he liked. No permits, no visas, nothing to give you trouble; the borders that today, thanks to the pathological distrust felt by everyone for everyone else, are a tangled fence of red tape were then nothing but symbolic lines on the map, and you crossed them as unthinkingly as you can cross the meridian in Greenwich.”  Zweig

Never Again? Hate Speech & Holocaust Memorial Day 2017

Friday 27 January 2017
Category: General
Posted by: admin

Seventy-two years after the end of World War Two, now feels more important than ever to reflect upon the similarities between our society and that of the 1930s.  2016 was renowned as the year that shook the world and the liberal status quo. This year on Holocaust Memorial Day, can we truly say Never Again?

The Home Office’s Hidden Removals

Friday 27 January 2017
Category: General
Posted by: admin

Tomorrow marks the end of Movement for Justice’s fortnight campaign against mass Home Office deportations.  The campaign, which has instigated 25 protests outside embassies in the UK is a bold effort to pressure the Home Office to end the initiative to “Deport first, appeal later” stated clearly in the 2016 Immigration Bill. Al Jazeera reported between 2001 and 2014 nearly 30,000 were removed from the UK on charter flights. However the Home Office is utilizing an alternative method of deportation for EU nationals that seems to be entirely unreported by media: administrative removals.

 



A Global Britain?

Tuesday 24 January 2017
Category: General
Posted by: admin

Last week Theresa May made not only the most pivotal speech of her career, but what may be remembered as the most pivotal speech in Britain’s future. With the words “A Global Britain” emblazoned in front of her, May laid out her ambitions for a post-Brexit ‘Global Britain’ wherein immigration will be subject to greater control, whilst trade partnerships and investment will become a key priority.

Casey Review: Is this really about ‘opportunity and integration’?

Monday 12 December 2016
Category: General
Posted by: admin

Is the Casey Review a positive and progressive step along the road to social cohesion in the UK? Or is it just another 'pop' at Britain's Muslim communities and a missed opportunity? UKREN's Alan Anstead takes a look.

Labour can put race equality back on the political agenda

Thursday 1 December 2016
Category: General
Posted by: admin

The reports in August 2016 by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) which every five years reviews Britain’s record on race equality, and the major review of race equality by the EHRC highlighting growing racial inequality and rising hate crime since the EU referendum, is depressing reading.  Structural racism and social mobility are major issues in Britain.  Patrick Vernon writes about the Labour Party consultation on race equality and he invites and welcomes NGO input.

Listen to #UKRENspeaks: the podcast!

Friday 26 August 2016
Category: General
Posted by: admin

Our pilot 'summer holiday' episode of #UKRENspeaks explores race discrimination in the holiday rental market, the rights of EU mobile citizens post-Brexit, and more.

10 (end of) summer reads written by BAME women/women of colour

Tuesday 23 August 2016
Category: General
Posted by: admin

September is almost upon us, and the warm weather seems to be sticking around. We've put together 10 brilliant fiction novels written by Black/Asian/minority ethnic (BAME)/women of colour; perfect novels to get lost in on a sunny afternoon.

Hate crime policy: a change or business as usual?

Tuesday 16 August 2016
Category: General
Posted by: admin

One immediate outcome of the EU referendum result was a significant increase in incidents of hate crime, principally racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic hate incidents. The police state around 6,200 such incidents in England and Wales were reported to them in the month of July, over twice last year’s July figure. Even celebrities like the BBC’s Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain have said they have been subjected to racial abuse.

Zero hours, no relief: precarious work in Britain's capital

Thursday 28 July 2016
Category: General
Posted by: admin

Byron Hamburgers Limited’s decision to call staff into work under the guise of a training session, and to then promptly shop them all to the Home Office has been met with wide-reaching public outcry.

8 Things You (As An Ally) Can Do To Combat Racism And Xenophobia

Monday 18 July 2016
Category: General
Posted by: admin

Post-Brexit, many people, especially those who are less likely to be the targets of incidents of racism and xenophobia are asking: “what can I do to help?”.

PREVENT: A ‘chilling effect’ on free speech in schools

Thursday 14 July 2016
Category: General
Posted by: admin

Rights Watch UK’s new landmark report (‘Preventing Education’) sheds light on the disturbing impact of one pillar of the UK government’s ‘counter-terrorism’ policy: Prevent.

Brexit and potential human rights implications

Friday 8 July 2016
Category: General
Posted by: admin

A small majority of UK voters said that the UK should leave the EU in the referendum on 23 June. UKREN’s Alan Anstead looks at some of the main human rights implications of the UK government invoking article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and starting the countdown to leaving the EU.

10 articles about the #EURef that aren’t pale, male, and stale

Wednesday 22 June 2016
Category: General
Posted by: admin

In less than 24 hours time the polling stations will be open for business. For those who haven’t had their fill of referendum chatter, we’ve picked our 10 favourite articles about the EU Referendum, written by people of colour.

Exhibition: Call Me By My Name

Wednesday 15 June 2016
Category: General
Posted by: admin

This week, I visited the Migration Museum Project’s new exhibition in Shoreditch. The exhibition, which opened at the beginning of June is a vivid and captivating collection of artworks and artefacts from the ‘Jungle’ camp of Calais, and beyond.

There Will Be No Armageddon

Wednesday 8 June 2016
Category: General
Posted by: admin

On Thursday 2nd June, local BAME activists, and community and business leaders met in Leeds to debate “Brexit: Should We Stay or Should We Go?”.

Operation Nexus: Is it illegally forcing EU nationals out of the UK?

Wednesday 11 May 2016
Category: General
Posted by: admin

The insidious expansion of immigration enforcement activities into other areas of public life is becoming an increasing menace to the human and legal rights of many migrant communities. Operation Nexus is an example of what is going and we set out the reasons why its steady creep needs to be checked. 

There is no Utopia: a critical choice for referendum voters

Friday 22 April 2016
Category: General
Posted by: admin

The upcoming referendum poses a critical choice for voters. June 23rd offers a choice between two possible tactics: is reform or withdrawal the best way to achieve transnational democracy?

Playing at violence

Wednesday 30 March 2016
Category: General
Posted by: admin

I've recently found myself observing people taking small children to the cinema, whilst working from my laptop in a local cinema's cafe. Yesterday, a man brought his child into the cafe, and the child proceeded to run around brandishing a toy gun and pretending to shoot people.

#MakingaVideo: What does the EU mean to you?

Monday 21 March 2016
Category: General
Posted by: admin

Through making a short film for UKREN’s upcoming Whose Europe? panel event, I realised that my lack of patience is absolutely limitless.

#IWD2016: Women breaking borders

Wednesday 9 March 2016
Category: General
Posted by: admin

It’s fitting that as I sat down after work yesterday in front of my laptop- on International Women’s Day- and tried to cram in finishing this blog between a million other tasks and demands, I decided to give myself a break.

#EUDebateSoWhite?

Wednesday 27 January 2016
Category: General
Posted by: admin

A report published by The Runnymede Trust in December 2015 revealed that a large amount of Asian, Black and minority ethnic people still feel that “discussions about immigration are about them, but that their views on the topic are not effectively or proportionally represented in British public or policy debates about immigration”.

PREVENT: A Multi-Tentacled Kraken

Wednesday 13 January 2016
Category: General
Posted by: admin

‘Prevent’ is a  set of guidance embedded in the 2015 Counter-Terrorism and Security Act. More specifically, Prevent guidance assists key authorities in their newly legally-bound ‘duty’ to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”.

On border controls

Tuesday 29 December 2015
Category: General
Posted by: admin

I’m travelling over the Christmas and New Year break, and recently arrived in the Republic of Georgia.

Picture being a foreigner arriving at Heathrow Airport. Now picture Tbilisi airport in Georgia through my experience and be in for a surprise!

Does the popular media play a role in perpetuating hate ‘crime’?: myths, storms, and going viral

Monday 14 December 2015
Category: General
Posted by: admin

Two media mini-maelstroms stories in two months. The first- an obvious contender for discussion around misreporting and the perpetuation of ‘hate crime’, was The Sun’s front-page headline on November 23rd 2015, which declared that one in five ‘Brit Muslims’ had “sympathy for jihadis”.

What the Refugee Crisis Says about Race in Europe

Wednesday 28 October 2015
Category: General
Posted by: admin

While many Europeans have felt growing humanitarian concern on being confronted with images of desperation among refugees seeking entry, across the continent a large minority have suggested any sympathy is misplaced.

Alan on Alan: A picture is worth a thousand words

Monday 21 September 2015
Category: General
Posted by: admin

We had the same name, Alan. But apart from that our worlds were completely different. What the photograph of Alan’s lifeless body washed up on the Turkish beach did was to change public opinion about the biggest movement of refugees since the second world war, in a way that no media article, opinion piece or political speech had been able to do.

Integration starts with social inclusion

Friday 7 August 2015
Category: General
Posted by: admin

A personal blog on the meaning of integration and an example of integration starting from social inclusion from Slovakia's Roma and majority population. Yes, really. Read more

How the legacy of racism continues to make ‘others’ out of migrant people

Thursday 9 July 2015
Category: General
Posted by: admin

UKREN’s project worker, Anna De Mutiis, reflects on the ways in which Europe continues to reduce others to the status of de-humanised stereotypes and in doing so produce the tragedies which are now manifest on the Mediterranean and in Calais

European Network Against Racism - last year’s results and what next

Tuesday 7 July 2015
Category: General
Posted by: admin

ENAR held its General Assembly, attended by some 60 member organisations from across Europe at the end of June. 

The context for the meeting of an organisation that stands against racism and discrimination and works towards equality, solidarity and well-being for all in Europe, is a stark one. Yet against that backdrop, the ENAR secretariat and its members have influenced thinking on some significant issues.

Race equality, art and technology

Friday 1 May 2015
Category: General
Posted by: admin

Here at UKREN we have been testing different ways of engaging people, and in particular young people, about race equality and human rights in a European context. Mixing art, technology and powerful messages. Read on and let us know what you think about this approach...

Why Europe is important for race equality in the UK

Friday 10 April 2015
Category: General
Posted by: admin

The EU doesn’t normally move fast. Aspirations for legislation put forward by the European Commission can take years and years before they are even passed to the European Parliament and the European Council of Ministers (national government representation) for debate. But in 2000 a few things came together that saw a Race Equality Directive agreed by the European Parliament and passed unanimously by the Council of Ministers in record time. 

Addressing Roma inclusion must be a priority on International Roma Day

Wednesday 8 April 2015
Category: General
Posted by: admin

8 April is International Roma Day, in commemoration of the first World Romani Congress that was held in Orpington in 1971. Yet there is little to celebrate as many of the 10 to 12 million Roma people across Europe continue to be denied their basic human rights and to be the victims of racist attacks, widespread discrimination and hate speech. 

ENAR’s symposium on equality data collection in Europe on 26 November

Tuesday 23 December 2014
Category: General
Posted by: admin

On November 26th the European Network against Racism (ENAR) held a symposium to discuss the need for secure and reliable equality data across Europe.

The lack of relevant equality data across the EU means that non-discrimination policies and laws are not implemented as efficiently and cost-effectively as they could be if they were better targeted. 

Sinterklaas: racism or a cultural tradition in the Netherlands?

Friday 12 December 2014
Category: General
Posted by: alan

Blacking up in East London doesn’t go down so well, as Dutch filmmakers recently discovered. It is seen as racist. Yet in the Netherlands, lots of people do it every year as part of a traditional children’s party. Let me give you a little background to this peculiar specimen of festive racism.  

On racism

Thursday 27 November 2014
Category: General
Posted by: alan

It is becoming nearly impossible to avoid political debates about immigration. The question whether these debates are racist or not is also hotly disputed. But answering this question requires a clearer explanation of what racism is than is usually given by those engrossed in these debates.

Will the European Parliament take measures to combat racism?

Thursday 20 November 2014
Category: General
Posted by: admin

With one in ten Members of the European Parliament belonging to parties that promote racist or xenophobic policies, and hate speech becoming part of political discourse (42 incidents of hate speech recorded during the election campaign), NGOs led by the European Network Against Racism believe it is important that MEPs establish a forum to counter and combat racism.

 

 

The human rights of stop and search

Friday 14 November 2014
Category: General
Posted by: admin

At the Conservative Party conference last month Alexander Paul, an 18 year old student from Crystal Palace in London described how he had been stopped and searched by police more than 20 times since he was 13. He has never had a criminal record. Mr Paul is black, and he thinks that is why he is stopped so regularly.

The overuse and misuse of stop and search powers is a human rights abuse.

Crowding our schools and taking our houses

Thursday 30 October 2014
Category: General
Posted by: alan

Immigration is high on the agenda with the general elections coming up next year. In between heated debates about border patrols in the Mediterranean, Calais and EU membership, Sunder Katwala (British Future) recently emphasised that not all concerns about immigration are racist and called for more open discussion. So let’s discuss the effects of immigration on public services including schools, local councils and the NHS, and housing. 

The impact of cuts in the public sector on employment of Black and ethnic minorities in the UK

Wednesday 8 October 2014
Category: General
Posted by: admin

The politics of austerity in the UK were introduced in 2010 when the chancellor signalled his intention to make unprecedented cuts to government spending to the level of £83 Billion. The implications of this announcement were that over the next five years up to a million jobs would disappear from the public sector. A number of public sector unions were concerned that this level of cuts would have a disproportionate impact on Black and Minority Ethnic communities. Read more...

Rights, wot rights?

Friday 3 October 2014
Category: General
Posted by: admin

Probably to maintain unity during the Conservative party conference, it was only afterwards that the party published their plans for human rights reform in a document entitled ‘Protecting Human Rights in the UK’. The title is seriously misleading: its contents are about weakening human rights protection.

Read more....

The Road to Terror Leads Home

Friday 12 September 2014
Category: General
Posted by: admin

Since images of the gruesome beheading of the American journalist James Foley by his British executioner ‘Jihadi John’ were circulated around the world, the term ‘home-grown jihadis’ has entered the popular nomenclature, symbolizing public shock at the thought that British citizens are perpetrating human rights abuse abroad and concern that returning jihadis may represent an existential threat to British society. Read on....

Residence test found to be illegal

Thursday 28 August 2014
Category: General
Posted by: admin

The High Court found that a local authority, Sandwell Council in the West Midlands, acted unlawfully by having a prior residence requirement in deciding whether to apply a council tax rebate for those on low or no income. The judgment didn’t make the newspaper headlines, although the Guardian did write an article about it.

Some thoughts on this judgment's application. Read on....

What next after the European elections?

Thursday 12 June 2014
Category: General
Posted by: admin

Three weeks after the European Parliament elections, much analysis (and some speculation) has been undertaken by the news media, think tanks and political commentators. I went along to one such event organised by the the Policy Network with some influential speakers in Joaquin Almunia (Vice-President of the European Commission), Jeroen Dijsselbloem (Dutch Finance Minister and President of the Eurogroup), Gideon Rachman (FT) and others. Would I gain an insight into whether the shift in voting will have an impact on EU policy, particularly on race equality and immigration? Read on....

There is hope, despite the divisive anti-migrant political rhetoric

Thursday 1 May 2014
Category: General
Posted by: admin

Immigration is a big issue for all the political parties standing for the European Parliament elections in the UK. At the extreme right-wing end of the political spectrum you have the British National Party trying to defend its seat and the English Defence League trying to gain a seat, with a virulent racist rhetoric (you only have to look at the BNP leader’s Twitter feed @NickGriffinMEP to see racism alive and unchecked). Unfortunately most of the mainstream political parties have positioned themselves in favour of strong immigration controls.

Yet there is a counter movement gaining force.

European Citizens’ Dialogue - London - February 10th 2014

Monday 17 February 2014
Category: General
Posted by: admin

On Monday February 10th, I went to the 44th European Citizens' Dialogue at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, London. The Citizens' Dialogue is a series of events taking place across Europe in the lead-up to the European Parliament elections in May, hosted by both European Commissioners and national ministers.

What's in a word?

Tuesday 4 February 2014
Category: General
Posted by: admin

I went along to the interesting New Europeans question time event on ‘The challenge of free movement in Europe’. Although everyone there was pro EU free movement - so a debate it was not, the discussion was still lively. I was particularly struck by something that the panelist Oana Romocea, a Romanian working at the Bodleian Library, Oxford University, said about language.

EU migration: Still in the news, more maligned than ever

Monday 16 December 2013
Category: General
Posted by: admin

Some government ministers are doing their best to traduce EU migration and misrepresent the impact of free movement. We should be redoubling our efforts to set out the real evidence on these issues, and turn these negative arguments around in the coming year.

Symposium on equality data collection 24-25 October 2013, Brussels

Tuesday 12 November 2013
Category: General
Posted by: admin

In order to address some of the key questions about extending the collection of equality data, ENAR and the Open Society Foundations organised a Symposium on Equality Data Collection. The aim was to look at ways to ensure that comparable sets of equality data are collected by Member States in respect to EU data protection safeguards, and in order to support equality, social inclusion, and non-discrimination policies. UKREN's Chair, Gay Moon, joined the symposium and posts her views on the discussion.

The importance of EU Fundamental Rights to UK race equality issues

Monday 4 November 2013
Category: General
Posted by: admin

The government is organising a large-scale consultation on what the UK’s membership of the EU means for the UK national interest, the so-called Balance of Competences Review. NGOs, businesses and other organisations are being invited to give their views on this important question.

Sounded like a good opportunity to put across views on race equality issues. So I went along to the first workshop at the Ministry of Justice...

Europe’s response to irregular immigration is damaging and ineffective

Tuesday 10 September 2013
Category: General
Posted by: Jan

Recent BBC report exposed shocking EU-sponsored abuse of migrants twenty miles from the European border in Morocco. The current approach to managing irregular immigration is clearly not working writes Jenny Pennington from IPPR.

Will the European Parliament take measures to combat racism?

With one in ten Members of the European Parliament belonging to parties that promote racist or xenophobic policies, and hate speech becoming part of political discourse (42 incidents of hate speech recorded during the election campaign), NGOs led by the European Network Against Racism believe it is important that MEPs establish a forum to counter and combat racism.

Some 100 NGOs from across Europe have called on MEPs to form an Intergroup on Anti-Racism and Diversity. This call is being supported by a number of MEPs including British ones. Intergroups are informal forums set up by MEPs to discuss issues of shared interest and to influence the European Parliament’s legislative and policy work. The power of an intergroup resides in using cross-party support to drive parliamentary work, and provides an opportunity for MEPs to engage with civil society on important issues.

A vote on which Intergroups should be formed by the European Parliament takes place next week. Will MEPs take the initiative to combat racism? The UK Race and Europe Network on behalf of its 160 member organisations strongly urges MEPs to vote for such an Intergroup. It will enable a cross-Europe solution to growing race hate, from Greece to Ireland and all EU Member States in between. We also urge people who believe in a racism-free society to email your MEP. Contact details of MEPs are here: http://www.europarl.org.uk/en/your_meps.html. Let’s hope the outcome is a positive one.

Ratna Lachman

Vice-Chair, UK Race and Europe Network

 

Alan Anstead

Coordinator, UK Race and Europe Network

 


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