Tag Archives: British Isles & Western Europe

UK News | Muslims

Anti-Muslim incidents in the U.K. explode in the wake of New Zealand attacks

  • Tell MAMA, a U.K.-based organization that monitors anti-Muslim incidents, revealed that it received reports of 95 incidents of hate crimes against Muslims in the week following the Christchurch attacks, an increase of 593% over the previous week.
  • The incidents included verbal harassment, threats, online abuse, vandalism, and violent assaults across Great Britain.
  • Counter-terrorism police launched an investigation after receiving reports of attacks on five mosques over the course of a single day.

Read

Anti-Muslim hate crimes soar in UK after Christchurch shootings” (The Guardian | March 2019)

Birmingham mosque attacks probed by counter-terrorism officers” (CNN | March 2019)

How do UK Muslims feel after series of Islamophobic attacks?” (Al Jazeera | March 2019)

Connect

Tell MAMA

U.K. News | Asylum-Seekers

Asylum-seekers increasingly attempt dangerous cross-Channel trek to the U.K.

  • Patrol operations in the English Channel have led to the rescue of asylum-seekers attempting to reach the U.K. by small boats, which French and British officials claim is driven by organized smuggling.
  • More than 200 have arrived in the U.K. by water since November, which represents more than a tenfold increase from last year.
  • Migrants have begun turning to aquatic travel as the British and French governments have increasingly targeted land-based vehicles for inspection and closed shelter camps.

Read

More migrants and refugees try to reach UK via English Channel” (Al Jazeera | December 2018)

Five migrant boats rescued in English Channel” (BBC News | December 2018)

Migrants risk death at sea to reach Britain as prices spike on traditional routes” (CNN | December 2018)

Ireland News | Women

Irish voters elect to overturn abortion ban
  • Voters overwhelmingly chose to end the country’s constitutional ban on abortion, which had no exceptions for rape, incest, or fetal abnormality.
  • The #RepealThe8th campaign challenged the constitutional amendment endowing the unborn with legal rights (ratified following a 1983 referendum), arguing that abortion has already been a reality in Ireland given its proximity to the U.K. and that access to safe treatment is a public health issue.
  • Lawmakers will now introduce a bill to legalize the repeal officially, which is expected to be passed in the fall.
Read

Abortion referendum count: ‘quiet revolution’ as Yes set for landslide win” (The Irish Times | May 2018)

Irish abortion referendum: Exit polls suggest landslide for repeal” (BBC News | May 2018)

Ireland ends abortion ban as ‘quiet revolution’ transforms country” (Reuters | May 2018)

Citations | LGBTQ+ Asylum-seekers

Citations
Asylum Claims and the Adjudication of Sexual Identity

In immigration systems around the world, credibility stands as the primary burden of proof and identity indicator for sexual and gender minorities fleeing persecution in their countries of origin. In determining who assesses credibility and how, however, precision has long eluded researchers, lawmakers, and adjudicators as fluidity and multiplicity in identity has come to define sexual- and gender-minority communities. The reliance on expert assessments and interviewer perceptions in legal and administrative decisions has proven problematic from both a scientific and human rights perspective. Testing often involves a combination of physiological and psychological measurement, from arousal responses to personality assessments, and interviews have been based on a range of cultural biases and unrealistic expectations.

Immigration laws across nations have variously granted or denied asylum based on behavior, identity, affiliation, or perception, and the lack of standardization has created a large degree of uncertainty for LGBT individuals fleeing unsafe conditions in their countries of origin. This Citations installment outlines the patchwork of domestic and international laws and guidelines framing the consideration of asylum claims by sexual and gender minorities in popular destination countries, region- and country-specific legal and administrative processes, and recent trends in the assessment of sexual and gender identity and asylum claims.


Global

The U.N. Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (also known as the 1951 Refugee Convention) established guidelines determining the status of an individual as a refugee, defined as “someone who is unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.” The “membership of a particular social group” item has become the cornerstone of the expansion of asylum rights to LGBT individuals fleeing persecution, and international organizations have undertaken efforts to outline frameworks for ascertaining such membership.

European Union

In a victory for LGBT asylum-seekers in Europe, the E.U. Court of Justice recently ruled against Hungarian immigration officials’ decision to deny a gay Nigerian’s asylum claim as the result of a sexuality assessment test. In its ruling, the ECJ determined that while such psychological assessments are not prohibited, the results cannot factor into asylum decisions when testing methodology contravenes any of the human rights outlined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The decision comes as the culmination of a series of rulings related to the assessment of sexual identity in asylum decisions in member states amid historic levels of trans-Mediterranean migration.

United States

Since 1994, the U.S. has recognized sexual identity as grounds for granting asylum in the country. The political and legal recognition of LGBT asylum-seekers has co-evolved with that of LGBT citizens, with asylum decision-making processes having liberalized alongside greater scientific research into sexual orientation and expanding legal rights and protections for LGBT citizens. Today, LGBT asylum-seekers submit an application that includes documentation corroborating both individual circumstances as well as the conditions LGBT individuals face in their country of origin and are then selected to participate in an interview with the Department of Homeland Security. With no government data kept regarding the outcome of claims based on sexual orientation, however, transparency and accountability have emerged as central issues for advocates and watchdogs seeking to promote security and rigor in adjudication.

Australia

While Australia has recognized sexual orientation as part of the 1951 Convention’s designation of “membership of a particular social group,” the country has faced significant criticism for its asylum process for LGBT petitioners, which has included low approval rates and offshore detention that has further imperiled asylum-seekers. When asylum-seekers have gone before the Refugee and Migration Division of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in a final attempt to secure asylum, they have faced arbitrary, invasive, stereotypical, and culturally ignorant lines of questioning and expectations by interviewers and offered private photos and texts by asylum-seekers in desperation to “confirm” their sexual identity.

Canada

As immigration and refugee acceptance have become political hot topics in Europe, the U.S., and Australia, Canada has sought to position itself as a beacon of acceptance for individuals fleeing to the Global North to escape war or persecution. LGBT individuals petitioning for asylum enjoy higher-than-average approval rates in the country, but advocates have noted that Canada’s adjudication process has historically suffered from the same cultural biases and pitfalls in credibility assessment as other popular destination countries. Tight claim deadlines and multiple points of inquiry introduce further precarity in the process, but advocates are hopeful that a new set of guidelines issued in 2017 will improve the adjudication process. 

South Africa

A popular destination for LGBT Africans seeking refuge outside of their countries of origin, South Africa positioned itself as an early global leader in the establishment of LGBT legal rights and protections. Though the most progressive African nation in this respect, the country has nevertheless been criticized for the legal process through which it puts LGBT asylum-seekers, including reliance on temporary permits to defer long-term status provision and intimidation and credibility issues in the interview process.

 

France News | Muslim Men

French hospital dismisses Egyptian trainee doctor from program for beard
  • The administrative court of appeals ruled in favor of the hospital after the surgery trainee sued as the result of termination by hospital managers at a Saint-Denis hospital for failing to trim his beard.
  • The trainee’s lawyer argued that the termination was discriminatory as a similarly long beard worn by someone who wasn’t Egyptian and named “Mohamed” would likely not have been asked to prove it was not of religious orientation.
  • French law dictates that religious expression is forbidden in state institutions like public hospitals, including personal symbolic displays that could be construed as religiously motivated.
Read

Un médecin renvoyé pour une barbe trop longue, la justice donne raison à l’hôpital” (Agence France-Presse, via Libération | December 2017 – in French)

‘C’est une décision complètement discriminatoire’ : un médecin stagiaire renvoyé à cause d’une barbe trop longue” (franceinfo | December 2017 – in French)

French hospital rejects trainee doctor due to ‘religious’ beard” (The Telegraph | January 2018)

 

France News | People of Color

Discussions of systemic racism in France provoke backlash
  • Recent rows in French government and civil society have pitted anti-racism activists against government officials over discussions of the state and other political institutions’ role in propagating racial inequality.
  • Journalist Rokhaya Diallo was removed from France’s national digital council only a week after her appointment following a campaign by right-wing activists and officials that targeted her for, among other things, her discussions of “institutional racism.”
  • The same use of the term by the teachers union SUD-Education 93 led Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer to indicate he will pursue complaints against the organization as well as for having hosted workshops reserved for people of color.
Read

French race row erupts as feminist forced off advisory body” (The Guardian | December 2017)

Blanquer porte plainte contre un syndicat qui a utilisé l’expression «racisme d’Etat»” (Le Monde | November 2017, in French)

Les ateliers « en non-mixité raciale » du syndicat SUD-Education 93 créent une polémique” (Le Monde | November 2017, in French)

Additional

When will France admit that police racism is systemic?” (The Guardian | March 2017)

 

U.K. News | Underrepresented Communities

U.K. elects most diverse parliament in history
  • 51 MPs of color (black and minority ethnic, or BME) were elected to the House of Commons, an increase of some 25% from the 41 elected in the previous election cycle.
  • 208 women were elected, an electoral record though still only 32% of Parliament, and more than 40 LGBT MPs now form the largest cohort of openly queer politicians in the history of the House of Commons.
  • The new parliament also features the first Palestinian, first female Sikh, four black female, first turban-wearing Sikh, and four openly disabled MPs.
Read

Election results: Record number of black, Asian and ethnic minority MPs elected to parliament” (The Independent | June 2017)

The New Parliament Has More Black, Asian, And Women MPs Than Ever Before” (BuzzFeed News | June 2017)

Election 2017: Record number of female MPs” (BBC News | June 2017)

(Image Credit: Facebook, via The Independent)

Ireland News | Gay Asian-Irish

Irish governing party elects first out gay, Indian-descendent PM
  • The Fine Gael voted Leo Varadkar its new leader, a gay, half-Indian man set to become the youngest PM in Irish history.
  • Varadkhar, 38, was born to an Indian immigrant father and an Irish mother and has become a polarizing conservative firebrand in Irish politics since his first election in 2007.
  • The election has been lauded as a monumental moment for the predominantly Catholic country that in 2015 became the first in the world to codify marriage equality into law through referendum.
Read

Varadkar becomes Irish PM-in-waiting in social, generational shift” (Reuters | June 2017)

Leo Varadkar wins: Ireland set to install first openly gay Prime Minister” (The Independent | June 2017)

From Enda (66) to Leo (38): Ireland set to replace oldest EU leader with youngest” (The Irish Times | June 2017)

(Image Credit: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters)

France News | Black Women

Paris mayor backtracks after threatening to ban Afro-feminist festival
  • Mayor Anne Hidalgo originally threatened to prohibit the Nyansapo Festival, alert police, and sue for discrimination, repeating far-right accusations that the event was “prohibited to white people” despite no such language appearing in the organizers’ materials.
  • Festival organizers, part of the Mwasi Collective, planned to reserve certain events for black women, others for black people of all genders, others for women of color in general, and others still for the general populace in an attempt to provide open discussion spaces free of judgment for minority participants.
  • The mayor eventually backtracked, although she and right-wing activists claimed victory for having “established a solution” as a rest of Hidalgo’s “firm intervention.”
Read

Paris mayor vows to halt black feminist festival, then backtracks” (France 24 | May 2017)

Aux origines de la polémique sur le festival afroféministe Nyansapo” (Libérationin French | May 2017)

Comme au Nyansapo Fest, pourquoi certaines associations prônent la non-mixité” (Huffington Postin French | May 2017)

Visit

Festival Nyansapo

(Image Credit: via Libération)

U.K. News | Muslims & Ethnic Minorities

Reported hate crimes double in Manchester in aftermath of bombing
  • Some 56 hate crimes were reported in the two days following the bombing in Manchester by a Briton of Libyan descent, a twofold increase over the 28 in the two previous days (the average amount, according to law enforcement).
  • Incidents included bomb threats, intimidation, slurs, and racist graffiti across the city.
  • Community members noted a significant number of incidents had gone unreported and expressed frustration at the expectation of apologizing on behalf of all Muslims while being subjected to anti-Muslim abuse.
Read

Manchester attack: Hate crime ‘doubles’ after incident” (BBC News | May 2017)

Muslim leaders in Manchester report rise in Islamophobic incidents” (The Guardian | May 2017)

Manchester sees rise in hate crimes after attack” (Al Jazeera | May 2017)

(Image Credit: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters, via The Guardian)

France News | Migrants & Asylum-Seekers

Calais mayor bans gatherings at site of closed refugee camp
  • The ban will prohibit charity organizations from distributing food, clothing, and other survival resources to migrants and refugees attempting to travel to the United Kingdom from France.
  • Police have reportedly begun using teargas to break up attempts at food distribution at the site of the former camp, which was dismantled in October 2016.
  • Mayor Natacha Bouchart accused such gatherings of ratcheting ethnic tensions among migrants and endangering public safety.
Read

Calais mayor bans distribution of food to migrants” (The Guardian | March 2017)

Charities slam Calais ban that could halt food aid for migrants” (Reuters | March 2017)

Outcry after Calais mayor bans food handouts to migrants” (AFP via France24 | March 2017)

(Image Credit: Matt Dunham/AP, via The Guardian)

France News | Black

Protests erupt in Paris suburb following violent arrest and sodomization of black man
  • A police officer was charged with using his baton to sodomize Théo L., a 22-year-old black man, while arresting him in the northern suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois.
  • Police accused the man, who had no previous criminal record, of resisting during a check of his identity papers, but the brutal force used led to the suspension of all four officers involved.
  • Protests took place across the ethnically diverse northern suburbs, including marches, clashes with police, and arrests as protesters called for justice.
Coverage (English)

French police brutality in spotlight again after officer charged with rape” (The Guardian | February 2017)
A French Police Officer Allegedly Raped A Man With A Baton During A Check Of His Papers” (BuzzFeed News | February 2017)
Protesters target police in Paris suburb unrest” (Reuters | February 2017)

Coverage (French)

A Bobigny, un rassemblement contre les violences policières tourne mal” (Le Monde | February 2017)
A Aulnay-sous-Bois, la tension est redescendue d’un cran” (Radio France Internationale | February 2017)

(Image Credit: AFP/Getty Images, via BuzzFeed News)

Global Event | Women’s Marches

Global Women’s Marches

On the day following the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump, millions gathered in demonstrations taking place across all seven continents in support of women’s rights. Trump, who was elected despite having been accused of sexual assault by at least two dozen women, ran a campaign that attacked reproductive rights, disparaged high-profile women (including his opponent, Hillary Clinton), and equivocated on issues like gender pay equity, and of the 25 members of his incoming senior leadership team, only three are women. From Austin to Antarctica, women and allies around the world mobilized around issues including women’s security, reproductive rights, racial and immigration justice, climate change, and LGBTQ rights.

Global Overview
The Americas


Source: The New York Times (YouTube)

Europe & Africa


Source: ODN (YouTube)

Asia Pacific & Antarctica


Source: Reuters (YouTube)

The Netherlands News | Muslim Women

Partial ban on public dress in Islamic veils clears hurdle in the Netherlands
  • The Dutch lower house approved legislation that would ban the wearing of “face-covering clothing” including the burqa and the niqab, sending the bill to the Senate for final approval.
  • The ban, which would impose a more than €400 fine on offenders, would apply to public spaces including educational institutions, healthcare centers, public transportation, and government buildings.
  • Although data indicates only a few hundred women wear the veils, the legislation comes as a part of a wave of European legislation targeting traditional Islamic wear, including in France and Belgium.

Read more:
Dutch parliament paves way for approval of partial Islamic veil ban” (AP via The Guardian)
Burka ban backed by Dutch MPs for public places” (BBC)
Dutch parliament approves partial burqa ban in public places” (The Independent)

(Image Credit: Getty Images, via BBC)

Indonesia & the Netherlands News | Indonesians

Dutch government announces inquiry into violent twilight of colonialism in Indonesia
  • Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced an investigation into the violent conflict between the Dutch military and Indonesians that took place from 1945 to 1949.
  • The Dutch government has begun to admit to a host of war crimes during the colonial war including mass killings, torture, and summary executions, with the conflict having brought about the death of at least 100,000 Indonesians.
  • Indonesia was a Dutch colony from 1800 to 1949 and is widely recognized as having contributed significantly to the contemporary wealth of the western European nation.

Read more:
Dutch cabinet agrees to fund research into violence in Indonesia” (DutchNews)
Dutch government backs new inquiry into colonial Indonesia” (Reuters)

Additional reads:
Indonesian National Revolution Photos the Dutch Army Didn’t Want You to See” (The Creators Project, January 2016)
Colonial atrocities explode myth of Dutch tolerance” (The Independent, May 1994)

(Image Credit: NIOD, via The Creators Project)