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Home Racial Justice Racial Justice Updates Racial Justice Update November 08

Racial Justice Update November 08

A selective digest of news, events and other relevant information from Scotland.

In this month's update:
-Rising of racist incidents in Highlands
-The immigration minister attacks groups supporting asylum seekers: his comments and reactions from churches and other organisations

We welcome contributions to this update. Please contact the editor at the address below.

1. Racist incidents in Scotland:

Downturn blamed for racism rise in the Highlands
Financial difficulties could be a factor in fuelling tensions. Tensions caused by economic difficulties and competition for jobs could be behind an increase in racism in the Highlands, police have said. Poles, many who have come to the Highlands and Islands to work, are among the groups being targeted. English people were also among those more likely to be the victims of abuse. Northern Constabulary said such incidents were treated seriously and the rise was also a result of people feeling confident in reporting them. Figures on racist incidents were contained in a paper to Northern Joint Police Board. BBC

Police report rise in racist abuse towards immigrants
Economic crisis and shortage of jobs is said to be the cause. The economic downturn is being blamed for a rise in racist abuse directed at eastern Europeans living in the Highlands. The upturn is fuelled by “emerging tensions due to increased competition for jobs”, according to a Northern Constabulary report on racism. Between April 1, 2007, and March 31, this year, 15 Polish nationals complained they were racially abused, compared with 12 in the previous year and four in the preceding 12 months. Press and Journal

Mob batter Asian teenager with sticks outside school
A gang of yobs battered an Asian teenager with wooden sticks in a vicious racist attack outside his school. The 16-year-old - named by friends as Saqib Naseem - was set upon by 20 armed youths. Two of his friends, both aged 15, were also assaulted. The thugs pounced as the pals left Bellahouston Academy in Glasgow on Monday. Daily Record

Questions in Scottish Parliament
How many racially aggravated crimes have been reported in the last three years, broken down by police force? Question by Bashir Ahmad MSP. Replay from Kenny MacAskill Community Minister:
Racially Aggravated Crimes Recorded by Police Force Area, 2003-04 and 2005-06
Police Force Financial Year
2003-04 2004-05 2005-06
Central   402 575
Dumfries and Galloway 53 85 90
Fife 450 464 357
Grampian 459 701 671
Lothian and Borders 781 913 1,306
Northern 172 215 143
Strathclyde 2351 2,620 2,892
Tayside 290 332 405
Total 4,556 5,732 6,439

Note: Central Scotland police force were unable to supply data for 2003-04.

Scottish Parliament

Hospital racist given jail term
An assault victim who said he did not want to be treated by a black doctor at Stirling Royal Infirmary has been jailed for three and a half months. John Robertson, 29, came to the hospital with a head wound, after being attacked while he was drunk. BBC 

Former Clyde boss Graham Roberts admits he considered suicide after racism row
Graham Roberts has revealed he contemplated suicide while fighting to clear his name during the tribunal hearing that killed off his professional life. Roberts and Clyde, the club he managed to a sensational Scottish Cup win over Celtic, brought an acrimonious end to their relationship when the manager was accused of racism and anti-Semitism following a club tour of Canada. Daily Record

2. Developments, Reports and Investigations

We can’t ignore Scotland’s link to slavery
To mark Black History Month, Glasgow Anti-Racist Alliance has been running historical tours of Glasgow. These have been led by Stephen Mullen, a talented young historian from Strathclyde University who has studied the city's extensive involvement in the transatlantic slave trade. He is the author of an important book, to be published later this year, called It Wisnae Us. It challenges the Scots "myth of detachment", the commonly held belief that slavery was all the fault of the English and nothing whatsoever to do with the Scots. Sunday Herald 

Christians urge Home Office to reconsider human trafficking budget cuts
Premier, the Christian Media Group, is launching a public plea, calling on the Home Office to reconsider budget cuts at the Met Police's Human Trafficking Department as part of their Not For Sale campaign against sexual slavery. "We're asking the Home Office to seriously reconsider it's budget cuts on human trafficking," said Premier Presenter and spokesperson for Not For Sale, Maria Toth. "It is estimated that 10,000 women are brought into the UK each year, to be held against their will and forced to work as sexual slaves." Ekklesia

Churches back traveller families in Essex eviction case
Local churches have been backing five Irish traveller families living on an unofficial site in Wickford, Essex, who now face eviction because the land they bought is within a green zone area. They have lodged an appeal. The travellers had lodged an application in the High Court for retrospective planning permission for the homes they established on plots they purchased some years ago, reports Independent Catholic News. Ekklesia

Race and identity in 21st century Britain
Once, it was a mark of shame in Western society. Now it's a badge of pride. By 2020, Britain's largest ethnic minority will be of mixed-race origin – and in every aspect of life, the diversity of our nation is shining through at last. Ian Burrell reports. Independent

Study criticises ethnic relations
Councils could do more to improve their understanding of ethnic minorities, according to a report. The Accounts Commission has been examining the impact of race equality legislation, introduced in 2002, on council services. The report pointed out councils had developed policies and initiatives. BBC 

Dominic Lawson: The racism of our adoption rules
It is exactly the sort of dead-end ideology which still holds white social workers in thrall. Almost half a century ago, a friend of mine was the subject of what was then seen as a risky experiment. A black baby, she was adopted by a white couple. They lived in a remote rural area and, my friend now relates, "I thought I was the only black person in the whole of England". She also encountered racism even from those who were trying to offer praise. "It's amazing what you are achieving almost straight out of the jungle," one teacher informed her. Independent 

Racism would block British Barack Obama, says Trevor Phillips
Head of equality watchdog says ethnic minority candidates in the UK would be prevented from reaching the highest level. Guardian

David Coulthard: why I’ll support England
Has his success revealed a racism problem in Formula One? For me, people are trying to build it into something bigger than it is. How many football matches ... Times Online

Sharia rulings 'can go to courts'
Decisions made under Islamic sharia law can be accepted by English and Welsh family courts, a minister has confirmed. BBC 

3. Asylum refugees:

Kirk: we will stand by failed asylum seeker's children
Church offers support network to the government. A senior Kirk official today praised the government for listening to its concerns about Dungavel - and asked that churches be part of the solution. Reverend Ian Galloway, convener of the Kirk's Church and Society Council, made the remarks ahead of the Moderator's visit to Dungavel detention centre on Monday. Church of Scotland news

Scottish church says government listening, as asylum distress goes on
A senior Church of Scotland official has welcomed the fact that the British government has listened to its concerns about the Dungavel detention centre for refused asylum seekers, but churches as a whole remain deeply disturbed by the official treatment of those seeking refuge in the UK. The government proposed last week that families of what it calls "failed asylum seekers" (that is, those who have been refused leave to remain, some of whom may have perfectly legitimate claims nonetheless) could be moved to city centre flats instead of being kept at Dungavel detention centre. Rev Ian Galloway, convener of the Kirk’s Church and Society Council, pointed out that alternative measures like this would use far less of the taxpayers’ money. He and others hope the lesson can be learned much more widely. Ekklesia 

Minister under fire for attack on lawyers and charities over asylum
Lawyers, charities and church workers have described as "extraordinary" and "deplorable" comments by UK Immigration Minister Phil Woolas suggesting that people seeking asylum should not have access to full British justice. In an interview with the Guardian, Mr Woolas described the legal professionals and NGO workers as "an industry", and said most asylum seekers were not genuinely fleeing persecution. He suggested that those supporting them were 'playing the system' and twisting the law. Ekklesia 

'You can't come in'
Phil Woolas insists we have to 'bloody well' talk about immigration - yet whenever the minister opens his mouth, he is accused of pandering to racism. That's rubbish, he tells Patrick Barkham- just like most of the asylum claims that clutter up his in-tray. Guardian

Immigration Minister criticises asylum campaigners
Immigration Minister Phil Woolas has accused lawyers and campaigners of having a "vested interest" in supporting asylum seekers. Woolas attacked lawyers and charities working on behalf of asylum seekers, accusing them of undermining the law and "playing the system". He also said that most asylum seekers were not fleeing persecution but were economic migrants. He claimed that "The system is played by migration lawyers and NGOs to the nth degree. By giving false hope and by undermining the legal system, [they] actually cause more harm than they do good." Church Action on Poverty 

Free Churches call for justice and compassion for asylum seekers
Three of Britain's leading Free Church denominations have called for justice and compassion for asylum seekers, following a statement from Immigration Minister Phil Woolas criticising human rights groups and lawyers for assisting the vulnerable. Speaking on behalf of The Baptist Church, The Methodist Church and The URC, the Rev Dr Rosemary Kidd said: “Genuine asylum seekers are frequently escaping from persecution and torture. They often arrive in the UK, speaking no English and with no identifying documents. They are vulnerable, deeply traumatised people, seeking sanctuary and human kindness. Ekklesia

A higher authority
Christians will break the law if we see that it is denying people basic human rights – asylum seekers, for instance. Christianity has a long tradition of defiance of civil authorities in the cause of justice and human rights. Jesus suffered a judicial penalty in his death: Paul was repeatedly imprisoned for his proclamation of the good news of Jesus, and while Jesus himself could be regarded as the victim of a miscarriage of justice, Paul deliberately and purposefully broke the law for the sake of the Gospel. Guardian

4. Immigration

Number of immigrants coming to UK falls but net level up
Net immigration to the UK rose to 237,000 in 2007, according to official figures published yesterday. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) said the number was up by 46,000 on 2006 as a result of a fall in the number of people moving out of the UK. The estimated number of people arriving to live in the UK for 12 months or more was 577,000 in 2007, compared with 591,000 in 2006, while the number of people leaving the country fell from 400,000 to 340,000 over the same period. Herald

The migration ‘debate’ has lost its humanity
It is far too easy to dismiss as ‘naïve’ the latest calls to consider an amnesty for unregistered migrants. London Mayor Boris Johnson and Catholic Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor are right to raise the issue, but sadly the knee-jerk reactions tell us that trying to have a reasoned debate in this area is very difficult. We must persist nonetheless. These are matters of basic humanity, and in too many cases life and death. We should remember that amnesties are only one tool to use to deal with significant numbers of migrants who have been made vulnerable by the immigration system. They do not replace the need for an ongoing regularisation such as that proposed by the Liberal Democrats. The Cardinal has spoken in terms of citizenship. Ekklesia

Churches back Mayor's call for migrant amnesty discussion
Long-term migrants to Britain who are not yet properly registered should be given citizenship, according to the most senior figure in the Catholic Church in England and Wales. Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor's comments came after Mayor of London Boris Johnson mooted an amnesty for 'illegals' - and was immediately rubbished for doing so by figures in his own Conservative Party, tabloid papers, the Immigration Minister, and the anti-immigration lobby group Migration Watch. Ekklesia

Make immigrants legal - Cardinal
Long-term immigrants should be given British citizenship, according to the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor spoke out after Mayor of London Boris Johnson mooted an amnesty for immigrants. BBC 

Our hypocritical immigration debate
The Confederation of British Industry has long been a supporter of the Government's policies on immigration. During the boom, businesses wanted to be free to recruit whoever they wanted, from anywhere in the world. Sometimes, it was argued that an open-door policy was needed because Britain was not producing enough highly-skilled workers for its sophisticated post-industrial economy. Independent

Translations cost NHS £20k
More than £20,000 was spent by NHS Lothian on translating its website and a variety of leaflets and publications into foreign languages. Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that the figure is rising substantially year-on-year, with only £6800 spent two years ago. Edinburgh News 

Bride-to-be’s mother refused entry to UK
A bride-to-be is facing her big day without her mother at her side as immigration officials have refused to let her enter the country. Catherine Dunford (25) is due to wed fiance Hugh Martin (37) in a civil ceremony in St Andrews on December 6. But unless appeals to the UK Border Agency are successful, her mother Shariwa Dunford (52) will not be there to see her take her vows. The Currier 

Visa U-turn delights worried bride-to-be
A bride-to-be whose Zimbabwean mother had been refused a visa to attend her big day has been granted her wish after her story appeared The Courier. Catherine Dunford was distraught at the thought of her mother Shariwa not being there to see her tie the knot with Hugh Martin in St Andrews on December 5. But yesterday, as The Courier revealed her predicament, PhD student Catherine, of Cupar, received the phone call she had been praying for. The Currier 

Fury as Met's human trafficking unit to close after funds run out
A specialist police human trafficking unit will close next year due to a lack of money, Scotland Yard said yesterday. Home Office funding for the Metropolitan Police's Human Trafficking Team will end in April. The unit – the UK's only specialist operational anti-trafficking team – has secured a string of convictions, including those last week of a gang of brothel owners and sex-traffickers. Scotsman 

5. Publications and Resources:

A methodological workshop on attitudes to equality in Scotland

‘PAPERS PLEASE’: The Impact of the Civil Penalty Regime on the Employment Rights of Migrants in the UK


St Andrew's Day March and Rally
STUC St Andrews Day Anti Racism March and Rally
Saturday 29 November 2008
Assemble 10.30am St Andrew's in the Square (off Saltmarket) Glasgow
March off 11.00am
Rally 12.00 noon Glasgow Film Theatre, Rose Street, Glasgow

The Silent Walk for Justice in Edinburgh 4 Dec 2008, 15.00-19.00
People are innocently put to jail, while the criminals walk free. Families are fighting for years and years to get crimes that were committed to their loved ones investigated, but in vain. So many persons are missing, and so many of them are young children. Children that died have had organs removed illegally. There are victims of crimes that are not compensated and cared for. People are robbed by the council, of the Common Good Land that was donated to them decades ago. There is violence against women, sexual abuse against children, lawyers cheating their clients, authorities withholding information and covering up, and so on. The list could be long and many of you reading this have your own severe cases to add.
More information from Guje Borgesson & Maria Jansson, Truth&Justice4All
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Child Trafficking and the UK
8 December 2008 in Glasgow (9.30 – 12.40)
Legal Services Agency Seminar to present recent research on child
Glasgow, discuss specialist services in respect of child trafficking which already
the UK, and discuss issues around, age assessment, guardianship, legal
and learning from services for adult survivors of trafficking. For information or phone 0141 353 3354.

The Lauriston Jesuit Centre is about to begin a major series of presentations on the environment.
The first event is on Tuesday December 2nd, with Alastair McIntosh and Verene Nicolas, giving a presentation entitled ‘A Spiritual Response to Present Times’.
Then the following week, on Monday December 8th, Aubrey Manning and Owen Dudley Edwards explore the topic ‘Life and the Earth – Interlocking Histories’.
More information
Tel 0131 477 5795
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Nelu Balaj
Last Updated ( Friday, 05 June 2009 13:43 )