Dear Readers,

Do you know that vaccines do not necessarily need to be patented? If not, you should watch the short video Designing pharmaceuticals for people – not for profit by Pressenza and read the article by the Racial Justice Network “From structural vulnerability to resilience: A reflexive essay on refugee-led responses to COVID-19.”

I would also like to highlight the article in the Independent “Diversity in the arts was improving – and then Covid happened” and the Public Campaign for the Arts.

You will also find “Culture, Media and Entertainment” news in the European section below. I am intrigued by some of the new TV shows in France (Simply Black) and Italy (Zero), as well as the lack of recognition of Black women in British sports, whether in football or athletics.

Happy Reading!

Thushari Perera


A digital resource on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Issues

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Please scroll down and just click on the title to access the full version of the news stories you wish to read, thank you.

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EU considers COVID vaccine patent waiver but Germany, drugmakers push back, Reuters/Yahoo, 6 May 2021

“Until now, the European Union has been aligned with a group of countries, many including Britain and Switzerland home to large pharmaceutical companies, that have opposed the waiver.”

Designing pharmaceuticals for people – not for profit, Pressenza Athens, 7 May 2021

“The production of medicines and vaccines as well as the massive public investments in underlying research is largely left in the hands of a profit-seeking private sector, despite the vital importance of public health, Why do covid-19 vaccines belong to private pharmaceutical companies, and not the people? Els Torreele, a world-renowned researcher and advocate for social justice and health rights, shares how we can do medical innovation by working together and sharing knowledge rather than privatizing it. She advocates for the best possible treatments available for everyone.”

The European Citizens’ Campaign “Right to cure- No profits from the pandemic” is underway. Its goal is to collect 1,000,000 signatures. You can support it by signing here:

Ending Ethnic Profiling to Keep Our Communities Safe, Open Society Justice Initiative, 28 April 2021

“Our guide stands out as a tool for advocates and activists for several reasons…”

Europe set for African migration spike as thousands flee jihadists, Arab News, 3 May 2021

“Violence in the Sahel has displaced millions, with many looking to cross Mediterranean sea. About 9k total arrivals from Libya to Italy so far this year.”


Belgium’s police-related racial violence concerns UN body, AP, 3 May 2021

“A top Belgian police official stepped aside last year after the emergence of a 2018 video showing violent treatment of a Slovak citizen by police officers at a Belgian airport. The man, who was in distress, later died. More recently, Belgian prosecutors have launched a probe following the death of a 23-year-old Black man who was detained by police.”


The TV shows that reveal the real France, BBC Culture, 6 May 2021

“Zadi’s film explores both the limitations of the Republic’s “colour-blind” policies and the perils of mapping the US racial model onto France. It is also astute about anti-racist activism in the social media age, poking fun at the savvy self-promoters (“Can you imagine? Me and Angela Davis – I’ll do a story on Insta live!”). Simply Black is, the culture writer Sandra Onana tells BBC Culture, “a formidably intelligent assessment of the state of race in France”, which takes us to “the heart of what comedy can accomplish”.”

Second attack on a mosque in France within 20 days, Global Village Space, 1 May 2021

“A mosque in France has suffered a second attack just 20 days after its first attack. A wave has been initiated by Islamophobics in France to assault and terrorize Muslim communities.”

North African injured in hate crime in France refused justice, TRT World, 2 May 2021

“A video recording showed that Adil Sefrioui was berated with racist slurs and then violently attacked. But his septuagenarian attacker walks free for now.”


Germany: Right-wing criminality at a record high, Deutsche Welle, 4 May 2021

“Some 23,064 crimes were counted as right-wing extremist, an increase of 5.7% over the previous year…”The increase in violent crimes by 18.8%, to a total of 3,365 incidents, is particularly bad,” the interior minister said.”


Greek camps for asylum seekers to introduce partly automated surveillance systems, Algorithm Watch, 27 April 2021

“An EU-funded surveillance system for “reception and identification centers” on five Greek islands raises questions about asylum seekers’ privacy and well-being. Despite assurances from European authorities, the Centaur system suggests that mass control, and not shelter, is the priority.”


Racism in Ireland: Calls to tackle online hate speech, RTE, 6 May 2021

“Racist incidents reported to the Irish Network Against Racism are rising which leads to the question – what needs to be done to ensure the problem does not get worse?… In 2014, 108 racist incidents were reported, that rose to 174 in 2019. Last year 334 people reported incidents in this regard.”


Netflix series signals racial breakthrough in Italian TV, The Independent, 6 May 2021

“The Netflix series “Zero” that premiered globally last month is the first Italian TV production ever to feature a predominantly black cast”


Meet Beatriz Gomes Dias, the teacher who could become the first black woman to govern Lisbon, Global Voices, 27 April 2021

“Elected as a member of Portugal’s parliament for the Left Bloc in 2019, Dias is one of just three black women in the current parliament, though she has served as a Lisbon city representative since 2018.”


Are the Canary Islands becoming a migrant limbo?, EuroNews, 5 May 2021

“Doua is one of the men sleeping rough there. He tried to leave the island four times with all the legal documents required to do so. He shows us his passport, several plane and boat tickets, as well as an international protection form. But he was turned back at each attempt. He would have stayed in Senegal, he says, if there was work, but there isn’t any. He leaves us with a message that is shared by all the other migrants we met:”Help us to leave this island, please”.”

Black candidate challenges political status quo in Spain, Federal News Network, 2 May 2021

“Madrid (AP) — Two young Senegalese men met on a Europe-bound migrant boat in 2006, a year that saw a record influx of Africans to Spain’s Canary Islands. Since then, one died of a heart attack running away from Spanish police and the other is running in a polarized election Tuesday for a seat in Madrid’s regional assembly.”


Why Switzerland needs to adopt affirmative action policies, SwissInfo, 1 May 2021

“According to research on “Afrophobia” in Switzerland by Dr. Noémi Michel External linkof the University of Neuchatel, “the social taboo of discussing race (and subsequently racism) is rooted in a belief that racism does not exist on the territory of Europe.”




Thinking fast and slow: how will recovery affect attitudes to immigration?, British Future, 5 May 2021

“Migration patterns, driven by economic, political and personal circumstances, are in a constant state of flux. The pandemic saw seismic changes to UK migration with figures out last week showing dramatic falls in net migration between March and June 2020, as EU migrants decided to leave the UK.”

Right to Remain

The Right to Remain Toolkit, May 2021

“The Right to Remain Toolkit is free to use, and it’s for people who want to learn more about the legal process, or a particular part of the legal process. You might be making an application or are thinking about it; you might be helping someone else to do so.”

Visa deal to speed return of migrants to India, The Independent, 5 May 2021

“A new system of work visas for young Indian professionals risks fuelling discrimination against Indian nationals already in the country, while creating a new group of future undocumented migrants, campaigners have warned.”


Hundreds of Windrush victims waiting over a year for compensation, The Law Gazette, 5 May 2021

“Overall, the Home Office is reported to have paid compensation in around 400 cases since the scheme was launched more than two years ago, with the average waiting time for processing a claim now standing at 14 months. There remain 1,417 cases waiting to be resolved.”


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How to be effective allies to Muslim colleagues during Ramadan, DiversityQ, 5 May 2021

“As the Muslim community observes Ramadan, here’s how to make them feel included at work”

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Met police officer dismissed for hitting vulnerable girl ‘more than 30 times’ with baton, The Guardian, 1 May 2021

“During the hearing, the panel heard that in May 2019, a 17-year-old girl, who has learning disabilities, had run away from a group on an escorted walk in Newham after becoming distressed.”

Belly Mujinga: Inquest to be held into railway worker’s death, The Independent, 7 May 2021

“It will address the health and safety problems (lack of PPE) faced by frontline workers during the covid pandemic, and particularly those with underlying health issues, as well as the racism and harassment that BAME frontline workers face at work, and it will finally allow us to call to account the intemperate white male who the family allege assaulted Belly and her colleague, Motolani, twice on the concourse of Victoria Station on 21 March 2020.”

CULTURE, MEDIA & ENTERTAINMENT colour graffiti-508272_640

Diversity in the arts was improving – and then Covid happened, The Independent, 6 May 2021

A report from the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC) found risk averse producers favour bankable artists with an existing following, reducing opportunities for emerging artists. The pandemic has delayed gender and ethnicity pay-gap reporting. Creatives with caring responsibilities have been unable to work. Those in the least privileged positions, for example front of house roles, are often the first to be made redundant – a devastating setback for those who most struggled to get into the sector.”

From slavery to BLM: the ups and downs of 200 years of Guardian race reporting, The Guardian, 6 May 2021

“While the paper hasn’t always got it right, journalists of colour are helping to improve representation on and off the page”

Tajinder Sindra talks Punjabi Theatre Academy UK & Film, DesiBlitz, 3 May 2021

“The Punjabi Theatre Academy is an artistic organisation that promotes the Punjabi culture to the next generation of budding actors and actresses…Unlike other organisations, Punjabi Theatre Academy is the only platform in London that connects the South Asian community to its roots through various art forms such as dance and acting for theatre.”

The Barriers And Opportunities To Meaningful Collaboration Across The Arts, Migration And Racial Justice Sectors, Counterpoints Arts, 13 April 2021

“A month on from the Race Commission Report, new independent research reveals a picture and set of perceptions within the arts sector that lies in contrast with Sewell’s findings. While analysis of the cultural, migration and racial justice sectors is emerging, there is little reflection to date on how these three sectors intersect and collaborate with one another.”

Staying Silent on Racism Earlier in Career Now Something Naomi Campbell Regrets, Eurweb, 3 May 2021

““There were a couple of times back in the day in Europe when I had to say: No, I’m not going to wear this outfit because it was very stereotypical. I’m not going to go on the runway looking like a Rastafarian.” Naomi Campbell added that she missed out on magazine covers because of her “skin color” and was labeled “difficult” when she pointed out on-the-job discrimination.”



Black & Asian Heritage Mix’


Public Campaign for Arts

Gavin Williamson – stop the 50% funding cut to arts subjects in Higher Education, Public Campaign for the Arts, May 2021

“The Government wants to impose a catastrophic 50% funding cut to arts subjects at higher education (HE) level in England.”

UK: black African international students facing racist abuse, The Pie News, 5 May 2021

“The report titled Racism and Othering in International Higher Education: Experiences of Black Africans in England was written by Solomon Zewolde, and included analysis of 21 semi-structured interviews with BAIS studying in 10 different universities located in eight English cities.”

Three awards in Scotland named after race relations activist Saroj Lal, Eastern Eye, 4 May 2021

“Three new educational awards/scholarships were launched in Scotland in the name of Saroj Lal, a prominent Scottish race relations activist, to promote equality/diversity across education.”


End Fire and Hire

The government can end ‘fire and rehire’ and protect workers, The Canary, 5 May 2021

Fire and rehire is when employers threaten employees with job losses if employees don’t agree to new contracts with worse terms. It’s become more popular throughout the pandemic. As a result, Unite has launched a campaign to amend employment legislation to outlaw the practice.”

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Covid: Black leaders fear racist past feeds mistrust in vaccine, BBC News, 6 May 2021

“The government teamed up with mosques and temples, but some feel connections with black churches were made more slowly…And across England, vaccine coverage has risen from 48% to 74% in black over-80s between February and April, compared with an increase from 82% to 97% in white people of the same age.”

Ramadan pop-ups at mosques target vaccine hesitancy among UK Muslims, Salaam Gateway, 5 May 2021

“Among the senior demographic, the first to be prioritised for vaccination, 90.2% of all residents in England aged 70 and over had received at least one dose between Dec 8 and Mar 11. Muslims had the lowest take-up rate (72.3%). We await government data to see the results of the national bespoke campaigns targeting ethnic minorities.”

Are black and minority ethnic groups vaccine-hesitant and ‘hard to reach’?, Transforming Society 5 May 2021

“While various campaigns have provided stories of black and ethnic minority groups who have had the vaccine, much more needs to be done to counteract their under-representation in clinical trials and health research. Funding research in this area must be completed, and monitoring of ethnicity and race must be improved across all studies. Further funding should also be provided to educate research and clinical staff on the provision of culturally competent and anti-racist research practice.”

The stigma around taking antidepressants for women of colour needs to stop, Stylist, May 2021

“The mental health crisis is often overlooked within communities of colour. Black women are more likely to experience common mental health problems – such as depression or anxiety disorder – compared to their white counterparts. Not only that, but other studies have demonstrated that South Asian women are more susceptible to certain mental health illnesses, including insomnia and self-harm. However, when it comes to reaching out for support, there is still a taboo surrounding taking antidepressants in their communities.”

Beyond the White Male Pale: Why our conversations around Autism and disability need to be intersectional, Cherwell Online, 30 April 2021

“Race and ethnicity play a large part in an individual’s experience of autism, including the difficulty one may face in obtaining a diagnosis, and yet this remains shamefully overlooked and downplayed. “

From structural vulnerability to resilience: A reflexive essay on refugee-led responses to COVID-19, Racial Justice Network, April 2021

“Placed at the threshold of the law with limited access to basic needs and rights, these groups of people are exclusively subjected to, among others, abject destitution, precarious status, loneliness and isolation. These challenges were further compounded by the closure of local charities, which offer invaluable social spaces for refugees by allowing them to use their internet facilities and stay connected with their loved ones. So, how do refugees and asylum seekers cope with the multiple axes of precarities weighing down on them? In this blog, we reflect on refugee-led initiatives among Eritrean refugee communities in the UK.”


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OPINION: G7 leaders know what needs to be done to prevent famines, but will they act?, Thomas Reuters Foundation News, 5 May 2021

“At least 174 million people across the planet are experiencing crisis levels of food insecurity…Crisis countries like Syria, Somalia, Yemen and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are among 20 countries listed by the UN as being at risk of famine…”


Refugees International Launches Task Force on Climate Change and Migration, Refugee International, 22 April 2021

“Refugees International announced today the launch of an expert task force on climate change and migration in response to an Executive Order (EO) issued by President Biden on February 4.“



Video: Implications of Artificial Intelligence on Human Rights, Renew Europe, 29 April 2021

“As Artificial Intelligence (AI) constantly advances, many questions arise regarding the implications of Artificial Intelligence on Human Rights. Several scandals, like the ones concerning Cambridge Analytica or FaceApp as well as China’s use of AI for mass surveillance, repression and social scoring, show that some uses of Artificial Intelligence have the potential to gravely violate Human Rights. As AI technology advances there is understandable need to safeguard and guarantee Human Rights. Renew Europe can contribute to the EU’s legislative process on AI through setting the right political and legal framework that steers towards a world where we can benefit from AI without infringements on Human Rights.”

Talent pipeline a barrier to diversity in the tech industry, DiversityQ, 5 May 2021

“But, overall, the Tech industry remains stubbornly white and male. …The COVID-19 pandemic and enforced home working has opened more employment opportunities and a wider talent pool for employers, especially for employees who may have been put off by a long commute. In other words, you don’t need to live near Silicon Valley to be able to work there.”

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Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, and Prince William Wish Archie a Happy Second Birthday, Vanity Fair, 6 May 2021

“Meghan and Harry, of course, don’t have social media accounts, but they did mark the day by sharing a sweet photo of Archie holding a huge cluster of balloons and encouraging their community to donate to vaccine equity. “We have been deeply touched over the past two years to feel the warmth and support for our family in honor of Archie’s birthday,” the couple wrote on the Archewell Foundation website.”

Edna O’Brien and Duchess of Cornwall get on royally for her book club, The Irish Times, 4 May 2021

“The Duchess of Cornwall goes on to describe O’Brien’s latest novel, Girl, loosely based on the Boko Haram kidnapping of Nigeieran schoolgirls as “a very brave leap in the dark”.”


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Now you see her, BBC News, 7 May 2021

“Sexist, offensive and disrespectful, but wholly predictable. Sadly, Mary Phillip, England’s first black international football captain and a six-time FA Cup winner, has got used to it, even now as manager of men’s team Peckham Town.”

Anita Neil: Britain’s first black female Olympian a ‘hero pioneer’, BBC News, 6 May 2021

Anita Neil, from Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, competed at two Olympic Games in 1968 and 1972. She had previously said she felt “ignored and forgotten” by the lack of recognition from British Athletics and the British Olympic Association.

Image Credits: Pixabay, Right to Remain, Unite the Union Campaign End Fire and Retire, Public Campaign for the Arts,

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