EDITORIAL

elderly

Dear Readers,

Have you heard of the Swiss ‘zero star hotel’ that offers sleepless nights to ponder world’s crises? It promises to be a “statement about the need for urgent changes in society.” A bit like this newsletter, guests are invited in their ‘half sleep’ to consider topics like climate change, war, and humanity’s endless quest for perfection and the damage it causes the planet”. The Swiss ‘zero star hotel’ is an interesting art installation, but unlike this newsletter it is not free! So, any feedback you have on this newsletter is welcomed.

Hope you still find a bit of time to scroll down and read the general European newspaper articles and country specific news (or at least the extracts) that I have selected.

I would then recommend you to watch the short Arte TV documentary Re: Flat-sharing with a Centenarian. It is about Agnes Jeschke, who is 101 years old and 28-year-old Amir Farahani, an Iranian refugee. They have been living under the same roof for a year. Without Amir, Agnes would have had to go to a retirement home. Amir isn’t just her roommate but also her best friend. It is a real argument against all forms of discrimination and a diversity winner.

 

Have a nice weekend,

 

Thushari Perera

 

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GENERAL EUROPEAN NEWS

How climate change, overfishing and COVID drove irregular migration from West Africa, The Conversation, 16 June 2022

“The EU’s concerns regarding migration are above all, border control and the return of migrants to their countries of origin… It is essential that this policy focuses less on borders and more on aid to adapt to the effects of climate change. They must also enact development policies to achieve a local and sustainable fishing industry, focus on massive support in vaccination against COVID and in helping countries affected by the loss of income associated with the drop in tourism. Then, perhaps young Africans can have better expectations and not be forced to risk their lives at sea.”

Brexit remains ‘open wound’ for EU citizens living in UK, The Guardian, 23 June 2022

“Survey of EU nationals shows ‘profound and lasting’ impact of Brexit on sense of identity…“The public narrative may suggest that Brexit is done and dusted, and everyone has moved on,” said the report’s main author, Prof Nando Sigona of the University of Birmingham. “But for EU citizens, Brexit remains an open wound.” The study, EU Citizens in the UK after Brexit, showed that rebuilding trust in British institutions and politicians would be challenging when “the ramifications of Brexit still have such profound consequences” on EU citizens’s lives…”

 Brexit is making cost of living crisis worse, new study claims, The Guardian, 22 June 2022

“EU withdrawal fuelling higher import costs and costing British workers nearly £500 a year, says Resolution Foundation.”

 UK work visa for elite graduates is exclusive and based on flawed assumptions, The Conversation, 21 June 2022

“The UK government’s announcement of a new work visa option aimed at attracting top graduates has elicited some backlash because the list of eligible institutions features no universities from Africa, Latin America or South Asia. “

 France pushes EU partners to share asylum seeker burden, or pay up, The Guardian, 16 June 2022

“France has sought to push the EU towards a long-stalled asylum pact with a plan to relocate some 10,000 asylum seekers to willing member states and have unwilling ones pay cash penalties instead… It also came at a time that Europe was hosting more than four million Ukrainian refugees, who do not come under the asylum rules applied to other nationalities such as Syrians and Afghans, she noted.”

Don’t leave Africa to Russia and China, eurotopics, 23 June 2022

“Europe needs to get more involved in Africa again, writes the Tages-Anzeiger:

“If you ask young Africans what they would like so they can build something for themselves, the answer is often the same: stable electricity and cheap loans. These things are not available in any country on the continent. Not even after decades of development aid. China may not be perfect, many Africans say, but at least it is honest. It doesn’t promise democracy, it just wants our raw materials, but at least it leaves us with railways and roads. … Russia pretends it has no colonial past and promises nothing except that it is different from France. That is often all it takes to gain support, because many no longer expect anything from Europe.””

EU Policies Blamed for Death of Nearly 50,000 Migrants Since 1993, Morocco World News, 22 June 2022

“Each year, thousands of refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers make the journey to reach Europe in pursuit of a better life…A recent survey titled “The Fatal Policies of Fortress Europe” by anti-racist group UNITED has revealed that a total of 48,647 migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers have died since 1993. The group notably blames these deaths on the practices and policies of the EU member states. “Death by Policy – Time for Change!,” reads one of the report’s subheadings, attributing the fatalities recorded in the last 28 years to Europe’s border militarization, asylum policies, detention practices, and deportation laws.”

Frontex caretaker leader could face EU court, EU Observer, 8 June 2022

“The EU’s border police Frontex may end up in the European Court in Luxembourg for maintaining operations in Greece despite numerous reports of violations… She has since been sent a 16-page letter of formal notice from front-LEX , a Dutch-based civil society organisation that advocates for refugees’ and migrants’ rights, demanding she take action or face possible court action.”

UKRAINE & WAR

Does The Mainstream Media Treat All Refugees Equally?, Each Other, 17 June 2022

“As the war on Ukraine began and refugees began to flee the country, mainstream outlets faced backlash as commentators pointed out the difference between how some of the mainstream press has reported refugees from Ukraine to their reportage of refugees from Yemen, Libya, Palestine, and Syria.”

Racism Continues To Block The Escape Of Many Africans From Ukraine. Here’s Why, Black Enterprise, 9 June 2022

“The African Union has stated: “Reports that Africans are singled out for unacceptable dissimilar treatment would be shockingly racist,” and violate international law. Over the past few weeks conditions have changed. Ukrainian officials have condemned all forms of discrimination against refugees. The Global Black Coalition has assisted some Africans in leaving Ukraine. Furthermore, certain African nations have sent planes to Eastern Europe to rescue their citizens.”

African governments must do more to protect citizens caught up in Ukraine’s war, The New Humanitarian, 18 May 2022

“This unaddressed crime involves African students in Ukraine, and the anti-Black hate they have faced trying to flee the war. Then, there is the legal limbo those who have escaped now encounter as refugees in neighbouring countries, their lives turned upside down by the discrimination that targets them.”

AUSTRIA

Ruling Austrian conservatives’ top dog branded ‘racist’ over asylum seeker tweets, Euractiv, 7 June 2022

“A total of 16,000 asylum applications have already been submitted this year. The vast majority of asylum seekers come from Afghanistan & Syria. Austria thus suffers from the second-highest per-capita burden of asylum applications in the EU,” Sachslehner wrote on Twitter and in a press release on Sunday (5 June)… “A distinction must be made between those displaced by war from Ukraine & all other migrants, most of whom want to come to Austria for economic reasons,” she continued.”

1,061 Islamophobic attacks reported in Austria last year, Daily Sabah, 5 June 2022

“According to the 2021 Report on Anti-Muslim Racism released by the Austrian Documentation and Counseling Center for Muslims (Dokustelle Osterreich), the majority of 1,061 attacks took place on digital platforms as more social interaction was on the internet due to the COVID-19 restrictions.

The report said that 69% of those exposed to anti-Muslim racism, and verbal and physical attacks, were women and 26% were men.”

DENMARK

‘Zero asylum seekers’: Denmark forces refugees to return to Syria, The Guardian, 26 May 2022

“Under a more hostile immigration system, young volunteers fight to help fellow refugees stay – but their work is never done.”

Anti-racism commission publishes reports on Denmark, Monaco and Estonia, Council of Europe, 9 June 2022

“In its report on Denmark, ECRI calls on the Danish authorities, as a matter of priority, to introduce a national action plan against racism, with a particular emphasis on preventing anti-Muslim racism and discrimination. The action plan should cover education, public awareness, promotion of counter speech and the training of relevant professionals, such as law enforcement officials and teachers. Securing staff with Muslim and other minority backgrounds in such professions should also be included in this action plan. The second recommendation for which ECRI requests priority implementation is that the Danish authorities should avoid forced evictions of families with a migrant background in the neighbourhoods referred to as “parallel society”.”

FRANCE

Former Ivorian cleaning lady gains a seat in Parliament, Africa News, 20 June 2022

“”I am the voice of the voiceless. I am a maid, I am a cleaner, security guard, care assistant, home helper, I am all these invisible jobs. And at the National Assembly, these jobs will become visible”, promised newly-elected MP, Rachel Kéké. The Ivorian replaces President Emmanuel Macron’s former sports minister, Roxana Maracineanu, in a seat representing a Paris southeastern suburb.”

French election: A ‘breakthrough’ for the far right?, Al Jazeera, 22 June 2022

“The second round of France’s legislative elections delivered some surprising results. President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Ensemble! coalition lost its majority, while the broad left-wing alliance, NUPES, united behind Jean-Luc Mélenchon, emerged as the most prominent opposition group in the National Assembly. But the result that surprised political commentators and politicians the most was the record haul of 89 seats for the far-right National Rally (RN)… the RN will now have official status as a parliamentary group in the National Assembly, which will provide its MPs with important privileges and a huge increase in financial support…”

France rules against burkini swimwear for religious reasons, AP News, 21 June 2022

“France’s top administrative court ruled Tuesday against allowing body-covering “burkini” swimwear in public pools for religious reasons, arguing that it violates the principle of government neutrality toward religion.”

Woman denied entry to restaurant in France for wearing hijab, Daily Sabah, 1 June 2022

“…the incident took place on Sunday when a resident of France’s Hendaye city, wanted to take his mother to a restaurant for a Mother’s Day dinner, which he had made a reservation a week in advance. In the footage, when the mother and son arrive at the restaurant door, the woman who owns the business said she will not let the two customers into the restaurant because her mother is wearing a “headscarf from the Dark Ages.”…”

Mbappe accuses French federation boss of ignoring racist abuse, AFP, 19 June 2022

“The Paris Saint-Germain star’s decisive spot-kick against Switzerland was saved in the last-16 shootout, resulting in the world champions exiting the tournament. The 23-year-old was vilified on social media by furious fans, and even considered quitting the national team as a result.”

‘Woke panic’: How did we get here?, France 24, 21 June 2022

“Whether you like it or not, the term “woke” has entered our vocabulary. Born out of the anti-racist struggles of African Americans in the 1950s, it initially meant awake or politically aware. More recently, its meaning has morphed into a derogatory term, often used by right-wing commentators, for people who fight for a cause. Here in France, the term le wokisme is also emerging, but nearly always in its negative connotation. In Perspective, we spoke to Alex Mahoudeau, author of “La panique woke, anatomie d’une offensive réactionnaire”, or “Woke panic, anatomy of a reactionary offensive”.”

Equality is a challenge for France’s new Education Minister Pap Ndiaye, Le Monde, 30 May 2022

“The new minister’s first objective now, is to restore the Republic’s equal opportunity pledge: France is one of the major countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), but it is also the country where social background has the greatest bearing on the achievements and success of students…The new minister is starting out with a handicap, as he has neither a political network nor experience in a large administration.”

 OPINION: New education minister has already given a lesson in France’s race problem, The Local.fr, 27 May 2022

“…it has been illegal to gather race-based statistics in France since 1978…Pap Ndiaye, the new education minister, thinks that that rule is wrong. It conceals social realities, he says; it also feeds the fantasies of racists. Equally, he opposed the removal of the word “race” from the French constitution. Race may not exist scientifically, he says, but racial prejudice or racial awareness does. So long as that is true, black and brown people need to be constitutionally protected.”

France: Black historian Pap Ndiaye appointed as education minister, The Guardian, 20 May 2022

“Pap Ndiaye, the renowned Black French historian and expert on US minority rights, has been appointed education minister for the start of Emmanuel Macron’s second term, as the country faces persistent social inequalities in the school system.…The far right’s Marine Le Pen swiftly attacked Ndiaye’s appointment, saying it symbolised “the deconstruction of our country, its values and future”.”

Real estate racism: Living in Paris as a person of colour, The New Arab, 20 May 2022

“One day, Nicolas and Fatima – two individuals who make the same amount of money, with the same educational background, and with native French skills – decided to look for apartments as they both had moved to Paris…Nicolas was asked when he could move in, so he did and within a month he moved to a nice apartment in central Paris. Fatima was asked to pay one year upfront as a security deposit.”

GERMANY

German-funded inquiry into DRC atrocities slammed as ‘cover-up’, Al Jazeera, 23 June 2022

“A series of audio recordings, images and leaked documents obtained exclusively by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit (I-Unit) appear to show the failures of a German government-funded inquiry into reports of killings at the Kahuzi-Biega National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The Commission of Inquiry, which investigated allegations that park guards and Congolese soldiers killed members of the Batwa Indigenous community in the park between 2019 and 2021, reported on June 1 that no widespread atrocities had taken place.”

Number of Syrians becoming German citizens tripled in 2021, Reuters, 10 June 2022

While, in general, a person has to live in Germany for at least eight years to qualify for citizenship, the majority of Syrians qualified earlier – on average after 6.5 years – by showing particular willingness to integrate, for example with strong language skills and civic commitment, it said.

Watch: Re: Flat-sharing with a Centenarian, Arte, 17 May  2022

“Agnes Jeschke is 101 years old. Amir Farahani, an Iranian refugee, is 28. They have been living under the same roof for a year. Without Amir, Agnes would have had to go to a retirement home. Amir isn’t just her roommate but also her best friend. “We get along like thieves at a fair,” she declares, with her Berlin charm.”

The China shock: Germany turns away from its biggest trading partner, Deutsche Welle, 27 May 2022

“China persecutes the Uyghurs and backs Russia’s war in Ukraine. That’s prompting Berlin to rethink its relations with Beijing. But this “systemic rival” is also Germany’s biggest trading partner.”

NETHERLANDS

Dutch clubs to deploy ‘smart technology’ to fight fan racism, Worldsoccertalk.com, 8 June 2022

“Three top Dutch football clubs are taking part in pilot projects using smart technology including artificial intelligence to identify and fight racist behaviour by fans, the country’s football federation announced Wednesday.”

Racism In The Ranks: Dutch Police Film Spurs Conversation, VOA, 27 May 2022

“A documentary about discrimination within the ranks of Dutch police has sparked a national conversation in the Netherlands about racism, with many officers and others hoping it will finally bring about change. The Blue Family, or De Blauwe Familie in Dutch, discusses a culture of bullying and fear in the national police force.“

Dutch gov’t to admit to consititutional racism at Tax Authority, NL Times, 26 May 2022

“For years, the Tax Authority kept a controversial blocklist of possible fraudsters. Research by PwC showed that people with a “non-Western appearance” were subjected to stricter controls. Nationality, age, and donations to mosques were also considered risk factors for fraud.”

ITALY

Italy: Over 60 asylum seekers in Trento homeless for months, InfoMigrants, 15 June 2022

“The association Assemblea antirazzista (anti-racist assembly) of the northern Italian city of Trento has denounced that over 60 asylum seekers have been homeless for months while waiting for a place in the hosting system “amid the general silence of institutions and NGOs””

SWITZERLAND

Swiss press freedom under scrutiny at the United Nations, Swissinfo, 23 June 2022

“The United Nations Human Rights Council is pointing its finger at Swiss media law. Current legislation protects the banking sector from whistleblowers in the banking sector…”

In Davos, UNAIDS Chief Condemns Clear ‘Racism’ of Global Vaccine Apartheid, Common Dreams, 25 May 2022

“Racism is not only police violence, it is policy violence,” says Winnie Byanyima…She said it is also “when Black people, brown people, people of color take their last breath because of policy violence… when they are denied life-saving, pandemic-ending medicines because they live in majority-Black countries, brown countries, when they can’t access care or education because debt is choking them.”

UNITED KINGDOM

Black & Asian News – UK Edition

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