Jan 27th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Home Racial Justice Racial Justice Updates Racial Justice Update June 08

Racial Justice Update June 08

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

To receive this update by email please email the Editor
Welcome to June's Racial Justice Update

Some stories from this edition:
-Scottish Government just published The Report of the Ministerial Task Force on Health Inequalities Equally Well – Report of the Ministerial Task Force on Health Inequalities (see publications)
-On the 19th of June the House of Lords debated ‘Britishness’, there is a link to the Lords Hansard in the resources section of this update. I recommend reading this debate. To wet your appetite here is a small fragment from the bishop of Norwich contribution: “A debate about Britishness has a lot to offer, so long as it does not end up setting hard boundaries which tell us less about who we are and more about who is not one of us. … Fuzzy boundaries to Britishness may not only be pragmatic, but remind us that differences between people are often much less interesting and important than what they have in common. … It is [a debate] about people recognising that their story and the national story are somehow held together”. (see below)
-Conference on Migration for Scottish Churches see ACTS website

Next Update will be towards the end of August. Any comments and contributions are welcome!

1. Racist incidents in Scotland:

Racist bullying on the rise in Capital schools
Reports of racist bullying in Edinburgh schools have soared in the past year, says a new report. An average of 30 reported cases are now logged every month during the school term, with fears that may just be the tip of the iceberg. Anti-racism groups believe fewer than one in four incidents in schools are reported, while the city's own education department also admits there is a culture of "under-reporting". Edinburgh News

Two men injured in racial attack
A man remains in a serious condition in hospital after a "despicable racial attack" on two men in the east end of Glasgow on Tuesday night. Police said they were continuing inquiries into the assaults on the men, aged 38 and 34, in the Bridgeton area. The men, described by police as a black man and an Asian man, were walking in Dale Street when they were attacked by a group of six to eight youths. BBC

Four racism crimes every day
Reports of racism in the Lothians have soared, with police now investigating four cases of verbal abuse every day. The number of incidents reached its highest-ever level in the force area last year, with 1256 reports of abuse being logged. Police chiefs said today the rise was caused by a greater willingness among the Capital's ethnic community to come forward. And the force's remote reporting scheme, where police can be contacted outwith stations, was cited for encouraging more victims to come forward. Edinburgh News 31 May 08

Council will not appeal race case
Angus Council has announced it will not appeal against a tribunal ruling that it was guilty of racial discrimination. In April, the local authority was ordered to pay Bangladeshi man Ahsan Khan £26,000. A tribunal found the council was not able to explain why it refused to shortlist Mr Khan for a head of housing post, even though he was qualified. BBC

Thug jailed for racist attack on Polish waiter
A man who carried out an unprovoked racist attack on a Polish waiter, and was found to be carrying a knife, has been jailed for 19 months at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.
Twenty-nine-year-old Graham Hislen, a prisoner at Saughton, pled guilty today to the racially aggravated assault on 27-year-old Prezemyslaw Chudy in Lothian Road on March 7 this year. He also admitted being in possession of a lock knife. Mr Chudy, who worked as a waiter in the Bar Italia in Lothian Road, was on his way home after work at half-past midnight. Hislen and another man were walking in the opposite direction when Hislen approached Mr Chudy and began punching him repeatedly on the head, while shouting and swearing about the Polish. Edinburgh News also on BBC

Yob jailed over racist attack
A Thug is starting his 12th jail sentence in seven years after a racist pub brawl. Jamie Collins, 26, assaulted a Polish man just two days after his early release from prison. Collins, of Hawick, Roxburghshire, admitted the attack and hurling racially offensive remarks at several Poles outside a local pub last month. Sunday Mail

Racist Killer Captured After Bid To Flee Court
An Iraq war hero dramatically tried to flee court after he was convicted of the "savage, merciless, and pointless" murder of a Bangladeshi waiter 14 years ago. Herald

Muslim in call centre abuse wins £20,000
A Muslim worker at a call centre based at the home of Rangers Football Club in Glasgow has been awarded more than £20,000 for racial and religious discrimination, after colleagues abused him for complaining about how they treated Irish and ethnic-minority callers. Scotsman

Minority OAPs 'accept abuse'
Black and ethnic minority elderly people are not treated well but are unlikely to do anything about it, research findings suggested today. Their reasons include shame, dependency, fear, and lack of alternatives, said the report. The research report, launched today by Age Concern Scotland, found 62 per cent were not treated well, either in their families or more widely. Edinburgh News

Man cleared of racist English slur
A landlord was accused yesterday of calling his tenant an "English b******" as he evicted a family from his farm cottage in the Highlands. Andrew Forman, 66, had turned up to ensure the tenants were leaving his property, but ended up being charged with an alleged racial rant at Heath Snowball. The Yorkshire-born coach driver said the landlord had called him an "English b******" in front of two of his children on the day the family was leaving the cottage at Delnies, near Nairn. Scotsman

2. Developments, Reports and Investigations

Justice system compromised by unqualified interpreters
Scotland could be seeing miscarriages of justice because sheriff clerks and procurators fiscal are using unqualified linguists as interpreters for migrant defendants and witnesses in the courts, the Sunday Herald can reveal. The Scottish Court Service and Crown Office are allowing foreign students without the industry benchmark Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI) to work, through approved agencies, as interpreters in cases ranging from custody disputes to serious assaults, including an alleged rape. Sunday Herald

Mental health care 'fails Asians'
People of South Asian origin with mental health problems are missing out on treatment, the BBC has been told. Experts warn it is contributing to the high suicide rate among Asian women. The chairman of one NHS Trust says he blames "institutional racism" for the "lack of engagement" with the South Asian community. BBC

3. Asylum refugees:

Take action for destitute asylum seekers
Church Action on Poverty have worked with Positive Action in Housing to produce a simple, easy to read pack that gives the information, advice and encouragement to take action to stop the destitution of people refused asylum. It is the latest development in their 'Living Ghosts' campaign, in which people have been encouraged to live for a short period as failed asylum seekers, to see how it feels for themselves. Ekklesia
Download an action pack from CAP website

Kirk criticises ‘inhumane’ treatment of asylum seekers
Politics again took centre stage at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland yesterday as members called for action from Westminster on immigration, the Middle East and gambling. A report from the church and society council targeted the way in which society "routinely confronts migrants". It criticised the UK Government and urged members to support the view that it is "unacceptable to use destitution as a tool to persuade people to leave this country". Herald

SNP accused of betraying refugees
The return of dawn raids on asylum seekers has provoked an angry attack on Alex Salmond and his SNP government for failing publicly to denounce the Westminster policy of seizing refugee families at their homes in the early hours of the morning and then detaining mothers, fathers and their children in immigration holding centres. The SNP campaigned against dawn raids and detention of families in opposition, but in government, say their critics, their silence has been deafening. The UK Border Agency said 750 immigrants had been forcibly removed from Scotland since the SNP came to power. This figure includes immigrants found working illegally, as well as those subjected to dawn raids. It does not include those who left voluntarily. Sunday Herald

Refugee family thanks Scots for helping them find hope after Congo hell
In a forest pit in the Congo, Aimee and her baby son were held captive with 25 others. After seven days, 13 were taken to be shot - with Aimee last in the line. With little Daniel in her arms, she saw the terrified men and women killed one by one. But when it came to her turn, the soldiers lowered their guns. Aimee said: "I was crying. I thought I was going to die with my child. Daily Record

Refugees deserve chance to become part of the community
Scots are proud the country is safe for asylum seekers, says Kenny Hamilton. New research shows two thirds of people living in Scotland are proud the UK provides a safe haven for refugee children fleeing persecution, but there remains widespread confusion about the issue of asylum, with many people grossly exaggerating the numbers of asylum seekers in the UK. The research revealed more than ten per cent of Scots believed the UK hosts more than half the world's asylum seekers – in fact the figure is less than three per cent (about 302,000 people – fewer than 4000 of which are in Scotland), according to the United Nations. Edinburgh News

Salmond in talks to force closure of Dungavel centre
Alex Salmond last night revealed he is in talks with Westminster to have Scotland's only immigration detention centre closed down. The First Minister's office said he has voiced his "strong disapproval" with Liam Byrne, the UK immigration minister, about the Dungavel facility and dawn raids on asylum seekers in Scotland.  Scotsman

Asylum seekers should be renamed sanctuary seekers, report says
The word "asylum" should be phased out and replaced with "sanctuary" when used in relation to foreigners seeking shelter in Britain, a report said today. The recommendation was made after a poll for the Independent Asylum Commission found that only 28 per cent of people viewed the word "asylum" positively while 33 per cent viewed it negatively. In contrast, more than 81 per cent thought "sanctuary" had positive connotations. For 31.3 per cent the word asylum was associated with a place for the mentally ill rather than a refuge for the persecuted. Telegraph

4. Immigration

MP backs bid to fight against deportation
A Tayside woman who is facing deportation to South Africa has won backing for her fight to stay in Scotland from Dundee East MP Stewart Hosie. Josie Pasane, 25, of Broughty Ferry, has been ordered to leave the country, although her mother Catherine and sister Mammie have been granted indefinite leave to stay in the UK. .. A petition has also been organised by local minister the Rev Catherine Collins, of Broughty Ferry New Kirk, where the family are members. Press and Journal

Eastern European immigration falls
The number of Eastern European nationals applying to work in the UK drops to its lowest level since 2005, new statistics show. Statistics released this week show a substantial decline in the number of people from the eight Eastern European accession countries applying to work in the UK. Home Office

Migration tide turns as east Europeans head back home
Four years after Polish graphic designer Chris Rychter headed to Britain to find work, he and his wife have returned home to Warsaw. Part of a swelling tide of migration back east, they are having a house built in a suburb of the Polish capital. "It took me just three days to find a job back in Warsaw," Mr Rychter, 27, said. "We never saw Britain as home. We went for the adventure and to get some professional experience." Their return highlights strong economic growth in the new European Union member states and an accelerating slowdown in Britain – and also how quickly a pragmatic, younger European generation has adapted to working in the 21st-century globalised economy. Scotsman

Attacks on Poles 'fuelled by the BBC's coverage of immigration'
The BBC has been accused of fuelling attacks on Poles by exploiting them to highlight immigration rather than using other ethnic minority arrivals for fear of being branded racist. The criticism was made by Daniel Kawczynski, a Conservative MP of Polish extraction. Scotsman

Burning Issue: Is the BBC fostering prejudice against the UK's Polish community?
Is the BBC fostering prejudice against the UK's Polish community? Yes says Daniel Kawczynski, the MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham. This article is accessible online only by subscribers. Scotsman

Call for migrants and locals to integrate
The chairman of Brechin Community Council has issued a call for closer integration of the local community with its growing population of foreign nationals. Referring to the shocking death in the burgh two months ago of Lithuanian woman Jolanta Bledaite, whose severed head and hands were found on Arbroath beach, Douglas Murray said, “We have to be more aware of the effects, and needs, of the incoming migrant population. Courier

Speak our language call to medics
NHS Highland has been asked to employ bilingual medical staff to encourage immigrants to register with their local GP practices. The Polish Scottish Union has collected a petition on the issue with about 1,400 signatures. They say almost half of East Europeans who have settled in the Highlands have not registered with a local doctor. BBC

More language help for immigrants
Highland Council plans to strengthen its commitment to welcoming immigrants and their families settling into north communities by increasing English language tuition to assist their integration. Press and Journal

Record numbers given UK citizenship
The number of people granted British citizenship reached record levels last year, new figures show. Government data revealed 164,635 foreign nationals became British, up 7% on the previous 12 months. Scotsman

Warning on dangers of hiring illegal migrants
Tayside employers face fines of thousands of pounds—and even jail—under new legislation if they hire illegal migrant workers, a business consultant warned yesterday. Jeni McCabe, a senior consultant with Dundee’s SCR Solutions, said businesses were effectively being asked by the Government to act as “immigration police” and some are struggling to make sense of the new system. Courier

5. Publications and Resources:

Equally Well – Report of the Ministerial Task Force on Health Inequalities, Report of the Ministerial Task Force on Health Inequalities
Scottish Government

Strange Fruit: Why Both Sides Are Wrong in the Race Debate
Readers of this newspaper will understand one of the reasons why Kenan Malik wrote this book. He begins with an account of the extraordinary interview given last year to The Sunday Times Magazine by James Watson, the co-discoverer of the DNA double helix. Professor Watson declared that he was gloomy about Africa because “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours — whereas all the testing says, ‘Not really’ ”. The Nobel prizewinner added that we shouldn’t expect everyone to be equal because “people who have to deal with black employees find this is not so”. Times 

Making migration work: the role of employers in migrant integration
Migrants Rights Network Newsletter
June Issues 

Report on the High Level Advisory Group of Experts on the Social Integration of Ethnic Minorities and their Full Participation on the Labour Market

Neither Private nor Privileged: The Role of Christianity in Britain Today

The House of Lords debate on Britishness which took place on the 19th of June 2008: A recommended reading:
Parliament online publication


Scottish Churches and Contemporary Migration
A conference on Migration organised by ACTS and the Scottish Churches
Wednesday 8th October 2008, 9.30 am – 4.15 pm
at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43-45 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR
See more details on ACTS website or contact us.


Safeguarding Children in Scotland who may have been Trafficked
(Closes 3 July 2008)

Nelu Balaj
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 11 March 2009 14:18 )