Blog Archive

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Donate to BARAC refugee aid & solidarity






Since 2015 BARAC has been coordinating aid & solidarity convoys to refugees stuck in Northen France.

There's been a break in our regular distributions every few weeks, 1 of the reasons being the need to raise more funds to take essential items.

With your support we are ready to return shortly & we will be  taking food for the refugee kitchens.




The refugee camp in Dunkirk recently burned down which means people already displaced due to poverty, climate change, war & persecution, don't even have a place of temporary refuge so your support us much needed.

Please do what you can to support us, you can make donations via Go Fund Me: https://www.gofundme.com/BARACHumanitarian

Thanks for your ongoing support.




Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Defend the UCL Five: Statement initiated by BARAC UK & NUS Black Students Campaign










Defend the 

UCL Five 

Statement


Universities in the UK should be a safe space that provide for free expression and positive learning, but instead, University College London has embarked on a campaign to silence radical student voices challenging oppressive practice. 

In recent months, the university has embarked upon a targeted campaign of silencing student dissent and protests on campus through management intimidation, scare tactics and the threat of disciplinary action. 

On 27th October 2016, a group of UCL students came together to protest an intended talk by Hen Mazzig who was invited by UCL Friends of Israel to speak at an event on the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Hen Mazzig is a reservist in the Israeli military and was speaking about his activities enforcing the illegal military occupation of Palestine and the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements, considered a war crime under international law.  

The UCL students’ non-violent protest was made up of students from a range of diverse backgrounds and included chants calling for an end to violence against Palestinians and the illegal Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the waving of flags and traditional Dabke dancing.  

Protesting students persisted despite being verbally harassed by groups and individuals from outside the university such as Sussex Friends of Israel and individuals such as UCL alumnus Elliot Miller who was caught on video pushing a student. 

Individuals from this group shouted racist slurs against black students on the protest, such as "the Home Office should follow you up”, “get out of our country" and called announcing that "Islam is a violent religion".  

In the days following the meeting Mazzig repeatedly tried to depict our opposition to his event as the protest of “an angry Arab mob”. This amounts to the racial profiling of resident British UCL based students.  

They were then subjected to a malicious, politically motivated complaint. The response from UCL was to racially profile five students and serve them with notice of impending disciplinary action.  

All five are active in student politics, and all are either Muslim, Arab, Asian or Black. The five students together, have contributed to the fundraising of thousands of pounds going towards humanitarian aid in Africa and the Middle-East. They have helped to launch various campaigns such as Israel Apartheid week, Black Lives Matter and leadership and management programmes. 

These Black and minority ethnic students are currently being targeted and harassed by UCL management as a consequence. These actions by UCL management, we believe, constitute an intolerable restriction of the human rights of students seeking to express political opinions on issues of concern.  

Alarmingly the university has so far failed to investigate the racist slurs that UCL students were subjected too. This injustice is now further compounded by UCL racially profiling and adding and abetting the malicious smearing of students of colour, who were simply exercising their rights to free expression and lawful protest.  

Groups external to the university made malicious and vindictive accusations which were backed up by inaccurate depictions of the protest and had no objective supporting evidence.  

This raises serious concerns about the veracity of the original complaint and the subsequent impartiality of the investigation conducted by UCL management. 

This seems to be part of a wider campaign of suppressing student activism and protest on UCL campuses, and is echoed in "crackdowns" on other UCL student and staff protests.  

For example, a number of UCL students active in the Fossil Free campaign have also been issued a notice of disciplinary action. Fossil Free is a student led branch of the international campaign on campus to pressure the university into divesting from fossil fuel companies.  

This unnecessary, aggressive and authoritarian behaviour by UCL management is counterproductive, unfair and only serves to intimidate students who are already feeling intimidated and restricted in their ability to freely engage in democratic debate and political protest. 

The actions of UCL management flies in the face of the founding principles and academic philosophy on which UCL is based, a secular institution of free thinking, political and academic debate. 

We demand that UCL drops all the disciplinary procedures against the five students concerned, and enter into dialogue with a view to examining the culture of political persecution of Black and minority ethnic students on campus at UCL. 

We the undersigned urge you to:

Join our campaign to challenge UCL management's racial profiling and political intimidation of students it disagrees with.  

Support the five UCL students who were part of a peaceful protest against a meeting being addressed by Hen Mazzig, an Israeli military reservist, who have been subjected to a malicious complaint, resulting in UCL instigating disciplinary action after receiving a malicious complaint from Sussex Friends of Israel. 

We ask that you write to UCL Vice Provost of Operations; Rex Knight and the UCL Provost; Michael Arthur, UCL, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, expressing your concern about UCL management's actions and subsequent racial profiling and targeting of students on religious grounds.   

We ask that you join the Defend the UCL5 campaign by adding your name / organisation to this statement initiated by Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC) UK and the NUS Black Students Campaign,  that you use the #DefendUCL5 hashtag to publicise.  Email barac.info@gmail.com to add your name to the statement and send messages of support.


Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC) UKNUS Black Students Campaign



Sean Wallis, Vice President UCL UCU, UCU NEC member 


Zita Holbourne, PCS Union Acting Vice President & Co-Chair BARAC UK

Neil Rogall, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, UCL Graduate (1972)

Anne Cooper, Writer, Unite Community

Hassina Malik, Assistant Branch Secretary, Lambeth UNISON

Adie Mormech, Student at Manchester Met University GDL

Rob Ahmed. 1st Year Chemical Engineering Student at UCL.

Kate Byrne 

Abdel Mahmoud, UCL student

Donna Guthrie, Unite Branch LE127 Co-Equalities Officer (pc) & BARAC Women's Officer

 Faris Tamimi

Dr. Louis Bayman, University of Southampton

Tahmidur Rahman, 3rd Year Student of English at UCL 

Maria Gutierrez

Simone Webb

Jen Izaakson, Unison

Fatima Mahmoud

Elahe Amraie

Laila al-Khatib

Amanda Dilley
Lorraine Harding.
Felicity Premru
Simmi Dullay, Black Cultural Producer 
Margaret Kabasinde, retired 

Ayan Shegow

Diane Langford, Writer 

Annette Rochester

Nana Asante, Chairperson - Africans for Momentum / Africans for Jeremy Corbyn Values, Secretary - IDPAD Coalition UK

Mohammed Shafiq

Zaharan Sofi

Rhiannon Lockley, West Midlands Chair UCU (PC)

Nat Raha, University of Sussex and Edinburgh College of Art

Lee Jasper, Blaksox 
https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gif









Thursday, 13 April 2017

Follow Up Letter to the EHRC from Race Equality Organisations






David Isaac CBE
Chair
Equality and Human Rights Commission
Fleetbank House
2-6 Salisbury Square
London EC4Y 8JX


10 April 2017


Dear David

We would like to thank you and Rebecca Hilsenrath for meeting with us on 27 March and for listening to our concerns. We also appreciate that you are facing cuts to the Commission's budget and have difficult choices to make.

However, we remain concerned about the declining numbers of BAME staff and the recent redundancies at the EHRC. Since you did not offer any workable solutions for addressing our concerns, we would propose that the following steps be taken:

1. Reinstate the staff who have been made redundant.
2. Pause and review the restructure and redundancy selection process.
3. Appoint an independent external agency to oversee and monitor the restructuring. The agency should have proven expertise in equality.

Whilst we are willing to be partners in a wider race consultation group, we do not consider it practical or realistic for the Commission to use us for advice on your employment practices.

We repeat our advice that if your proposals have a disproportionate adverse impact on ethnic minority or disabled staff then you must revisit the process and interrogate it and, given the history, the decision-makers.

We would now like to address your concerns that we have been misled or misinformed and that we have misinterpreted the data.



Number of BAME staff made redundant.
We believe that the number of BAME staff who were made redundant is 9 and not 5 as stated in your letter. Based on the list of names which we have seen, the racial profile is as follows:
Asian: 4
Black Caribbean: 2
Mixed race: 1
Irish: 2

As three people have now accepted CILON, that leaves six ethnic minority staff who are asking to be reinstated.

We also noted from your replies to our questions that:

28% of BAME staff were successful at the ‘expression of interest’ stage compared with 61% of White staff.

16% of BAME staff, compared with 22% of white staff, were appointed into roles at the assessment stage

24% of our BAME staff applied for VE, and 8% accepted offers, compared to 17% of white staff applying, and 9% accepting offers.

From this data, we can only infer that the restructure process - possibly even the culture within the Commission - is racially discriminatory.  We consider your process was far from ‘fair, robust and transparent.’ Somewhere there is a barrier to the progress of BAME staff and closer scrutiny is needed of the process and the decision-makers. Hence, our very strong recommendation that you bring in an external agency to review the process

Employment support and counselling for those facing redundancy
Your letter said that all staff were offered appropriate guidance and mentoring.

We have been told that under the ‘Transition to Work’ programme, staff in Birmingham were directed to Brook St Bureau who offered them part-time jobs in warehouses and other manual/non-skilled jobs. One member of staff was offered a coaching session in Costa Coffee during the lunchtime rush.

We do not consider this was appropriate guidance and definitely not mentoring.

Mitigation
You said you did mitigate adverse impact and for one individual, a job was created. We now understand that was for a disabled member of staff and it was a reasonable adjustment that was made. It seems to us that there hasn’t been any mitigation of the adverse impact of the restructure process on BAME staff.

The referral to Brook St Bureau is further evidence of the lack of mitigation.

Senior BAME staff
We were concerned that the one BAME Director was made redundant. You have informed us the recently appointed Finance Director is from a BAME background. So there is now (still) only one person from a BAME background amongst your directors.

The equality objectives set in 2014/15 stated:

'In our workforce diversity report we identified an under-representation of ethnic minority staff at the more senior grades - Level 5 and above - and disabled staff at Levels 4 and 5.   Therefore we have set the following equality objectives for our workforce diversity to begin to address this…To increase the proportion of ethnic minority staff and disabled staff at Level 5 and above to that proportionate with the Commission’s overall workforce diversity over the next 4 years.'

Of the 64 staff now at level 5 and above, there are three who are from a BAME background. This is equivalent to 5% BAME staff in senior grades.

In the year 14/15, the figure was 11% (taken from the Commission's Workforce Diversity Report).  So in the first two years of the four year period, the Commission has managed to reduce the percentage of BAME staff in senior grades by 66%! There are still no Level 6 officers who are ethnic minorities. This is zero progress two years in.

And only 1 of the 9 staff at director level and above is an ethnic minority.  

You have explained that you have set a 50% target for shortlists for senior roles at the Commission. But, looking at the restructure table, it seems there are very few senior posts which are vacant.

With regards to Grade 6 and above, we see that since 2014/15 there has been an increase in the number of staff employed at this grade. The number of executive directors has doubled. We agree you need a Chief Legal Officer. However, we question why the Commission needs four executive directors when the total workforce will be only 160 or fewer staff.

We cannot understand how a publicly funded organisation facing budget cuts can justify creating jobs at senior levels where the salary bill will be very high, while getting rid of lower grades where BAME and disabled staff are concentrated.

We consider that it is only fair and just for the financial axe to fall equally across the grades.

Lastly, you will have now read the Supreme Court decision in Essop and others v Home Office [2017] UKSC 27, which the Commission supported. As you know, the court found that in order to succeed in an indirect discrimination claim, it is not necessary to establish the reason for the particular disadvantage to which the group is put.  It is sufficient to show a causal link between a policy, criterion or practice and the disadvantage. We consider there is a strong causal link between the decision to cut jobs in lower grades and the disadvantage experienced by BAME staff.

We ask you to heed the words of Langstaff J in the EAT, to whom the court referred, who said 'a wise employer will monitor how his policies and practices impact upon various groups and, if he finds that they do have a disparate impact, will try and see what can be modified to remove that impact while achieving the desired result.’

We trust the Commission will act boldly, as we suggested, by pausing the process and carrying out a review. Hopefully, we do not need to remind you of your own obligations to ensure the Commission is acting lawfully under the Equality Act 2010 and the public sector equality duty.

At the very least, the Commission should practise what it preaches.

Yours sincerely,


on behalf of those present at the meeting:
Zita Holbourne, BARAC UK
Constantia Pennie, Race Equality Foundation
Simon Woolley, Operation Black Vote
Race Equality Matters
Lord Herman Ouseley

With the continued support of:
Society of Black Lawyers
Blacksox
GMB Regional Equality Forum
Momentum Black Caucus
Northamptonshire Rights and Equality Council
Race Equality Matters (REM)
Wellingborough Black Consortium
Hanef Bhamjee, OBE, Secretary, Action for Southern Africa –Wales
Professor Gargi Bhattacharyya, University of East London, UCU Black Members' Standing Committee
Michael McEachrane, PhD, co-founder of IDPAD Coalition UK

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Statement by BARAC UK & Sarah Reed Campaign for Justice representatives on withdrawal from the Women of the World (WOW) festival

Statement by Zita Holbourne, Co-Chair:  Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC) UK & Donna McKoy, Chair: Sarah Reed Campaign for Justice (SRCfJ).
 
During this week commencing 6 March, we have been in dialogue with Jude Kelly, Artistic Director at the Southbank Centre regarding the decision to host a rapist at the Women of the World (WOW) Festival this weekend, in ‘South of Forgiveness’. 
 
Whilst we respect the right of Thordis Elva to deal with being raped in the way she feels is right for her, we do not accept the imposition of her rapist's presence on other women, some of whom may also be survivors of rape and at risk of being further traumatised by his presence. That WOW could ever have considered it acceptable to schedule a male rapist to address a woman's festival with no apparent concern for the impact of his presence, or the response, is astonishing. We also take issue with some of the implied messages in the presentation of their story. For example…
 
Elva’s rapist, Tom Stranger, has never been prosecuted for his crime, yet he is being provided a public platform that literally and figuratively elevates him, and appears to glorify rape.  
 
Elva and Stranger speak of meeting in South Africa to discuss the rape referencing the inspiration received from Truth and Reconciliation, the restorative justice that followed the abolition of apartheid, as one reason for this being an appropriate meeting place. We find this entirely inappropriate given that what we see today are the lingering and oppressive political and economic legacies of apartheid continuing to haunt South Africa.  
 
Elva speaks of a "normal" person who is raped "drinking a bottle of vodka and going to therapy". This is concerning on several levels. What constitutes "normal"? Isn’t the implication that the alternative is to be "abnormal"? The suggestion that all women drink alcohol ignores millions of women who for many and varied reasons (including personal, religious and/or cultural reasons) do not drink alcohol. It also disregards women who are displaced, living in poverty, or deprivation, who have no access to healthcare or therapy, women who because of stigma, shame or fear cannot or will not be in a position to tell anyone that they were raped, women who may be raped at knife point during conflict and war.
 
Jude Kelly has said that we need to change the focus of the discourse on rape from the victims to the perpetrators, but there will always need to be a focus on women who are victims of rape, because they are the ones impacted.
 
Whilst discourse on men as perpetrators needs to take place, we feel the decision made by the organisers of the WOW Festival to host a man who has never been prosecuted or sentenced for his crime, who has a book deal and tours the world promoting the book like a celebrity, is misguided.
 
We were pleased to learn that Jude Kelly had listened, not just to our voices, but to the voices of countless other women raising concerns about the presentation, and was removing the session from the Festival. However, we are concerned that the statement issued by WOW refers not to the importance of the women who raised concerns, many of whom are survivors and members of support groups, but rather to the importance of the event.
 
The fact that it will still take place at the same venue a couple of days later is deeply disappointing. The event has now been opened to the public and it has also been confirmed that WOW ticket holders will be invited to the talk at no additional cost. In this way, as stated by Jude Kelly, it will "enable as many people as possible to contribute outside a festival context". It is still, therefore, a WOW event. It is broadening the potential audience and further elevating the talk and disregarding or marginalising the voices of those who raised concerns. The statement reads as if the conversations she had, including with the two of us, were calling for the talk to have more prominence rather than what we were actually doing, calling for it to be removed from the Women of the World, an event designed to celebrate and honour women.
 
Sarah Reed was the victim of sexual violence whilst in hospital. When she defended herself, it was Sarah not the perpetrator who was arrested. Despite suffering a diagnosed mental health condition, she was imprisoned in Holloway, denied her medication and died in her cell under suspicious circumstances. An inquest into her death commences in April. Why is a rapist's voice elevated above Sarah's and the voices of other women like her?
 
We work in the trade union movement and communities to campaign for equality and justice. We see no equality or justice in providing a platform to a rapist who has never been punished on which to promote himself.
 
We have been invited to a "replacement" session on Saturday but feel unable in all good conscience to participate. We also do not feel it appropriate to participate in the sessions for which we were originally scheduled. Additionally, will we not be participating in the talk rescheduled to take place next week at Southbank. We have withdrawn from participating in this year’s WOW Festival for all the reasons stated above.
 
We will continue to support and work with WOW. However, in this instance, it is vital that we hold our allies to account and challenge their oppressive and inappropriate practices however difficult it may be.

Friday, 3 March 2017

Letter to EHRC from Race Equality Orgs : sacking of black staff

                     





David Isaacs CBE
Chair
Equality and Human Rights Commission
Fleetbank House
2-6 Salisbury Square
London EC4Y 8JX 3 March 2017

Dear David Isaac,

It is with sincere regret that we feel obliged to write to you about the decline in the number of BAME staff at the Commission.

It has come to our attention that the number of BAME staff - especially visible minorities - has been declining for several years without any serious attempt to halt or reverse it.

We understand that twelve members of staff were selected for compulsory redundancy. Only two of the twelve staff are White British. Eight are from a BAME background, four are Muslim, six are disabled.  Apparently, seven of the twelve members of staff were unceremoniously ‘sacked’ by email on 9 February and told their last day would be 10 February.

We further understand there are no visible minorities amongst the senior management team. The only one Black director, who was on the team, was among the twelve workers who were made redundant.  We also understand that all but two of your remaining BAME workers are in the lowest three grades.

We consider this a matter of grave concern.

The legacy commission, the Commission for Racial Equality, possessed a unique racial justice acumen shaped by its diverse workforce at every level and in all departments. We believe if the Commission is not similarly diverse, it will lose credibility, authority and legitimacy with the public.

In our opinion, it is not satisfactory or acceptable simply to say the percentage of BAME workers reflects the percentage in the national population and especially not with main offices in London and Manchester. But this is not just about numbers: the personal experiences and viewpoints, which a diverse workforce brings, are essential if the Commission is to challenge the majority or mainstream beliefs. In a climate of rising levels of racist and Islamophobic attacks and where the majority opinion in GB seems to be anti-immigrant, anti-Black and anti-Muslim, then it is even more important that the Commission’s staff can stand firm against prevailing views. We believe this means recruiting a larger percentage than that in the national population - or even the local population where that is higher than the national figure.

Also worrying is the assessment of these workers as having no skills. Some of them were at the forefront of maintaining good relations in times of heightened racial tensions during periods of riots, the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, and the 7/7 terror attacks. Such an assessment disregards the value of this work and their commitment to the protection and promotion of equality and human rights. (Presumably, it is a specification for working at the Commission that employees have a demonstrable understanding of discrimination and good relations?).

On a personal front, BAME workers are only too painfully aware of discrimination, racism and social injustice. You are unlikely to know the individuals, but each one will have a personal history of struggle, obstacles and racism. Yet, the Commission has effectively told them they have no skills to hold a job with it and their experiences have been dismissed with the cold despatch of an email.

We realise the Commission’s website says it plans to address any under-representation with positive action measures. This has been the Commission’s answer to the decline in the number of BAME staff since 2011/12 when the numbers started to fall dramatically. Yet, as far as we are aware, the Commission has never used positive action measures, despite its assurances to do so.

But, more importantly, we do not consider that BAME staff or job applicants lack the skills for a position at the Commission or that positive action is necessary to equip them with the necessary skills. Given the nature of the work, we think it is, quite frankly, an insult to suggest that they lack the skills. The Commission had BAME senior professionals, lawyers and directors but almost all have gone. And we believe it will be difficult to recruit BAME staff with this poor history as it doesn’t inspire confidence or respect.

Whilst we’ve welcomed your recent statements on race hate crime, we do not believe you can or should speak for our communities. And whilst you might consult us as stakeholders, we also want to see our communities represented amongst your workforce - and not just in lower grades. Until we see progress in this area, you risk losing our trust and confidence.

We take this opportunity to remind you that the Paris Principles on the status and functions of national human rights bodies require such bodies to be ‘established in accordance with a procedure which affords all necessary guarantees to ensure the pluralist representation of the social forces (of civilian society) involved in the protection and promotion of human rights.’ The Principles also require them to work with others ‘to combat racism, to protect particularly vulnerable groups (especially children, migrant workers, refugees, physically and mentally disabled persons)...’

Unfortunately, we doubt whether the Commission can meet these obligations.

We were also appalled by the brutal manner by which the Commission terminated the contracts of those made redundant on 9 February. We understand they were served with redundancy notices by email while they were on strike - a strike called by the trades unions - and told the next day would be their last day. Trade union rights are protected human rights. And the requirement for ‘pluralist representation’ includes trades union representation.

This behaviour must be unprecedented for any employer. But, we rightly expect more from the Commission than other employer. But, even if the Commission followed a lawful process, we still expect a fair and compassionate process - to do what’s morally right, not just what is lawful.

We would like to conclude by affirming our support for a strong and effective national equality and human rights body which is diverse at all levels - and not just in terms of race but other characteristics. (We are also worried by a similar decline in the number of disabled and older staff).

Sadly, we now have serious doubts about the Commission’s credibility, authority and legitimacy with our communities.

We would welcome an opportunity to discuss our concerns with you in a meeting.

Finally, please kindly note other organisations share our concerns but they were unable to sign at this time.

Yours sincerely,

Lord Herman Ouseley
Hanef Bhamjee, OBE, Secretary, Action for Southern Africa –Wales
Professor Gargi Bhattacharyya, University of East London, UCU Black Members' Standing Committee
Peter Herbert, Society of Black Lawyers
Michael McEachrane, PhD, co-founder of IDPAD Coalition UK
BARAC UK
Blacksox
GMB Regional Equality Forum
Momentum Black Caucus
Northamptonshire Rights and Equality Council
Operation Black Vote
Race Equality Matters (REM)
Wellingborough Black Consortium




Please reply to:
REM
c/o Coral Rose
8-9 Frith St
London W1D 3JB
email: raceequalitymatters@hotmail.com

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Brixton Moves Against Trump - community feeder march to the Lobby of Parliament - 20th February 4.30pm






Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC) UK has organised a feeder march from Kennington Park to Parliament  on 20th February, where we will join the main lobby of Parliament to demonstrate our complete opposition to Trump being granted a State visit to the UK. 

We will be assembling in Kennington Park at 4.30pm with speeches from grassroots community campaigns, departing at 5.30pm and marching to Parliament.
We have called this march to bring together Black (BME) and migrant communities and grassroots orgs campaigning against racism and xenophobia, to oppose Trump and to mark an One Day Without Us. 


1 Day Without Us is a National Day of Action on 20th Feb 2017 to celebrate the contribution of migrants to the UK, to coincide with UN World Day of Social Justice.For 24 hours, we are inviting migrants from inside and outside the European Union, and everyone who supports them, to celebrate the contribution that migrants make.


We will have a sound system leading the march and we are grateful to Lush for sponsoring this.


We invite you to join us. Please bring your home made placards, vuvuzelas and whistles to make some noise.



https://www.facebook.com/events/269899020099334/


http://www.1daywithoutus.org/


https://www.facebook.com/events/1799412480383866/

 


Friday, 10 February 2017

A public statement in defence of Labour Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott MP.

Defend Black Women

 We write in defence of Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott MP in the light of recent sustained attacks by sections of the media and politicians on the first and longest serving black woman MP in British politics.

We note the misogyny and racism of some of her critics and state for the record that Diane Abbott MP remains one of the most popular politicians within black and ethnic minority communities and her own constituency residents of Hackney North & Stoke Newington. It should be noted that since her groundbreaking election in 1987, her constituents representing one of the most diverse areas of the country have gone on to re-elect Diane with ever increasing electoral majorities.

Our general impression is that there has been heavy reporting on trivial issues with regards to Diane Abbott MP to create a moral panic about her leading position in government, supported by some sections of the media and some right wing politicians, who seem intent on unfairly denigrating one of Britain's most high-profile black women politicians.

Media comments on her recent illness, the attempt by David Davies MP to sexually assault Diane in Parliament and the deluge of online denigration and racist abuse Diane has suffered are unprecedented in  their offensiveness, scale and depth.

We welcome the suspension of Conservative Councillor Alan Permain, the deputy chairman of the South Ribble Conservative Association by the Conservative Party after he retweeted an utterly despicable image portraying Diane Abbott MP as an ape wearing lipstick.

We believe the Prime Minister Theresa May, needs to go further and offer a public apology to Ms Abbott for the racist abuse she suffered from an elected member of the Conservative Party and to permanently exclude Mr Permain from the Conservative Party.

We are deeply concerned, that despite reporting serious threats of violence and being subjected to extreme racist intimidation, the Metropolitan Police Services appears to have learned no lessons from the tragic murder of Jo Cox MP.  We call upon the London Mayor Sadiq Khan to launch an investigation into the apparent failure of the police to investigate these reported incidents. We are deeply concerned for the safety of Ms Abbott and that of her staff.

These facts taken together with the wider contexts of rising levels of racist and religious attacks in post Brexit Britain should constitute an anathema to all those in support of democracy and human rights.

We stand with Diane Abbott MP and call upon all those who oppose racism and sexism in public life to join with us.

Signed, 

BARAC UK
Co Chairs Zita Holbourne and Lee Jasper

Chair of Society of Black Lawyers  
Dr Peter Herbert OBE

Operation Black Vote 
David Weaver

Blaksox
Mr Viv Ahmun and Ms Pat Lamour

Momentum Black Caucus
Prof Cecile Wright Chair of and Mr Kingsley Abrahams General Secretary 

Councilor Ms Claudia Webbe - Islington Council. And Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport member of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party

BARAC UK
Co Chairs Zita Holbourne and Lee Jasper

Chair of Society of Black Lawyers 
Dr Peter Herbert OBE

Blaksox
Mr Viv Ahmun and Ms Pat Lamour

Momentum Black Caucus
Prof Cecile Wright Chair of and Mr Kingsley Abrams General Secretary 

Councilor Ms Claudia Webbe - Islington Council. And Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport member of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party


Black Social Work Network
Chair Alexander Macrae

Anthony Robinson
Human Rights & Equality Consultancy