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Law, Race and Brexit Britain - Launch Event for Birkbeck Centre for Researc...
Mon 15 May 2017, 14:00 – 16:00 BST
Law, Race and Brexit Britain - Launch Event for Birkbeck Centre for Research on Race and Law
In recent years, racist nationalism and fascism have increasingly found havens in countries across the world. The vote to leave the European Union in Britain, and the election of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States, each followed campaigns which propagated explicitly racist ideals. The EU referendum debate was eclipsed by the topic of migration. The Leave campaign argued that exiting the EU would allow Britain to ‘take back control of its borders’ and would ‘make Britain great again’. The epitome of the Leave campaign’s scaremongering about migration was perhaps the moment Nigel Farage unveiled a poster depicting non-white refugees crossing the Croatia-Slovenia border in 2015 along with the slogan “Breaking Point”. These victories have resulted in the legitimisation of racism and white supremacy. In Britain, a week prior to the referendum pro-immigration Labour MP, Jo Cox, was brutally murdered by a man who shouted Britain First as he killed her, and who gave his name in court on being charged with her murder as “Death to traitors. Freedom for Britain”. Since the referendum, racist hate crime has increased by 16% across Britain, and peaked at a 58% rise in the week following the vote. Weeks after the referendum, Arkadiusz Jóźwik was beaten to death in Essex, having reportedly been attacked for speaking Polish in the street. Legal scholars, activists and practitioners seeking to redress the climate of increasingly hostile and explicit racism, and counter the risk of its normalisation, face a number of challenges, including enhanced executive power, heightened government surveillance, the effects of cuts to legal aid, and widespread racial profiling and stigmatisation of Muslims under policies such as Prevent. This interdisciplinary roundtable addresses these urgent issues, raising the question of what strategies lawyers and activists can adopt in mobilising against recent dangerous trends.
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Chair: Patricia Tuitt (Birkbeck)