This is the joint website of  Women Against Rape and Black Women's Rape Action Project. Both organisations are based on self-help and provide support, legal information and advocacy. We campaign for justice and protection for all women and girls, including asylum seekers, who have suffered sexual, domestic and/or racist violence.

WAR was founded in 1976. It has won changes in the law, such as making rape in marriage a crime, set legal precedents and achieved compensation for many women. BWRAP was founded in 1991. It focuses on getting justice for women of colour, bringing out the particular discrimination they face. It has prevented the deportation of many rape survivors. Both organisations are multiracial.

 

 

 

Black Women's Rape Action Project

Founded in 1991, we are one of the few Black women's organisations specialising in offering counselling, support and advice to Black women and other women of colour, immigrant and refugee women, who have suffered rape, sexual assault or other violence

Message of support for women on hunger strike in Yarl's Wood from John McDonnell MP

"That these women have been driven to make the only form of protest left available to them - to risk their own lives in the pursuit of justice and dignity - is a testament to the inhumanity and barbarism of immigration detention.

We urgently need an investigation into the alarming reports and allegations of mistreatment and clarification at all the women's well being.

Hidden away and out of sight thousands of migrants are being imprisoned and degraded - many of whom are victims of torture and abuse. This Government's appalling treatment of people who have simply moved from one country to another is a disgraceful mark of shame on UK's human rights record. The true measure of a civilised society is how it treats some of its most vulnerable members."

John McDonnell MP

 

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Women hunger strikers under threat of deportation

ACTION ALERT 21 February 2010

Over 22 women are still on hunger strike in Yarl’s Wood Removal Centre. Five are on suicide watch and one has been taken to health care after self-harming. At least eight women have been threatened with removal since the start of the hunger strike on 5 February. Four women were transferred to prison. Three women have managed to stop their removals and others are in the process of doing so with the help of supporters and lawyers. At least five women have been released. Some have been referred to lawyers because they suffered violence and racist abuse from guards or because their detention is illegal.

Women are demanding:

an independent investigation into reports that women were subjected to violence, mistreatment and racist abuse from guards, were “kettled” for over five hours in a hallway, denied access to toilets and water and locked out in the freezing cold;

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Why I am on hunger strike at Yarl's Wood

In the Media

Denise McNeil, one of the detainees at Yarl's Wood, explains why she has been on hunger strike for the last two weeks

The Guardian, Monday 22 February 2010

Twenty women at Yarl's Wood ­detention centre in Bedford have been on hunger strike for two and a half weeks in protest at their treatment by the immigration ­authorities. Here, one of them, Denise McNeil, tells her story:

I have been on hunger strike for more than a fortnight. I feel weak and get terrible headaches. A ­doctor says I should eat, but I am still refusing food. I can't sleep because I am woken every hour of the night when the light goes on and somebody here checks on me.

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Women in Yarl's Wood vow to stay on hunger strike until they are released

We have spoken to over 50 women in the last few days and they all have a compelling case to be released: their continued detention is either inhumane or contravenes Home Office rules. Some have been referred to lawyers because their detention is illegal.[1]
 

STOP PRESS: we just heard that one woman has been released but three others faced removal. 50 still on hunger strike

Most women are:

SURVIVORS OF RAPE AND OTHER TORTURE[2] Operations Enforcement Manual rules say they should only be detained “under very exceptional circumstances.”

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Yarl's Wood women on hunger strike 'locked up and denied treatment'

In the Media

Hunger strikers at immigration centre tell of squalid conditions

'We are not criminals; we are ordinary people who are being locked up and threatened', says hunger striker at Yarl's Wood
 

Afua Hirsch and Matthew Taylor
guardian.co.uk, Friday 12 February 2010

Pressure is mounting for an inquiry after female hunger strikers at Yarl's Wood described squalid conditions and made an allegation of racism at the immigration detention centre.

As the Home Office admitted improvements were needed at the Bedfordshire centre, it emerged that four "ringleaders" had been transferred to prison.

About 70 women were detained in an airless corridor without water or toilet facilities on Monday, three days after the start of the hunger strike.

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Yarl's Wood women remain on hunger strike

In the Media

c4-logo.gifYarl's Wood women remain on hunger strike
Channel 4 News - watch report here

Updated on 09 February 2010
By Jane Deith

A group of women being held at Yarl's Wood immigration centre are refusing food for a fifth day in protest over the length of detention and being separated from children.

Yarl's Wood immigration centre near Bedford is the UK's main removal centre for women and families. It can hold 405 people in four wings.

A hunger strike that started on Friday quickly spread. Some women, angry at being separated from their children, refused food.

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URGENT Women on Hunger strike in Yarl’s Wood being beaten by guards

Black Women's Rape Action Project
8 February 2010

Over fifty women are currently trapped in an airless hallway in Yarl’s Immigration Removal Centre. On Friday 5 February they began a hunger strike. Today they were herded into the hallway were they have been left there for over two hours without access to water or toilets. Four women, including an asthma sufferer, have fainted.Around 1.30 the guards came into the hallway and started to beat women.

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We are dismissed because we are women, because we are Black and because we are asylum seekers

Jeto Flaviah
Mothers’ Campaign of the All African Women’s Group
Women speak out in Parliament against detention, deportation, privatisation and profiteering. 14 January 2010
Report of meeting and more speaches

Our campaign is a campaign of mothers who are claiming asylum in this country and who were forced to leave our children behind when we fled here. The problem we face is that mothers are not recognised as mothers when we don’t have our children with us.

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Women speak out in Parliament against detention, deportation, privatisation and profiteering 14 January 2010


audiencewideshot.JPGWith recent press coverage shedding light on the devastating impact of detention on children, and the public outrage that followed, it was no surprise that a meeting on the detention of mothers and other vulnerable people in the House of Commons 14 January, was packed with over 150 people squeezed into all corners of the room.

Organised by the All African Women’s Group (AAWG) and Black Women’s Rape Action Project (BWRAP) with the help of John McDonnell MP, the meeting heard from nine women recently released from Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre. They graphically described the conditions they suffered as well as the resistance they organised through hunger strikes, public protests and day-to-day direct action. They talked about acting together and not apart, to force a change.

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