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.

 

 

 

Yarl's Wood

Jamila Ali Sami: Removal Cancelled!

Stop Press . . . Stop Press

Jamila Ali SamiYou’ll be as delighted as we are to know that Ms Sami won in the High Court today! The application for Judicial Review to stop her imminent removal was granted so that she could challenge the Home Office’s unjust claim that she is Kenyan. The Home Office have been forced to concede that “removal directions will be deferred until her claim has been fully considered”. Thanks to all who deluged Harriet Harman, Phil Woolas and Virgin Airlines with your heartfelt letters of support.  

On hearing the news, Ms Sami said ‘Like many others I faced removal based on Home Office lies and injustice. I am so happy that people supported me and I hope they will continue to support me and others being detained while seeking safety. Thank you all so much’.

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Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre staff caught “stealing” Guide on detainees’ rights

NEWS FLASH . . . 27 October 2008

Ms Wanjiku’s removal directions for Thursday 23 October were postponed as a result of last minute submissions by Jean Lambert MEP and Black Women’s Rape Action Project. Ms Wanjiku was seen by a doctor from Medical Justice Network and a legal team have said they will look into making a fresh claim. The other woman who was threatened with removal directions who also had her guide taken was RELEASED!

PRESS RELEASE . . . 20 October 2008

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International Women's Day 8 March 08 - Picket Serco "Close down Yarl's Wood & all Detention Centres"

Event
Serco Research Institute

Start and End Dates

Serco is the company that owns Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre where up to 405 women, children and men seeking asylum are detained at any time.  Legal Action for Women found that 70% of those detained reported being survivors of rape.   Women and their families are held in appalling conditions, and describe being subject to racist and sexist physical and verbal abuse.  They also state that the food served is inadequate, and that necessary items are sold at extortionate prices. Women have also complained that staff members have interfered with their attempts to contact their lawyers.

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Janipher Maseko fled Uganda after her mother died and she was raped by armed rebels.

She was 13 when she arrived in the UK. She was looking for a place of safety. This is what she found

The Guardian, Saturday 24 November 2007

Jnipher.jpgI came to this country five years ago, a desperate young teenager, alone, in search of help and safety. The last thing I expected was that I would end up sleeping on the streets in one of the richest countries in the world, hungry, cold, tired and bleeding. If, by telling my story, I can prevent the same thing happening to just one other woman and her children, then it will be worth speaking out.

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Independent Investigation demanded by women in Yarl's Wood Removal Centre

Women at an earlier demonstration

Women in Yarl’s Wood Removal Centre, whom we are working with on a daily basis, have asked us to circulate their letter (See file attachment below for the letter) highlighting the appalling conditions and grave injustice they face in detention. Their demand for an independent investigation to “listen to our grievances and give us justice”, is being raised at the same time as front page newspaper articles expose the widespread destitution of asylum seekers, racist attacks and violence from immigration guards against people during removal and attempts to deport Zimbabwean women weakened by over 40 days of hunger strikes.

In this letter, addressed to the European Court of Human Rights, the United Nations and the media, women protest at:

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Women in Yarl’s Wood Removal Centre on hunger strike protesting against SERCO’s draconian regime

UPDATE, 9 May 2007: Mothers join hunger strike
Black Women's Rape Action Project

Today 91 families, mainly single mothers with their children, some of whom have been detained for over three months, have joined the protest.

Mothers report that after 5pm their kids go hungry as there is no food available until 8am the next morning. Children can’t manage under such harsh conditions. Most can’t eat the meals provided because of the appalling quality and mothers worry that this is affecting their children’s health. Most children were born in Britain but their birth certificates have been confiscated by the immigration authorities. Women are also very concerned about the neglect of their children’s health. One woman whose son has a persistent cough has been told to give him water – she is desperately worried he may an infection, but no one will investigate his symptoms.

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Ms Janipher Maseko to be released from detention!

31 May 2007: On 29 May, following a wave of public outrage against the Home Office, social services and SERCO (the company running Yarl’s Wood Removal Centre), Ms Janipher Maseko, an 18 year old mother who was detained and separated from her two young children, was told that she and her children are to be released. Hundreds of letters, calls and other pressure forced the Home Office to concede that they could not justify her continued incarceration. Directions to remove her to Uganda have also been cancelled.

In the course of pressing for Ms Maseko to be reunited with her children and released, it came out that other mothers and babies had also been cruelly separated. In a letter to Lord Avebury about a Vietnamese mother and her six-month-old baby, Immigration Minister, Liam Byrne said:

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Stop the threatened removal of Janipher Maseko, breastfeeding mother with two babies

Update: On 29 May, following a wave of public outrage against the Home Office, social services and SERCO Ms Janipher Maseko, was told that she and her children are to be released.

Ms Janipher Maseko, aged 18, who had fled rape and violence in Uganda and sought asylum in the UK four years ago as an unaccompanied minor, contacted BWRAP on 18 May from Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre through a fax written with the assistance of other detained women whom BWRAP is helping. Ms Maseko was terrified that she would be deported without her newborn son and one-year-old daughter from whom she had been separated for about 10 days.

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Victims of rape and other torture win against unlawful detention and removal

An important report by the Chief Inspector of Prisons into healthcare at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre was published yesterday. It focused on “the support and treatment of detainees with mental and traumatic stress disorders, and on issues raised by the medical case management of two female detainees (Ms A and Ms B).” The detained women were two of nearly 300 rape survivors in Yarl’s Wood Removal Centre who have contacted Black Women’s Rape Action Project (BWRAP) and Women Against Rape (WAR) since June 2005. With other organizations, BWRAP and WAR provided intensive support to the two women and others who went on hunger strike with them to protest at conditions in detention and the threat of deportation. Like Ms A and Ms B, many vulnerable women in Yarl’s Wood and other detention centres are being left without legal representation, medical or any other kind of help.

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'Everything in my life has crumbled', the Guardian

A new study says that women asylum seekers who claim to have been raped in their own countries are rarely believed in British courts.

Laura Smith reports
Wednesday December 6, 2006, Guardian

When Amanda stepped off a boat in Southampton, earlier this year, she had, she says, just escaped a police cell in West Africa where she had been raped, sexually assaulted and tortured by guards and fellow prisoners. Suffering from severe abdominal pain and the trauma of leaving her two young children behind, she believed she had reached safe ground. But days after her arrival in Britain, she was taken to a detention centre and locked up for a month, during which time her asylum claim was rejected.

With no legal representation at her appeal, Amanda was forced to relive her ordeal before a judge she found hostile, and who accused her of lying about the rape. The appeal was turned down.

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