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.

 

 

 

Asylum – a struggle for justice versus an industry?

CrisReport04915.JPGCristel Amiss, Black Women's Rape Action Project, Introduction
Women speak out in Parliament against detention, deportation, privatisation and profiteering. 14 January 2010
Report of meeting and more speaches

I want to begin by thanking John McDonnell for providing a meeting room. He has for the second time made it possible for women who are rarely heard to have a platform in parliament.

People will have seen that there is finally been condemnation in many quarters of the detention of children. But little is said about detention of mothers and other vulnerable people and the impact of that on children, families and the community. That is one of the aims of this meeting.

• You’ll hear women’s experiences of detention, deportation.
• Importantly you’ll hear about resistance both hunger strikes, public protest and day to day organising
• Hear about direct action including taken by asylum seekers themselves and by supporters
• Hear about privatisation and profiteering of those companies given contracts by governments to run services, detain and deport people
• Hear from a few committed professionals who have been ready to speak out about injustice they see
• Hear about what stands in our way to making real change including in some cases organisations that appear to be acting on behalf of people seeking asylum.

Because the fact is that on the issue of asylum as on other issues there are two approaches, one is a struggle and one is an industry.

We are here to strengthen the struggle and expose the industry which often stands in our way of getting justice.

The government chose the anniversary of the Race Relations Act to tell us that racism is no longer is an issue. That Black people don’t have it so bad compared to the discrimination against white working class people (assuming of course that working class people are only white). This is a classic trick to use one small truth to hide a bigger one: that is to use the undoubted discrimination that working class people face, whether we are Black or white, to hide racism. They will say that they have to tackle all discrimination in order to hide that they are not tackling any of it.

Not only is racism not dead, the issue of immigration is being used to fuel racism and divide us -- on this both Conservative and Labour seem to parrot the BNP. Racism against asylum seekers is seen as different from the racism those of us were born here or have papers who face. We can’t allow ourselves to be divided in that way. And we will not be disarmed by the fact that some of this comes from the mouths of Black people in power.

Crucially, what you will hear is suggestions about action we can take together. We will allow time for discussion on this. This is election year so we have to look at what we want to demand and how to most effectively get change.

Finally thank Anthony Wilson from the AW60 Trust for enabling us to bring women many of whom have no money, from out of town and to provide a crèche for mothers so they can fully participate tonight. He sent a lovely message which I’ll read later.

I’d now like to introduce my co chair, Maria Kasaga from AAWG. Maria is one of those extraordinary people who survive despite horrendous suffering. She has been detained deported and escaped back to Britain. She works tirelessly in support of women in detention. She is the mother of a four year-old – please a warm welcome for Maria.
 

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