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.

 

 

 

Support Messages for “Women’s uncensored experiences of detention and deportation”, 14 January 2010

Anthony Wilson, AW60 Trust
I'm very glad to hear from Heather that AW60 has been able to contribute to the parliamentary event on Thursday. Sorry not to be able to attend.

A simple but glaring political point: what is the PM doing apologising for sending children to Australia 60 years ago when he is responsible for detaining and deporting them now?

I hope that you will get a good hearing from MPs. Only a handful may actually turn up, but that is enough for powerful publicity - you have friendly journalists lined up?
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Jock Morris, Chair Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees
Please pass our message of support and solidarity to your meeting. In Glasgow our campaign and many other groups continue to fight for justice for asylum seekers. Our starting point is that, while there is long-standing and deep-rooted racism in our society, far too much of it, there is also a counter tradition that challenges that, a tradition of anti-racism and international solidarity that goes back to and beyond the 18th century campaign against the slave trade and has informed countless campaigns since.

Our Campaign always seeks to unite local communities and asylum seeker residents in common cause and to strengthen and generalise their campaigning by winning support from trade union bodies, politicians and other organisations. The people of the Kingsway flats united to organise a dawn watch for dawn raids culminating in a linked arms picket line across the doors of a high rise block and the Home Office dawn raid vans being turned back. Since then there has hardly been a dawn raid in Glasgow. Unfortunately, instead, asylum seekers are detained when signing on.

Two huge demonstrations outside Dungavel, called by the Scottish Trade Union Congress, have resulted in Dungavel no longer being used for the long term detention of children and therefore also their parents, only as an overnight transit camp before being moved south. The Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council and the Home Office are conducting a trial of a more "humane" way of persuading families to accept deportation. So far we are hearing disturbing stories of emotional bullying.

The extensive campaigning won widespread sympathy here for asylum seeker children and resulted in virtually all of our 1500 long stay families winning the right to remain by one means or another. However, families continue to be deported, especially under the New Asylum Model but we do have some individual successes, the most recent being a mother and daughter, supported by a community campaign, local politicians and trade unions, returned to Glasgow from Yarl’s Wood, although their case continues. Single people and families with adult children remain more vulnerable.

The credit crunch and the resultant promises of spending cuts from all the main political parties will make things even harder for asylum seekers. We will be fighting back against this and uniting with other people who fight back always arguing with those who are oppressed and exploited to make common cause for united we stand and divided we fall.

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Frances Swaine, Leigh Day Co solicitors
"This is a wonderful sounding event, and I wish AAWG and BWRAP the very best of luck with the evening. I hope it raised the profile for all those who are maltreated in detention and during deportation - and that it is one step along the way to challenging and changing the system for the future."

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Sir John Alleyne
Please accept my apologies for not being able to attend this important meeting
I do congratulate you on your work in supporting women victims of rape and life threatening abuse, and for the way you are arousing the public and especially officials of the immigration courts to the necessity for understanding and justice.
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Gill - Chair, Yarl's Wood Befrienders
I am very sorry that Yarl's Wood Befrienders will be unable to be with you on the 14th. As you know 'Motherland' is being performed in Bedford that evening, and it is important that the befrienders support that event in order to raise awareness of the plight of detained families in the immediate locality of Yarl's Wood Detention Centre.

However, we will be with you in spirit, and pleased be assured that, as always, we are committed and united in working together to end the evil practise of detaining children and families. We wish you every success with your event and look forward to the day when we can all celebrate the end of detention for the most vulnerable group in our invidious asylum process.

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Shamik Dutta Fisher Meredith Solicitor, has worked with us on bringing civil cases against the authorities for unlawful detention

Thank you very much for the invite. Unfortunately I'm in court all week this week and working late into the evenings at the office as a result so I can't make the meeting.

I do wish you all the best with this and all the other outstanding work that you do.

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Dr Jonathan Fluxman
on behalf of Medical Justice Network
Many people will be aware that last month, four Royal Colleges, i.e. of General Practitioners, Paediatrics and Child Health, Psychiatrists and Public Health issued a public statement calling for the end of immigration detention for children due to the severe harm suffered by children held principally at Yarls Wood. We have come to believe that immigration detention is fundamentally harmful to all people's health, both adults and children, and should cease forthwith. ________________________________________

Clare Sambrook, End Child Detention Now
We are delighted to send our support to the Black Women's Rape Action Project and the All African Women's Group. We acknowledge your important work in highlighting the devastating impact of detention on women and children, in drawing attention to its punitive and sometimes violent nature, and to mothers’ heartbreaking separation from their children. We congratulate you on your work in raising awareness about the true nature of detention.

It is crucial that attention is drawn to the fact that many vulnerable women and children are detained without adequate legal representation and are forced to represent themselves. We believe that women who are denied proper legal representation are seriously prejudiced in their access to justice and congratulate you on illuminating this issue.

Like the Black Women's Rape Action Project and the All African Women's Group, End Child Detention Now is seeking to raise awareness of the treatment of some of the most vulnerable members of our community and calls for child detention is brought to an immediate end.
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Bruce Kent
Sadly I cannot come on the 14th but I have forwarded your message both to Pax Christi and to the Westminster Justice and peace network. You are all doing wonderful work ---the cruelty that we turn a blind eye to is a national disgrace.
I well remember the police coming to a little restaurant where i used to have lunch near Old Street and taking a Columbian woman, who had overstayed, away. They then went to her child’s school and took the child.
By nightfall mother and child were on their way out of this country.
That is a mild story by the standards of some of yours. Thank you for all you do for the most vulnerable. God has no favourites.
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Marilyn Thomas sent messages from
SWANSEA BAY ASYLUM SEEKERS SUPPORT GROUP, SWANSEA ASYLUM WOMEN’S SUPPORT GROUP, SWANSEA AFRICAN COMMUNITY CENTRE

We would like people to take a moment to remember the women and children from Swansea whose lives have been ruined by the Home Office’s policy of snatching and detaining women and children.

Some have been returned to their own countries and are still living in hiding [- bright children who could have contributed so much to the UK but now not able to access education because of living underground. ] Here is a quote from one of them, after a year in hiding. "Here everything is very bad because somebody shot our mum's father and his two sons with gun"- they were deported after many reports of torture and abuse were ignored by the HO.

Others have experienced detention and are still in the UK - but living in constant fear of the “knock on the door”. Formerly happy children now have nightmares and are living in fear.

We absolutely reject the Home Office “justification” of this policy on the grounds that “failed asylum seekers” are not in need of protection. It is not our friends living in such distress and fear that have failed but the Home Office system. There are too many times when officials do not adhere the established “gender guidelines” and therefore women do not get the chance to present their case; There is insufficient legal help to appeal against wrong decisions. There is also no monitoring of the fate that people meet once they are forcibly returned to their original countries.

Putting children in prison is wrong. Separating women from their children in wrong. This treatment of vulnerable women - 70% of whom are rape survivors - and their children, is a gross violation of their human rights that undermines the UK's historical commitment to equality and decency”.
All best wishes for your meeting

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Denise McDowell Director Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit
It’s a great campaign which we will support it in whatever ways we can.
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David Reilly – Glasgow - message of support in a personal capacity
In Scotland we are shamed by the existence of Dungavel detention centre. We are also inspired by the courage and determination of refugees who have resisted detention to fight for justice.
It should be a proud badge of honour for any country that someone should choose to seek sanctuary here.

Instead, we have allowed this honour to be twisted into lies that use words like ‘bogus’, ‘failed’ and ‘scroungers’.

Your brave speakers will declare a vital truth; that refugees are met in the UK by grim poverty and hostility and the constant fear of indefinite and detention. All too often we have seen the brutal affect that indefinite detention without trial or judicial oversight has on those who have been kept there.

We have duty to listen to and be led by these women as they show us how to fight for justice, for these and many reasons I am proud to send support, admiration and solidarity.
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Morgan Gallagher Nursing Matters

I can't be with you all tonight, as we moved back to Scotland a few weeks ago. In the time I've been involved with the mothers and babies in Yarl's Wood, I've spoken to dozens of mothers, and blogged to hundreds more. At every point, I've had some people respond with "That can't be true. We don't do things like that here." And when I've shown that everything I've reported is documented... they've turned away and stopped listening. It's too difficult to hear. We don't do things like that here. And yet, these things are done. One mother, who refused to accept that Yarl's Wood had left a mother holding her hungry baby for over 18 hours, with no specialised medical formula to feed the baby... still didn't accept it had happened, even when faced with the medical notes signed by Yarl's Wood staff. It just could not be true - it made no sense to here that that could happen in Britain.

Whilst individuals refuse to hear painful facts about what goes on in this country... statutory agencies will feel safe in carrying on.

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Natasha Walter
I'm sorry I can't get to this event because of our Motherland evening in Bedford.
I would like to send my support to all concerned in it and I hope it raises the necessary understanding and anger.
best wishes
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Jessica Silverstone
I am glad to hear that women who have been detained and deported are now having the opportunity to tell of their experiences. I hope the system becomes more humane very quickly. Good luck with your campaign on this issue, the current situation is an absolute disgrace.

 

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