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.

 

 

 

End the detention of rape survivors

PRESS RELEASE: Hunger striker released from Holloway

Following a third bail hearing on 26 April, Ms K won her long overdue release from Holloway prison.

Ms K participated in the recent six week hunger strike in Yarl's Wood Removal Centre. She was wrongly labelled a ring-leader by guards and on the fourth day, tricked into leaving the crowd of other women, snatched and ghosted to Holloway. She suffered racist abuse from guards and was told "You are from the jungle, you should go back."

Ms K then faced an onslaught of unfounded and shameful allegations from UKBA aimed at discrediting her and preventing her release. Her solicitor Toufique Hossain, Lawrence Lupin Solicitors and barrister Raza Halim, Garden Court Chambers had to work overtime to prove that these allegations were false.

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We must end the detention of families

In the Media

The Guardian, Tuesday 18 May 2010  Letters

"We will end the detention of children for immigration purposes," says the new coalition government (Asylum children will be kept out of 'distressing' detention centres, 14 May). But what about their mothers?

Paediatricians and psychologists have testified to the mental and physical harm caused to children by detention. But separating them from their mother or primary carer is even worse; it may cause "insecurity, depression and anxiety" which lasts throughout life.

The recent six-week hunger strike by women in Yarl's Wood removal centre brought to public attention that many women detained inside are mothers whose children were taken by social services or other family members. Some face deportation and permanent separation, often after years of raising a family in the UK.

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UPDATE 20 March 2010: YARL’S WOOD HUNGER STRIKE

Hunger strike suspended

On Friday 19 March, most of the women who have been refusing food, suspended their hunger strike in order to avoid permanent damage to their health. Women have vowed to resume the strike if the authorities don’t investigate their complaints about indefinite detention, appalling conditions and arbitrary removals - see women’s statement. A legal challenge had to be mounted by Leigh Day solicitors to force the Yarl’s Wood authorities to carry out “medical risk assessments to ascertain the specific risk of refeeding syndrome and follow Dept. of Health Guidelines on refeeding.” Medical Justice is pursuing this. No appropriate food has been provided and, last night, two women were sick.

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Letter in the Observer: "The sorrow in Yarl's Wood"

Letters

The Observer
Sunday 21 March 2010

The sorrow in Yarl's Wood

Your editorial ("We punish those we should protect") gave a rare accurate picture of the inhumane asylum process. It came just as mothers suspend their six-week hunger strike in Yarl's Wood removal centre. Women have vowed to resume the strike if the authorities don't investigate their complaints about indefinite detention, appalling conditions and arbitrary removals.

Callous disregard for women's lives has characterised the authorities' response so far. Three have attempted suicide by drinking bleach and other toxic substances, hanging themselves or by slitting their wrists.

After the latest suicide attempt, Serco, the private company which runs Yarl's Wood, said: "We have no concerns."

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URGENT: WOMEN SUSPEND HUNGER STRIKE in YARL'S WOOD

We have just received the email below announcing the suspension of the hunger strike by women in Yarl's Wood pending a response from UKBA and SERCO to their legitimate demands. Several women have reported being very ill as a result of over five weeks without food. Nevertheless they are determined to press for justice.

Please circulate widely and support the demands of women who have so bravely challenged the authorities and exposed the injustice of detaining children, mothers and other vulnerable women, the appalling conditions in detention including racist abuse and other violence, the brutal response to their peaceful protest and the inhumanity of sending women back to possible persecution, rape and other torture.
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UPDATE: Women on hunger strike in Yarl’s Wood, Tuesday 9 March

STOP PRESS: Twelve women released from Yarl’s Wood yesterday!!! We’ll have more news by the end of the day.

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Recent press:

Big Issue Scotland
BBC: "MP demands Yarl's Wood hunger strike inquiry"

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HUNGER STRIKE UPDATE: Tuesday 2 March 2010

We spoke with nineteen women yesterday who confirmed they remain steadfastly on hunger strike.

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Action for Women in 3rd week of hunger strike @ Yarl's Wood IRC

Women have now been on hunger strike for three weeks in Yarl’s Wood Removal Centre and continue to need your support. We enclose an update below. Please take action:

1. Ask your MP to sign Early Day Motion 919 “Hunger Strike at Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre” (see below). You might want to send them the update so they are armed against Home Office propaganda.

2. Write to ministers demanding: that mothers, victims of rape and other torture and all vulnerable women be immediately released; an independent investigation into the treatment of hunger strikers; a moratorium on all removals and deportations.

· Phil Woolas MP, the Minister of State for Borders and Immigration woolasp@parliament.uk or http://www.philwoolasmp.org/emailPhil.html

· Rt Hon Alan Johnson MP, Home Secretary johnsona@parliament.uk or public.enquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

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