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

Can you hear us?

Event

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Women’s uncensored experiences of detention and deportation

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Speakers include:

Paulina B – won a precedent setting case & compensation for illegal detention, Fatma K – centrally involved in a Yarl’s Wood hunger strike which led to over a dozen rape survivors being released, Celina M – witnessed the sprucing up of Yarl’s Wood in preparation for VIP visits, Jalia S – detained with her two small children – interviewed by TV on release.

Plus taped interviews with women currently detained or illegally deported.

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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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Landmark damages for rape survivor detained unlawfully

Listen to the radio interview below

Guardian headline: Asylum seeker illegally detained in UKA woman rape survivor has won unprecedented damages for being unlawfully detained in Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre. Ms B, who fled Cameroon having suffered rape and other torture was detained in December 2006 shortly after her arrival in the UK. She reported to the authorities that she was a rape survivor and according to detention rules should have been seen by a “medical practitioner” within 24 hours [1]. Her report of rape was ignored and she was put on the “fast track” for removal [2].


6:08 minutes (4.22 MB)
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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"

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Serco Research Institute

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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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