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.

 

 

 

Black Women's Rape Action Project

Founded in 1991, we are one of the few Black women's organisations specialising in offering counselling, support and advice to Black women and other women of colour, immigrant and refugee women, who have suffered rape, sexual assault or other violence

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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Legal challenge over Yarl's Wood women

In the Media

Centre breaching human rights, say lawyers
Treatment of inmates is 'cruel and degrading'

Matthew Taylor
The Guardian, Monday 1 March 2010

Lawyers are due to launch a legal challenge today on behalf of four women held at Yarl's Wood detention centre, claiming their incarceration amounts to "cruel, inhumane and degrading" treatment that breaches their human rights.

The lawyers, who say they will submit the application at the high court in London, are applying for a judicial review of the government's detention policy, claiming it breaches articles 3, 5 and 8 of the European convention on human rights.

"This disgraceful policy will now be the subject of legal challenge," said Phil Shiner, of Public Interest Lawyers, which is bringing the action. "It is unlawful and we are calling, on behalf of our clients, for the policy to be struck down and for there to be an independent investigation."

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Immigration bosses to be quizzed after asylum seekers were 'beaten' by guards

In the Media

MPs to investigate claims that women in Yarl's Wood detention centre were physically abused by officers during hunger strike

Mark Townsend, home affairs editor
The Observer, Sunday 28 February 2010

Senior Home Office officials will be questioned this week over allegations that women inside Yarl's Wood immigration detention centre were assaulted by staff using riot shields.

The Observer has gathered a series of testimonies from detainees inside the Bedfordshire centre who claimed they had witnessed women being beaten and injured during a disturbance this month.

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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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