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.

 

 

 

detention

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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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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Message of support for women on hunger strike in Yarl's Wood from John McDonnell MP

"That these women have been driven to make the only form of protest left available to them - to risk their own lives in the pursuit of justice and dignity - is a testament to the inhumanity and barbarism of immigration detention.

We urgently need an investigation into the alarming reports and allegations of mistreatment and clarification at all the women's well being.

Hidden away and out of sight thousands of migrants are being imprisoned and degraded - many of whom are victims of torture and abuse. This Government's appalling treatment of people who have simply moved from one country to another is a disgraceful mark of shame on UK's human rights record. The true measure of a civilised society is how it treats some of its most vulnerable members."

John McDonnell MP

 

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Women hunger strikers under threat of deportation

ACTION ALERT 21 February 2010

Over 22 women are still on hunger strike in Yarl’s Wood Removal Centre. Five are on suicide watch and one has been taken to health care after self-harming. At least eight women have been threatened with removal since the start of the hunger strike on 5 February. Four women were transferred to prison. Three women have managed to stop their removals and others are in the process of doing so with the help of supporters and lawyers. At least five women have been released. Some have been referred to lawyers because they suffered violence and racist abuse from guards or because their detention is illegal.

Women are demanding:

an independent investigation into reports that women were subjected to violence, mistreatment and racist abuse from guards, were “kettled” for over five hours in a hallway, denied access to toilets and water and locked out in the freezing cold;

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Women in Yarl's Wood vow to stay on hunger strike until they are released

We have spoken to over 50 women in the last few days and they all have a compelling case to be released: their continued detention is either inhumane or contravenes Home Office rules. Some have been referred to lawyers because their detention is illegal.[1]
 

STOP PRESS: we just heard that one woman has been released but three others faced removal. 50 still on hunger strike

Most women are:

SURVIVORS OF RAPE AND OTHER TORTURE[2] Operations Enforcement Manual rules say they should only be detained “under very exceptional circumstances.”

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URGENT Women on Hunger strike in Yarl’s Wood being beaten by guards

Black Women's Rape Action Project
8 February 2010

Over fifty women are currently trapped in an airless hallway in Yarl’s Immigration Removal Centre. On Friday 5 February they began a hunger strike. Today they were herded into the hallway were they have been left there for over two hours without access to water or toilets. Four women, including an asthma sufferer, have fainted.Around 1.30 the guards came into the hallway and started to beat women.

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We are dismissed because we are women, because we are Black and because we are asylum seekers

Jeto Flaviah
Mothers’ Campaign of the All African Women’s Group
Women speak out in Parliament against detention, deportation, privatisation and profiteering. 14 January 2010
Report of meeting and more speaches

Our campaign is a campaign of mothers who are claiming asylum in this country and who were forced to leave our children behind when we fled here. The problem we face is that mothers are not recognised as mothers when we don’t have our children with us.

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