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.

 

 

 

Yarl's Wood hunger strike

Mothers win right to family life in the UK

Success story

Mothers win right to family life in the UK

Two mothers, both of whom have lived in the UK for over 10 years and whose children were born here, have resisted efforts to return them to Jamaica and have now won the right to stay in the UK under Article 8 of the Human Rights Act (Article 8, the right to respect for private and family life.)  One woman took part in the 40 day hunger strike at Yarl’s Wood Removal Centre to bring attention to the injustice of her case.

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We are here because . . .

Resource

We are here because . . .

. . .  is an inspiring and moving collection of online video and other testimonies, filmed, recorded, edited and produced by Black/women of colour, who are service users and volunteers with Black Women’s Rape Action Project. The testimonies are the product of an invaluable process whereby women from different backgrounds worked together, developed technical skills, and learnt from each other.

The majority are members of the All African Women’s Group a self-help group of women asylum seekers.  Most are mothers, some have been in detention, many have been separated from their children.  All give deeply compelling and often painful accounts of what they have been, and still go through, to get protection and rebuild their lives.

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Yarl's Wood Hunger Striker released after a year!

In the Media

STOP PRESS! Denise McNeil was released from prison today!

Below is an important article from the Observer about Denise McNeil, one of the hunger strikers, who has been held in Holloway Prison since February last year (BWRAP is quoted).

The Free the Yarl's Wood 3! have organised a campaign planning meeting, 6pm-7.30pm, Fri 28 January, at Fin Future, 225-229 Seven Sisters Road, Finsbury Park, London, N4 2DA – more information [freedenisenow@gmail.com].

Yarl's Wood mother jailed without charge for a year to 'silence' her

Denise McNeil has now spent a year in Holloway prison without charge following the end of the hunger strike at Yarl's Wood detention centre

Mark Townsend
The Observer, Sunday 16 January 2011

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Public Meeting: Women’s Hunger Strike Louder Than Words

Event

Start and End Dates

Over 40 days • across races & languages • mothers defend families • many released • deportations halted.

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Yarl’s Wood Update: Releases, Returns, Reprisals, 9 June 2010

RELEASES: THIRTEEN FORMER HUNGER STRIKERS HAVE NOW BEEN RELEASED of the 25 or so we were in touch with on a daily basis.
All had spent months in detention and one woman had been there for a year and a half. Some had WON THEIR CASE but were being kept inside by a vindictive Home Office which was appealing the judgement. Women described feeling like forgotten people. One of the key demands of the hunger strike was for an end to indefinite detention.

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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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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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