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.

 

 

 

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’.

Some of you will have received a misleading statement from Ms Harman which claims that: “she has been in contact with Ms Sami’s solicitors”. This was only to confirm Ms Sami lived in Southwark. That “the Home Office have confirmed that Ms Sami is of Kenyan origin and had applleid for a visa from Kenya. A copy of her application has been forwarded to her lawyers." But this document has not been sent to Ms Sami’s legal team. Shockingly, neither they nor Ms Sami have been told on what basis the Home Office continue to dispute her nationality.

Thanks to the widespread public support and the determined work of her lawyers, Ms Sami’s flight was stopped and we hope she will be released shortly. Other women, children and families in Yarl’s Wood have little or no help, and often are without any legal representation or support. As a result, many are sent back to face further rape and other violence, even death. If you would like to know more about how you can help, please do contact us.

Paul Kelly, paul.surplus@googlemail.com

Black Women’s Rape Action Project bwrap@dircon.co.uk 07980 659 831
 

STOP the deportation of Jamila Ali Sami

Sat 27 June on Virgin Flight No:VS671 to Nairobi, Kenya at 19.15

Our dear friend and active member of the All African Women’s Group (AAWG) was detained on June 23 while signing at the UK Border Agency at Communication House. She is currently being held in Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre.

Ms Sami is from the island of Koyama off the coast of Somalia. She and her family were victims of repeated attacks by rival clans. Ms Sami and her mother were brutally raped during these attacks. After her parents were killed Ms Sami was forced to flee leaving her three children behind. The Home Office claim that Ms Sami is from Kenya and on Saturday plan to send her back to a country where she has never lived and with which she has no connection.
Ms Sami arrived in the UK on 25 June 2007 and was immediately detained when she claimed asylum. Her case was “fast-tracked” in detention and she had no time to gather expert evidence. She was unrepresented at her Appeal Hearing and could not understand or speak English. Her claim was refused by notoriously biased immigration judge Warren L Grant[1] on 12 July 2007. Ms Sami was eventually released after five months when the Kenyan High Commission interviewed her and confirmed that she was not from Kenya. A friend referred her to Black Women’s Rape Action Project (BWRAP). She was initially given NASS[2] accommodation, but after three weeks was made homeless. A volunteer with BWRAP provided housing and food for Ms Sami through her network of friends.

Despite compelling evidence the Home Office refuse to believe what happened to Ms Sami and are disputing both her nationality and identity. They claim she is another woman and want to return her to Kenya. She has recently changed her solicitor and her new legal representatives, Birnberg Peirce were in the process of gathering expert evidence for a fresh claim when she was detained.

As a rape and torture survivor Ms Sami should never have been detained. Home Office Guidelines state that vulnerable people will only be detained in “exceptional circumstances”. According to Detention Centre Rule 35 “Where a request is received from a detainee/or his/her Legal Representatives that the detainee be released from detention in order to obtain an independent medical report, the officer responsible for managing detention should consider the request in light of all the facts.” Ms Sami’s solicitors have told the Home Office that she has an appointment with a country expert on the 13 July who can corroborate her testimony and got the response that “she will be gone from the UK by then.”

Ms Sami has been supported for over 18 months by a close-knit community in Peckham. From when she first moved there people dedicated themselves to teaching her English, with such success that Ms Sami is now training to be a midwife. She has made close friends and is dearly loved. She depends on the unique support and counselling services provided by BWRAP all of which would be unavailable to her if she is sent back to Kenya where she has never lived. Ms Sami is committed to helping other women in her situation and takes time between her studies to volunteer on ecology projects. Ms Sami wants the right to remain in the UK, find her children, be able to rebuild her life and to care for others by becoming a midwife.

Further details, or to interview Ms Sami contact:

Paul Kelly, paul.surplus@googlemail.com

Black Women’s Rape Action Project bwrap@dircon.co.uk 07980 659 831
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[1] For more information on Warren L Grant see Misjudging Rape: Breaching Gender Guidelines and International Law in Asylum Appeals A Dossier of how adjudicators (now known as immigration judges) flout international law and even their own guidelines when they consider the asylum claims of women and girls seeking safety and protection from rape. http://www.allwomencount.net/Publications/pamphlets.htm

[2] National Asylum Support Services - a section of the UK (BIA), which is responsible for supporting and accommodating people seeking asylum while their cases are being dealt with.

What you can do to help:

Write to the Home Secretary and Ms Sami’s MP, Harriet Harman, asking them to release her so that she can fully present her case to the immigration authorities. Contact Virgin Airlines asking them not to collaborate with Ms Sami’s removal.

Rt. Hon. Alan Johnson, Secretary of State for the Home Office

Fax: 020 7035 3262 public.enquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk make clear you want your letter to be passed to his office

Rt Hon Harriet Harman, harmanh@parliament.uk, enquiries@geo.gov.uk make clear you want your letter to be passed to her office

VIRGIN: customer.relations@fly.virgin.com or fax o844 209 8708
Press office 01293 747 373 katie.francis@fly.virgin.com

Please send copies of any letters to:

Paul Kelly, paul.surplus@googlemail.com

Black Women’s Rape Action Project bwrap@dircon.co.uk

Legal Action for Women law@crossroadswomen.net

Please sign BWRAP’s Asylum from Rape Petition

for the official recognition of rape as torture and persecution

History: ACTION ALERT

STOP the deportation of Jamila Ali Sami

Sat 27 June on Virgin Flight No:VS671 to Nairobi, Kenya at 19.15

 

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