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.

 

 

 

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.

Why we leftjetoweb.JPG
The reasons we left our countries is that our lives where at risk. My situation is typical of what many other women are going through. I went through a lot of abuse, of rapes and torture with my daughter by government soldiers. I left three children behind. The biggest was 12 and the youngest was six when I left. Now the biggest is 20 and the youngest is 14.

We all thought that our children would be safer without us. We didn’t know where we were going, how or if we would survive.

In November, last year we launched a petition for family reunion. We are demanding

1. Everyone who wins the right to stay in the UK, no matter under which law or convention, must have the unconditional right to family reunion.
2. Children should have the right to join their mother or father even if they turned 18 before their parents’ asylum claim was settled.

The first demand is because many women are now winning their case under a process called legacy where old cases are settled. But under legacy you don’t get the right to family reunion. One woman in our group won her case nearly two years ago and her children are still not with her.

The second demand is because of situations like mine and many others where our children grow up while we wait for a decision and then they are told they no longer qualify to join us. Yet we are the only people in their lives to take care of them.

We are gathering signatures for the petition both on the street and on the web. People have signed and left fantastic comments. Outrageously some groups have not been interested. We contacted the children’s charities to ask for their support. They said they already have the children they are helping. We asked them why asylum seekers’ children were not considered children to be helped. They kept telling us that this isn’t an issue of children it is an issue of asylum. How come they rejected us yet are central to the campaign to end the detention of children? Maybe it is because of the money that is involved in this. We know for example that they got money from the Diana Memorial Fund.

The other problem we face is that our campaign is not seen as important. Mothers are not a priority, the caring work we do is not a priority, our children’s suffering because they have no-one to love and protect them is not a priority, our pain at being separated from our children is not a priority. We are dismissed because we are mothers, because we are women, because we are Black women . . . and as if that is not enough because we are asylum seekers.

But we have already won a lot. Some women have been reunited with their children. Others have found children that were lost. Most of us are still fighting.

We hope we can rely on your support. We urgently need more people to sign our petition because we want to hand it in in March. We are planning a Mothers march with other women’s groups which will address all the demand that mothers have. For example, against cuts in benefits for single mothers, against destitution being used as an excuse for social workers to take away our children, and for our caring work that the whole of society relies on to be counted.

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