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: ACTION ALERT

Women in Yarl's Wood denied water and access to toilets

8 February 2010

Black Women's Rape Action Project
We have been contacted by Ms Gladys Obiyan and Ms Denise McNeil who have been locked in separate rooms following their participation in the hunger strike at Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre. They told us they are in desperate need of water and toilets, but that officers are denying them access to both.  We also understand that Ms McNeil, who has been put in Kingfisher the punishment wing, suffered a cut to her face and bruising on her back as a result of being pulled and kicked by several officers. Ms Obiyan, who has been without water since 11.15am, reported that Ms Aminata Camara who was also locked up nearby, has cuts on her hands as a result of breaking a window in order to get water and access to the toilets. None of the women have been given any medical treatment.
 
We have written to Dawn Elaine, SERCO's Contract manager, and Sarah Edwards UKBA's Yarl's Wood manager to tell them we hold them responsible for denying women their right to water and basic amenities, and for any injury women which may suffer.
 
Please write to Phil Woolas MP, the Minister of State for Borders and Immigration woolasp@parliament.uk  or http://www.philwoolasmp.org/emailPhil.html and the UKBA UKBApublicenquiries@UKBA.gsi.gov.uk to protest this punitive denial of basic amenities which is potentially a breach of human rights, and detention centre rules.
 
Please send copies of any letters to bwrap@dircon.co.uk so we can forward them to women who have courageously gone on hunger strike to protest against the many injustices of the detention process.

UPDATE 9 February: Reprisals begin against women hunger strikers – please take action now

Throughout the day women have been calling to contradict claims by the Home Office that the hunger strike has ended. “Not at all” according to Ms Debo Doris, “up to twenty of us are refusing food on Avocet wing”. She had heard that eight to ten women are still striking on Dove wing. Women on Bunting wing told us “we are on hunger strike still but we are scared of what they might do to us”.
 
One woman, Blessing Felix, who was detained on arrival three months ago was given removal directions on Saturday.  She has been taken to Heathrow tonight and faces return to Nigeria. She has no lawyer, and was unable to get legal advice yesterday since the whole centre was “locked down” and all visits including legal visits were cancelled.  We know that Ms Felix reported to the authorities that she suffered violence in Nigeria.  How can the Home Office claim that it is safe to send her back; the full facts of Ms Felix’s case can’t be known if she didn’t have a lawyer to represent her.  It seems that the Home Office will stop at nothing to punish women for protesting.

Earlier today Ms Gladys Obiyan, together with three other women, was taken to Bedfordshire police station. They were not arrested or charged. Her friends believe that the authorities have targeted her as a hunger strike ring leader and are punishing her by taking her to Dungavel, denying her contact with her partner who has British citizenship, and her many supporters. Ms Obiyan has a compelling case to be released from detention. Her asylum claim based on years of domestic violence in Nigeria, the threat of FGM and inability to get protection from the State, is pending.
 
Many other women are clearly at risk of reprisals for their courageous action, including transfers and fast tracked removal.  The more protest that comes from outside the more protection women will have.

Please call Virgin airlines and urge them not to deport Ms Blessing Felix on Flight VS 651 to Lagos, 10.20pm – even at this short notice it is worth doing especially as Virgin have in the past agreed not to carry those who are terrified of being returned to the violence they fled.

VIRGIN AIRLINES:  customer.relations@fly.virgin.com or fax 0844 209 8708
0844 874 7747 Departure information for Lagos flights and
Press office 01293 747 373 katie.francis@fly.virgin.com

Write to Phil Woolas MP, the Minister of State for Borders and Immigration woolasp@parliament.uk or http://www.philwoolasmp.org/emailPhil.html and the UKBA UKBApublicenquiries@UKBA.gsi.gov.uk to protest at retaliation against vulnerable women which is potentially a breach of human rights, and detention centre rules.

Tags: