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.

 

 

 

Demands from women hunger strikers in Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre 2010

Against detention, deportation and destitution (March 2010)ywhungerstrikebanner.jpg.

On 15 March 2010, women who had been on hunger strike for almost 40 days in Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre, emailed a final list of their demands to All African Women’s Group (AAWG) and Black Women’s Rape Action Project (BWRAP). These demands were put together with previous demands sent at the beginning of the hunger strike. 
AAWG with BWRAP (and Women Against Rape) had supported women throughout their protest.  Over 100 women courageously protested and were targeted by UKBA & SERCO. At the start of the hunger strike, on 8 February, at least 70 were “kettled”, in an airless corridor with no access to water, food or toilets.  The authorities designated five women as ringleaders, despite every woman we spoke to reiterating that they were all involved and had no leaders.  The five were isolated in Kingfisher wing.  Three were subsequently sent to HMP Holloway and two to Bronzefield prison.  Two still remain in prison.  
AAWG and BWRAP took statements from women involved about the violence and abuse perpetrated by SERCO officers.  Accounts were credible and consistent with each other. This consistency was confirmed by lawyers who subsequently initiated legal proceedings.  BWRAP and WAR attended legal visits although the Yarl’s Wood authorities then banned both groups from accompanying lawyers, even though rape survivors had asked us to attend.  Over 70% of women in detention are rape survivors.
During the protest at least thirteen of the 25 women we were in touch with on a daily basis, were released.  A number of key hunger strikers, including two who had been helping other women with their asylum cases, were deported before their civil case solicitors could lodge their claims. The authorities denied there was a hunger strike and attempted to spread misinformation to discredit women.
Women pressed for their demands to be met during and at the end of the hunger strike.  None have been implemented.  Since the protest ended last March, there have been more reports of violence and abuse by staff including medical staff which the police have refused to fully investigate.  Women say that the Independent Monitoring Board is failing to respond to their complaints.  Support from MPs included an EDM by John McDonnell MP.
 
Compilation of demands from hunger strikers from two public statements (Feb & March 2010). 
 
Full investigation into incidents of violence and abuse by guards during the peaceful protest on 8 February 2010.
Travel arrangements for women who were involved with the protest should be suspended until after an investigation and court cases have concluded.
End the detention of children and their mothers, rape survivors and other torture victims, physically and mentally sick people and pregnant women.
End the separation of children from their mothers whether by detention or by destitution.
Allow enough time and make resources, including good quality legal representation, to residents in order for them to be able to fully present their cases.
Abolish the fast track system in order to give asylum seekers a fair chance with their application. Understanding of the particular needs of victims of torture and access to reliable legal representation, which the fast track system denies.
To end the detention of women after serving time in prison. Women served their sentence they should not be punished again by detention or deportation.
End the repeat detention of women granted temporary admission while reporting or signing after a short period out of detention.
Pending the end to the detention of vulnerable people as specified above, there should be set period of time, which should be no longer than one month, for someone to be held in detention while waiting for a decision either from UKBA or court proceedings.
Violence and abuse from guards should be investigated by the police and charges brought if evidence is found. Police and ambulance services must be allowed access to Yarl’s Wood if women report incidents rather than being turned away by staff.
End all false allegations and misrepresentations by the UKBA regarding detainees in order to refuse bail or temporary admissions.
Access to appropriate medical treatment and care as in the community.
Access to edible and well cooked food.
Cancel weekly mobile phones charges and allow phone connections with camera and recording facilities to back up cases.
Stop the fingerprinting and taking photograph of our visitors (Even real prisons don’t do this to visitors).
Interpreters for non English speaking women in the wings to help them with their queries.
To stop the forceful removal of detainees.
The extortion of Yarl’s Wood shop must end. The shop charges us extra 20p per item, even though the centre knows we have no money.
There should be more female offices and Black offices. The centre is 80 percent Black detainee and only female offices should search our rooms.
There are very little activities in the centre. There are 12 computer (which is very slow to use), 10 chairs in the arts room with small material to work with. This is supposed to cater for more than 400 women. The library has no popular books and all the books are very old. We are not allowed to order books from other library.
End slave labour. The minimum wage and all health and safety regulations to be applied for any detainee who wants to do paid work. Women get £1 per session for serving food, cleaning, laundry and other work.   
 
Finally alternatives to detention should be implemented as stated by the *Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). 'The detention of asylum seekers and irregular migrants in Europe ', Adopted on the 28th January 2010, extracts below.
9.1.1. detention of asylum seekers and irregular migrants shall be exceptional and only used after first reviewing all other alternatives and finding that there is no effective alternative;
9.3.4.1. placement in special establishments (open or semi-open);
9.3.4.2. registration and reporting;
9.3.4.3. release on bail/surety;
9.3.4.4. controlled release to individuals, family members, NGOs, religious organizations, or others;
9.3.4.5. handover of travel and other documents, release combined with appointment of a special worker;
Full Text: Council of Europe - Parliamentary Assembly Resolution 1707 (2010)1
The detention of asylum seekers and irregular migrants in Europe