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Welcome to Women Against Rape’s Refuge from Rape & Destitution (RRD) blog.  Together with our partners, the All African Women’s Group (AAWG), we are campaigning to highlight and end the injustices women face in the asylum system, and the government imposed destitution women suffer as a result. Find out more in “Up from Destitution”, research conducted by AAWG about why members are made destitute and what they and their children suffer as a result.

Patel’s borders Bill will ‘destroy us,’ refugees in Britain warn

We begin the new year continuing to oppose the devastating Nationality & Borders Bill which is now in the House of Lords. We helped organise a very successful webinar on the Bill’s implications in December, which you can read more about in the Canary and the Morning Star. Women, especially mothers and rape survivors will be more easily deported if the Bill passes. Over 70% of women claiming asylum have fled rape. Now, any delay in reporting sexual violence means you could be fast tracked for deportation. Most people will be denied the right to claim asylum and those that do will get only temporary status and be left destitute, including mothers who would also be prevented from being reunited with children they were forced to leave behind when they ran away. More info about the bill and a template letter to contact your member of parliament here.

Members of the All African Women’s Group (AAWG) continue to win their cases, after hard won battles in an hostile and cruel process which disbelieves and dismisses victims’ accounts by seizing on the difficulties caused by trauma and stigma. Victories that the new bill aims to make impossible.

Recent press articles about women’s battles against injustice

  • Ugandan lesbian woman wins asylum after cruel ordeal at asylum interview, read more in the Hampstead and Highgate Express.
  • Gloria and Bibi speak about the horrific conditions they suffered in detention and women’s resistance inside, in the Metro.
  • Becky and Okeke, who both fled rape/domestic violence, describe the battles they’ve faced in the UK asylum system in this Vice.com article.
  • “Sara” describes in the Independent how she was left destitute and cramped into “disgusting” slum housing with her family while suffering a horrendous nine year wait for a Home Office decision on her asylum claim. There’s more about that battle on the blog here, including the Home Office’s own lawyer confessing even she couldn’t understand its refusal letter, so couldn’t argue why Sara should not be given asylum! WAR helped Sara win substantial – and to our knowledge unprecedented – damages for the delay.

Plus:

  • Cristel Amiss, RRD Joint Co-ordinator, in the Independent re its webinar on preventing violence against women here
  • Article about Up From Destitution report available here.
  • Read here about three recent victories: two women won the right to stay in the UK and one, who had already won status here, is after 19 years, reunited with her children that she was forced to leave in Nigeria.
  • Environmental devastation is forcing people to flee and women’s unpaid caring work is protecting communities and nature – hear Flora from AAWG speaking at COP26 event.

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