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Sunday, 9 September 2012

FW: Tell your MP that women seeking asylum must be protected from violence

I have no complaints about the Government’s strategy for helping refugees. Indeed, I strongly support many aspects of it. As the grandson of refugees, this issue cannot be emphasised strongly enough, even if the Conservative/Liberal Democrat Coalition is generally getting it more than right, which I think it is. I am happy to forward this email from the Refugee Council and I have emailed my own local MP about it. The Government must be held to a very high standard on issues of conscience such as this – however much they do that is right, there will always be scope to do more, so I think that it is reasonable to keep up the pressure (even if, in my case, it is supportive pressure – I doubt any other government in my lifetime has handled refugee issues better than this current government has, and there is much that I applaud in the Coalition’s approach).


From: Refugee Council []
Sent: 05 September 2012 12:31
Subject: Tell your MP that women seeking asylum must be protected from violence



4 September 2012

No woman should be
missed out


Dear Matthew,

Around 7,000 women seek asylum in the UK each year. They are seeking protection from persecution, often fleeing violence and abuse. Yet the government's strategy for helping women who are victims of violence says nearly nothing about them.

We need your help to tell the government that
no woman should be missed out: women seeking asylum must be protected from violence.


The UN has acknowledged that refugee women are more affected by violence against women than any other women’s population in the world. Many have suffered sexual violence. Yet the UK asylum system leaves women vulnerable and isolated and often struggling to get the protection they need.

The UK government has shown a welcome commitment to tackling violence against women both at home and abroad. Yet only one of the 100 ‘actions’ in the Violence Against Women’s strategy commits the UK Border Agency to help women seeking asylum. In fact, harsh asylum policies in the UK place women at risk of experiencing further violence here, in the place they came in search of safety.

We see women like Yvette every week. Women who have fled violence and persecution who come to the UK in search of safety but instead face further violence and exploitation.

Yvette* was a political activist campaigning for women’s rights in a West African country. When she came to the attention of the authorities, she was detained for two weeks in a military camp. Kept in a dark room, she was deprived of food, beaten and raped – repeatedly. She needed months to get over her injuries.

Upon recovery, Yvette resumed her political campaigning. But when men raided her home in search of her, killing her sister, she fled.

Yvette arrived in the UK with poor mental health and complicated gynecological problems as a result of the repeated sexual assaults. Destitute, carrying her belongings in a blue plastic bag, she was taken in by a man who then forced her to exchange sexual favours in return for a roof over her head.


Now is the time to demand change

The government is reporting on its Violence Against Women and Girls strategy in November. So now is the time to write to your MP and ask them to tell the Home Secretary that women seeking asylum are treated fairly in the UK and are protected from violence. We aren't asking for special treatment, only that women seeking asylum have the same rights as everyone else.

Act now: Tell your MP that
women seeking asylum must be protected from violence

Thank you.


Anna Musgrave
Women’s Advocacy and Influencing Officer
Refugee Council

*Some details of Yvette’s story, including her name, have been changed to protect her identity.


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