Friday, 15 August 2008

A Charter of Rights for women seeking asylum

Shawna Spoor, Refugee Women's Resource Project



The UK government has established a forced marriage unit to save British citizens facing forced marriage abroad. Rape, domestic violence and honour crimes have all seen gender-sensitive practices develop around their handling in the criminal justice system. But a woman entering the United Kingdom seeking asylum from similar practices and crimes at home faces a far less gender-sensitive and understanding environment. Women seeking asylum are often doing so from a truly unique perspective; fleeing problems which men and often women from different cultural backgrounds would never face; female genital mutilation, honour killing, or forced marriage. Because of these and many other issues facing women seeking asylum the Refugee Women’s Resource Project at Asylum Aid, in consultation with a number of specialist organisations in the refugee, women’s and human rights sectors, has produced a Charter of rights of women seeking asylum.



Asylum Aid believes that the UK Border Agency could learn lessons from the criminal justice system and respond to women’s cases with similar standards. The women’s asylum charter covers all aspects of the end-to-end asylum process: the asylum determination system, accommodation, welfare, detention and removal. Ensuring fair treatment for women who are claiming asylum means that the Refugee Convention needs to be interpreted in a gender sensitive way. Actions suggested in the Charter include that the UK Border Agency should undertake gender impact assessments in relation to all asylum policies, train their staff to improve the quality of decision-making in relation to women’s claims and end the detention of families with children.

Since the Home Office incorporated its Asylum Policy Instruction on gender issues in the asylum claim in March 2004, the UK Border Agency has made some further progress but initiatives have tended to be piecemeal suggesting a failure to recognise gender as an underlying factor fundamental to creating a fair system. In addition there is, too often, a disconnection between the policy and the operational parts of the UK Border Agency, particularly on gender issues.


A multi-layered strategy is being developed to promote the Charter. This includes using the Charter as the basis for discussions with the UK Border Agency through formal stakeholders meetings and informal negotiations, setting up a Google group to provide a network for feedback between people working on the actions suggested in the Charter and holding a series of workshops to discuss with practitioners how to cooperate on promoting these issues. Thus organisations are being asked to endorse the Charter and, in doing so, commit themselves to promoting those actions which are within their sphere of influence (eg an NGO working for detained asylum seekers would promote the actions to do with detention).

The Charter has already been endorsed by 20 organisations including: Amnesty International UK, Bail for Immigration Detainees, End Violence Against Women Campaign, Fawcett Society, Liberty, Refugee Action, Refugee Council, Refugee Women’s Association. and Rights of Women. For your organisation to endorse the Charter or to join the Google group, please go to www.asylumaid.org.uk

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3 Comments:

At 12 September 2008 at 17:40 , Anonymous Women for Women International said...

Thank you for all that you’re doing to spread awareness! Thanks to our supporters Women for Women International was chosen as one of the Top 25 in the American Express Members Project out of nearly 1200 projects! Our project is Helping Women and Children Survivors of War Rebuild. I hope you’ll help us spread the word. I can email a sample blog you can use.

Thanks again!

 
At 21 October 2008 at 17:01 , Blogger heathercyoung said...

Hi,
I just finished reading your blog. As someone who is interested in putting a stop to violence against women and domestic and sexual abuse, I wanted to share some info that I thought might be of interest to your readers:
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. You deserve to know where the candidates stand: http://www.feministsforobama.org/Issues_domesticviolence.htm
Did you know? Senators Obama and Biden have sponsored and supported legislation, including funding, to reduce violence against women and to assist women survivors of domestic abuse. Biden authored the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Obama cosponsored the reauthorization of VAWA and authored legislation on violence against women as an Illinois State Senator.
Not only did McCain vote NO on VAWA, but he also failed to co-sponsor VAWA reauthorization although many Republican and Conservative Senators did.
Feminist Majority has just released a striking PSA that illuminates some of the grave truths about the McCain/Palin record on women's issues.
Unholy Trinity
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RFrEzQAOvM
"John McCain voted against funding to fight and prevent domestic violence"
Below I've included more details about the campaign for you to grab info off if you deem it worthy of a post on your blog. If you have any questions or extra material that you'd like, just let me know.
Also, if you're interested, I can make Eleanor Smeal, executive director of Feminist Majority, available for a phone interview.
Thanks again for your great work!
Sincerely,
Heather Young

Contact: Eleanor Smeal FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Telephone: (703) 522-2214
Email: elliesmeal@feministmajority.org
bethsoderberg@feministmajority.org

FEMINISTS FOR OBAMA
Feminist Majority Launches Online PSAs Targeting McCain
If McCain and Palin win, Women Lose.
Eleanor Smeal, President of Feminist Majority, says, "Obama/Biden are running on the strongest platform for women's rights of any major party in U.S. history".

That's why Feminist Majority launched www.FeministsForObama.org, a side-by-side comparison of the Democratic and Republican nominees on four major women's issues: Violence Against Women, Abortion and Contraception, Women and Work, and Breast Cancer and Health Care.
To reach as many people as possible, Feminist Majority created three striking PSAs that illuminate some of the grave truths about the McCain/Palin record on women's issues.
One in Six
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fChyeoMJc3U
"Under Sarah Palin, rape survivors were forced to pay up to $1200 for rape evidence collection kits."
Unholy Trinity
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RFrEzQAOvM
"John McCain voted against funding to fight and prevent domestic violence"
Violation
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2w7ZZ5huKMk
"John McCain and Sarah Palin are running on a platform that seeks to outlaw a woman's right to an abortion even in cases of rape and incest."
McCain on Violence Against Women
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. You deserve to know where the candidates stand: http://www.feministsforobama.org/Issues_domesticviolence.htm
Senators Obama and Biden have sponsored and supported legislation, including funding, to reduce violence against women and to assist women survivors of domestic abuse. Biden authored the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Obama cosponsored the reauthorization of VAWA and authored legislation on violence against women as an Illinois State Senator.
Not only did McCain vote NO on VAWA, but he also failed to co-sponsor VAWA reauthorization although many Republican and Conservative Senators did.
Watch the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RFrEzQAOvM
Quick Facts
Did you know Senator McCain voted against establishing the Army's Breast Cancer Research Program? This program, which started modestly, appropriated hundreds of millions to Breast Cancer research.
Did you know Senator McCain opposes the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act? The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act would restore a woman's right to fight pay discrimination in court.
Did you know Senator McCain has ducked questions on contraceptive insurance discrimination as recently as July 2008?
Visit www.FeministsForObama.org to read more.
* * *
If you would like more information, or to schedule an interview, please contact Eleanor Smeal, President of Feminist Majority: (703) 522-2214

 
At 7 October 2009 at 22:54 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please help, There is a nigerian woman in yarlwood detention centre and about to be deported from UK tommorrow.she came to this country ten years ago after escaping from forced and violent marriage to a powerful and influential person.she now have a five year old son in this country who is suffering from learning disabilities.Her claim for asylum in UK is rejected and about to be deported.Her name is H. Noah currently in detention with the son.they were not allowe to take their belongings after early morning raid.Where are our women MPs what are they doing for such people????. I have no power but to use this method to spread the news.Intrestingly she was living at the immigration ministers constituency.And nothing was done after TEN years without any criminal offence.I want you to spread the news and you can find out from Yarlwood detention center in Bedford United Kingdom. for her safety i have used her initials Miss H, Noah. Please spread the news and help her to be free. Thanks

 

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