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Every woman safe everywhere in the UK

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women for refugee women, labour party conferenceAsk the Labour Party to include women claiming asylum in their party’s policy on women’s safety.

Over the summer, the London Refugee Women’s Forum took part in a film making workshop and made this powerful short film introducing themselves and the issues that they’re passionate about.

It starts with one of their members who is destitute, and follows their fascinating story as they become a campaigning force to be reckoned with.

The Forum have this year’s Labour Party conference in their sights, and two of their members, Jade Amoli-Jackson and Rehemah Ndagire, will be speaking and launching their film at the Movement for Change fringe meeting at 1pm this Sunday, 22 September, in Brighton.

Please come and join us if you’re in the area – you can find all the details and sign up via the Movement for Change site.

Women for Refugee Women (WRW) are calling for Labour policies to support the rights of women seeking asylum.

Over twenty refugees will be joining Jade and Rehemah as they urge the Labour Party to include women who are claiming asylum in a meaningful way in their policy on women’s safety, called ‘Everywoman Safe Everywhere’. 

Labour expressed regret at “hardly touching” asylum issues in their interim report – and we hope that this will now be redressed.

As WRW revealed last year in their report, Refused, 66 per cent of the women seeking asylum have fled some kind of gender-related persecution, including rape, sexual violence, forced prostitution, forced marriage or female genital mutilation, and their treatment when they claim asylum and protection in the UK is often seen as a second torture.

Abuse allegations in Yarl’s Wood are just one example.

An important story was uncovered in last weekend’s Observer about allegations of sexual abuse within Yarl’s Wood by a former detainee.

And in the Telegraph, Women for Refugee Women’s Natasha Walter tells the story of Sara who was locked up for seven weeks while she was pregnant and suffering from hyperemesis, the same condition of morning sickness as the Duchess of Cambridge had.

Over the past few months we have interviewed many women, women currently in Yarl’s Wood and those who have recently been released, and are gathering new evidence about women’s experiences of detention.

In this powerful blog post, a former detainee talks about the horrors of going back to Yarl’s Wood – she is one of our volunteers who has been gathering this new evidence.

Ghada, who fled from her home country of Iraq in 2007, spoke to Reuters about her experience of the asylum system.

She gives a personal account of how she navigated her way around the brick walls of disbelief with the Home Office and through the courts.

She fled Iraq after she had been persecuted for working with foreigners and promoting women’s rights.

She told Reuters: ‘Everything depends on the first interview.

‘They ask what language do I speak? Do I need an interpreter? But they don’t ask if I need counselling, if I’m OK, because the person interviewing me is a man.

‘I told them some information but I couldn’t tell them everything. I had just arrived and I didn’t want to relive being threatened, having to flee my country, the long journey here. But you are expected to reveal everything.

‘A lot depends on how the person in front of you makes you feel. I think they just wanted to do the job and go home.

‘You could come for a political reason, you could have been raped, traumatised, tortured but I didn’t see any specially trained person to talk to you.

‘That was the first contact with the government.

‘They make you feel that you broke the law, you’re a criminal. I was thinking I didn’t do anything wrong in my life, I was just trying to get to safety.’

Join us. Help us get the Labour Party to include women who are claiming asylum in a meaningful way in their policy on women’s safety, called ‘Everywoman Safe Everywhere’

 So it is every woman in the UK, everywhere in the UK.

Women for Refugee Women challenges the injustices experienced by women and children who seek refuge in the UK.

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