November 25th marked the beginning of this years “16 Days Against Violence Against Women”. The Black Women’s Rape Action Project [BRAP] have issued a press release regarding the UK government’s obligation to provide protection to women seeking asylum from rape and other forms of sexual violence.
On 25 November 2008, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, we demand that the UK government meet its international obligations to provide protection to women seeking asylum from rape and other sexual torture.
In June 2006, Black Women’s Rape Action Project issued the “Asylum from Rape” petition demanding official recognition of rape as torture and persecution, and practical help for women to overcome the many obstacles they face in making their asylum claims. Thousands of people have already signed the petition including journalists Victoria Brittain and Caroline Moorhead, lawyer Gareth Peirce, actress Juliet Stevenson and poet Benjamin Zephaniah.
An estimated 50% of women seeking asylum in the UK are rape survivors. Women are spearheading the movement for asylum rights and exposing the hidden atrocities in the asylum process. This self-help activity has encouraged opposition from many quarters, including high level protests against the detention of children and vulnerable people. The “Asylum from Rape” petition is one way of informing people about who seeks asylum and why, and is a tool to demand change.