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  • Now IKWRO is under threat


    by Rumbold
    6th November, 2009 at 12:23 pm    

    After the news that the state refuses to continue to fund the Honour Network helpline, comes other blow. Now the state is to stop funding The Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (IKWRO). A £29,000 grant, which was allocated to pay for a full-time professional Kurdish outreach worker, will no longer be available. A specialist Kurdish worker was needed because 56% of IKWRO’s cases involved Kurds. Diana Nammi, the head of IKWRO, said:

    The Forced Marriage Unit has been excellent but it needs grass roots organisations like us because we are closer to the front line and come face to face with the victims. Forced marriages and honour killings have not stopped. They are still happening all the time. And yet the funding has dried up.

    IKWRO is an unusual organisation because of the groups (Iranian and Kurdish women) it caters for, and so its work and experience (420 women helped last year) isn’t easy to replicate. But the IKWRO and Honour Network funding cuts are merely representative of a wider trend in government cuts. The problem, as Ken Livingstone pointed out, is the civil service. They are the ones that implement (and in some case decide) policy.

    As a result of the financial crisis and the gross overspend of the state, spending has to be cut. But the ones doing the cutting are the bureaucrats, so they (understandably) are not inclined to reduce their own areas. Instead they cut grants to charities and frontline services, because they themselves are not directly affected by those cuts. Until politicians are willing to oversee and implement spending reductions amongst bureaucrats, it will be the weakest in society who will continue to suffer as they are not the ones in Whitehall.

    Update: Galloise Blonde, who works for IKWRO, points out that:

    We’re shocked at what a small the amount of cash is available to the FMU compared to Prevent and other schemes. This guideline that funding can only cover new projects is not very practical either: if a project has been successful and addresses a real need then why should it risk being discontinued simply because it is not new? Our caseload is increasing year on year and funding is a nightmare, particularly for staff costs: like KN we are rely very heavily on volunteers, which naturally causes strain on the organisation and on the individuals themselves, who are often working long hours, in very stressful work without the security of employment. Women and men who need our help are in very vulnerable positions. We are struggling desperately for funding while demand is increasing, and spending far too much of our time and efforts in trying to get this funding rather than being able to provide the essential services that people need, and that no-one else can provide. The amount of funding we need is comparatively very small, but is crucial for us to have the staff and resources to help women whose lives may be at risk and who face other forms of abuse. With the skills, cultural background, specialist knowledge and language abilities to help Kurdish, Iranian, Arab, Turkish and Afghan clients across the UK, our service is unique, and valuable.

    Donate here.

    Phone number: 02079206460


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    Filed in: 'Honour'-based violence






    16 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs
    1. pickles

      New blog post: Now IKWRO is under threat http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/6471


    2. Shona Ghosh

      Bad. Guardian Society just covered increased honour killings - but UK govt has just cut funding for help groups http://bit.ly/2vvrlu




    1. Reza — on 6th November, 2009 at 1:13 pm  

      I was disappointed about the ‘Honour Network’ helpline. Whilst I feel angry that we’re not doing more to make it clear to immigrants and minorities that so called ‘honour’ crimes will be punished severely, I was pragmatic enough to accept that funding that type of organisation was an inevitable downside to our policy of accepting the wrong type of immigrant.

      Why can’t we produce statements of ‘integration and compliance with British law’ and force any immigrant wishing to live here to sign it.

      Make it clear that this type of crime will result in severe penalties and (if the perpetrator is a foreign or dual national) the compulsory deportation of everyone involved.

      That would get the message across.

      On “The Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation” however, I’m more ambivalent.

      Do Iranian and Kurdish women really have needs that can’t be met by a general ‘ethnic’ women’s rights network?

      We need less ‘ghettoisation’ not more.

      And if the language-barrier is an issue, unless the women concerned are genuine asylum seekers, then surely we should be asking “how the fuck did we end up with immigrants that don’t speak English”?

      And make sure we have the mechanisms in place to keep out non-English speakers and especially any people whose values include killing women that don’t do as they’re told.

    2. Rumbold — on 6th November, 2009 at 2:34 pm  

      Reza:

      Why can’t we produce statements of ‘integration and compliance with British law’ and force any immigrant wishing to live here to sign it.

      Make it clear that this type of crime will result in severe penalties and (if the perpetrator is a foreign or dual national) the compulsory deportation of everyone involved.

      That would get the message across.

      We already have strict laws against it. The problem is changing mentalities. I also have no problem with the idea that people should be deported, after serving their sentence, if they have committed a crime, that, say, is punishable by a year’s or more imprisonment.

      Do Iranian and Kurdish women really have needs that can’t be met by a general ‘ethnic’ women’s rights network?

      Well, there’s the langauge aspect, as well as the fact that Iranian and Kudish women are more likely to go to an organisation they will feel comfortable with.

      And if the language-barrier is an issue, unless the women concerned are genuine asylum seekers, then surely we should be asking “how the fuck did we end up with immigrants that don’t speak English”?

      And make sure we have the mechanisms in place to keep out non-English speakers and especially any people whose values include killing women that don’t do as they’re told.

      Then this goes back to the debate about what standard of langauge we expect people coming into this country to have.

    3. Galloise Blonde — on 6th November, 2009 at 3:00 pm  

      Reza: the women we deal with (who are not just Iranian and Kurdish, but also Turkish, Afghan and Arab) are overwhelmingly asylum seekers or dependants of asylum seekers, and there are varying levels of ability in English: some may speak adequate English for day-to-day purposes but need help in with dealing with legal issues, for example.

      Of course there are some similarities between certain ‘ethnic’ women’s experiences: the fixation with ‘honour’ being a significant part of this - which was one of the reasons IKWRO collaborate with Karma Nirvana in working the Honour Network Helpline.

    4. persephone — on 6th November, 2009 at 3:10 pm  

      Reza

      An idea.

      As an iranian and with your vested interest in alleviating the ‘by products’ of ‘multi-culturism’ it would be quite fitting if you offered to help as a volunteer, seeing that as a successful immigrant from Iran you could help those who have not been as successful in gaining entry to the UK. It would be putting back into the country you have benefitted from which I know is close to your, erh, heart.

    5. persephone — on 6th November, 2009 at 3:13 pm  

      “need help in with dealing with legal issues, for example.”

      I am all for a level of everyday English skills being sought for in immigration applications. But even those whose first language is English find difficulties in dealing with our legal phrases and processes.

    6. persephone — on 6th November, 2009 at 3:24 pm  

      “we have the mechanisms in place to keep out non-
      English speakers and especially any people whose values include killing women that don’t do as they’re told”

      How would you fund and test for such a ‘value’ mindset? When you answer can you also include those who are already citizens and residents of any colour/religion/race. Because if the British culture & values are to treat women equally and we are all bound by it, it should apply across the board, citizen or no, indigenous or no. Y’know like transportation to Australia.

    7. douglas clark — on 6th November, 2009 at 3:37 pm  

      Rumbold,

      A few points about this.

      Is there any way this this decision can be meaningfully protested? The arguement the government usually uses is that front line services are not subject to cuts, although that is maybe pre credit crunch.

      If the bulk of clients are asylum seekers it is completely unreasonable to expect them, at the time of entry to be fluent in English, although I agree with persephone that it should be an early priority.

      I appreciate that this is a relatively small charity, but it does good work. For that reason, I have made a (pitifully small) donation.

      It is the sort of institution that would, perhaps, make me proud to be British.

    8. persephone — on 6th November, 2009 at 3:48 pm  

      “how the **** did we end up with immigrants that don’t speak English”?

      I often wonder too how we end up with A Level students and graduates who don’t speak or spell English properly after having gone through the whole UK education system. I normally blame it on the overuse of spell check and emphasis on course work based assessment. Others no doubt prefer to assign it to the evils of multi-culturism.

    9. Reza — on 6th November, 2009 at 4:32 pm  

      Galloise Blonde

      Notwithstanding my suspicion that economic migration is the motivation for most asylum claims, I accept that a genuine asylum seeker should have access to language and translation services. However, we should also ensure that they are provided with every opportunity, encouragement and assistance to learn English as quickly as possible. I believe that this is doubly important for women, as it would help break the isolation from British society which allows abuse to occur unchallenged.

      I would take it a stage further. I would make English lessons compulsory. That would ensure that women in abusive and oppressive environments could not be prevented from learning English by their fathers or husbands.

      Do you think that compulsory English lessons might be an excellent opportunity to inform these women about their rights and opportunities in this country as well as the support networks available to them?

      And on another matter altogether,

      Do you have a Farsi speaker in your office, possibly with a knowledge of Tehran (the Tajrish and Niavarhan part of Shemran) who might have two minutes to post a few subtle cultural, language or food questions and possibly geographic questions that only an Iranian should be able to answer quickly? If they use Farsi they’ll have to write phonetically in Roman script.

      It’s an odd request, but it might save some of the commentators here so much time and stress spent trying to expose me as a ‘white’ non-Iranian imposter!

      Do it for Jai. For Sunny. For Kulvinder. And Persephone.

      Because I care about them. I really do.

      PS. If you’re a registered charity I’ll send you a postal order for £50. Promise.

    10. Andrew — on 6th November, 2009 at 4:40 pm  

      “We’re shocked at what a small the amount of cash is available to the FMU compared to Prevent and other schemes.”

      Who, exactly, decides which organisations get funding? Why, for example, does the IKWRO get it’s smallish grant cut, yet the Quilliam Foundation can get towards one million? I don’t get it!

    11. Galloise Blonde — on 6th November, 2009 at 4:58 pm  

      Reza: If you are interested in IKWRO and the kind of clients we serve, you might wish to watch the first ten minutes of this broadcast on BBC Persian, which has interviews with various staff members and a client.

      I broadly agree with you on the language issue.

      There are normally quite a few Farsi speakers in the office but with their heavy caseload of clients at serious risk of abuse I don’t think they have the time to get involved in blog wars.

      Our charity number is 1104550.

    12. Reza — on 6th November, 2009 at 5:20 pm  

      Galloise Blonde

      Thanks. I’ll send you the postal order anyway.

    13. Rumbold — on 6th November, 2009 at 10:37 pm  

      Douglas:

      I am not sure what we can do, apart from the usual (writing/e-mailing MPs, making noise). Probably the most useful thing to do is to donate money.

    14. Amrit — on 8th November, 2009 at 12:51 am  

      I have donated some of my pathetic pittance! :-D I hope IKWRO manage to get many more to cough up.

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