Tomorrow a ‘dossier’ will be launched, detailing how adjudicators (now known as immigration judges) flout international law and even their own guidelines when they consider the asylum claims of women and girls seeking safety and protection from rape.
Tuesday 5 Dec 2006 6.30pm; hosted by Ian Macdonald QC
In the UK, where at least 50% of women seeking asylum are victims of sexual violence, rape survivors face many obstacles in demonstrating how their claims for asylum relate to the Refugee Convention and why they should therefore be granted protection. The Asylum Gender Guidelines, published in 2000 by Immigration Appellate Authority (now the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal) are one of few official tools laying out how womenâ€™s claims should be treated at appeals. The Guidelines aim to: â€ensure that the procedures used do not prejudice women asylum seekers or make it more difficult for them to present their asylum claims.â€
Yet when Black Womenâ€™s Rape Action Project (BWRAP) and Women Against Rape (WAR) analysed over 60 adjudicatorsâ€™ rulings they found that:
Few Adjudicators even referred to the Guidelines:
- Women raped by soldiers were told the rape they suffered was “simple dreadful lust” and therefore not persecution.
- Rape survivors told that it would be safe for them to return to their country of origin and live thousands of miles away from their homes.
- Women who did not report immediately accused of reporting in order to “enhance a fabricated asylum claim.”
- The testimony of “a pretty young woman” dismissed as not credible because she did not report rape in her country of origin.
- A woman detained under the fast track system told that three days was “ample time” to find a lawyer and her case dismissed because it was “riddled with discrepancies.”
- In identikit rulings, two women were told by the same judge: “Rape is a horrific crime which should not be utilised lightly merely to bolster an asylum claim.”
- Where the Guidelines were adhered to women reported feeling that they had a fairer hearing.
all this from the Women Against Rape website.
Update: Guardian coverage of this launch.
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Filed in: Sex equality