Monday, November 27, 2006

Recipe Exchange.

This is a recipe exchange. Here's the deal. You post a comment to this entry, with a recipe for me. Ideally something simple, cheap and very tasty. You also include your blog URL in the comment, then reproduce this text in your blog and I will reply to your post with a recipe also.

Have fun, hope you get some great recipes!

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Misjudging Rape

Launch of: Misjudging rape

A Dossier of 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

at Garden Court Chambers

57-60 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2 Nearest tube: Holborn

Speakers include:

Cristel Amiss, Black Women’s Rape Action Project

Sian Evans, Women Against Rape

Anver Jeevanjee, Member Asylum & Immigration Appeals Tribunal 1983-2004

Jovanka Savic, Sutovic Hartigan Solicitors

Louise Hooper, barrister, Garden Court Chambers

Sarah Kajumba, All African Women’s Group

In the UK, where at least 50% of women seeking asylum are victims of sexual violence[1], 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 women’s claims should be treated at appeals. The Guidelines aim to: ”ensure that the procedures used do not prejudice women asylum seekers or make it more difficult for them to present their asylum claims.”

Yet when Black Women’s Rape Action Project (BWRAP) and Women Against Rape (WAR) analysed over 60 adjudicators’ 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 rape 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 adherred to women reported feeling that they had a fairer hearing.


Hundreds of women come to BWRAP and WAR having been turned down, not because they don’t have compelling evidence of rape and other torture but because hostility, discrimination, disbelief, bullying and indifference meant they never had the chance to speak about what they suffered OR because legal aid cuts mean they were left with poor (or even no) legal representation and no expert or corroborative evidence was gathered to support their claim. This is especially true for cases assessed under the fast-track.[2]

Ensuring justice for women at Tribunal hearings is essential because, as appeal rights have been eroded, it is usually the last chance for a woman to describe why she was forced to flee. If adjudicators get their decisions wrong, vulnerable and traumatised women, children and men are sent back to face further rape and even death. Demanding adherence to the Guidelines and legal accountability from adjudicators, who frequently make arbitrary and unjust decisions, is therefore crucial to rape survivors getting protection and justice.

At a time when research into gender and asylum is proliferating but practical help and assistance continues to be scarce, this Dossier breaks new ground. By publicizing the Guidelines and therefore what women should be entitled to, it helps inform women about their rights and what can be done when preparing an appeal.

Other publications include:

Asylum from Rape petition published by BWRAP Rights & Information Sheet for survivors of rape seeking asylum in the UK, WAR

For more information:

Black Women's Rape Action Project
Women Against Rape
Tel: 0207 482 2496 or 07958 152171; Fax: 0207 209 4751


[1] Legal Action for Women (Dec 2005) found that 70% of women detained in Yarl’s Wood Removal Centre had been victims of rape or other sexual violence.

[2] Where those who claim asylum are detained from when they enter the UK on the basis that their case is “straightforward” and capable of being decided quickly.

Sheffield Asylum Seeker Action
Destitute Asylum Seekers: At 2pm on Wed 6 December, the Liberal Democrats will put a motion to full Council expressing concern at the growing number of destitute asylum seekers in our city and calling on the Government to introduce legislation to enable asylum seekers to work and support themselves and the economy. This follows a letter along these lines from Church Leaders to all party leaders on the Council. Please join the lobby in the Gallery of the Council Chamber. Join up with Shaun Smith and other colleagues inside Sheffield Town Hall entrance at 1.45pm.

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Friday, November 10, 2006

"I tend to think that if God wanted us to believe in him, he'd exist"

Linda Smith.

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