All Women Count, a campaign coordinated by Women For Refugee Women, will see refugee and migrant women lobbying Parliament on the 8th March, calling for safety, dignity and liberty for all.
The centenary year of women’s suffrage in the UK is a poignant moment to recognise that refugee and migrant women in the UK often do not have the right to vote, and yet are affected by laws and policies decided in Westminster. The event, taking place on International Women’s Day 2018, will encourage parliamentarians to commit to:
Women should be protected from violence when they are on the move and in the UK.
Women without citizenship who experience or are at risk of violence should have the same rights as all women to report crimes, access support and find justice.
Women on the move and once they are in the UK should have access to healthcare, education, employment and housing.
At the moment many migrant women find it hard to access healthcare, education and employment and many women who claim asylum in the UK end up living destitute, at risk of exploitation and homelessness.
The UK government currently locks up over 4,000 asylum-seeking and migrant women every year.
Immigration detention is traumatic and unnecessary and needs to end.
As a partner agency in the campaign, we are encouraging members to invite MPs along and to attend the event with service users. Let us know if you want to get there as we have a small fund to subsidise places.Click here to book your free space for the event
Finally, we recently wrote a blog post for the campaign on the experiences of the asylum system which we’ve shared an excerpt from below. For the full blog post please click here.
‘Because you are an asylum seeker they can do anything to you.’ So speaks Nene (name changed), a mother and fashion designer from Democratic Republic of Congo, who has come to this conclusion through painful experience. ‘They say the UK is a safe place but I don’t think so. I am always under pressure. I always have to think. I can’t relax. My head is so busy, always thinking.’
Before arriving in the UK, Nene was imprisoned in her home country for taking part in political campaigning. Whilst she has not faced detention here, she explains how the asylum system alone can be suffocating at times. ‘Back home when I was in prison they could do anything bad to you. But at least when I was released I had power to shout again. Here, you are in a prison in your mind. It wastes time and it is another kind of torture. Immigration don’t see how much they make you like a mad person. Our blood is the same. Yours and mine, we could not tell them apart. We are all humans but we are not treated like humans.’..
Nene is not alone in feeling like this. Her voice chimes with thousands of others who have had their lives ruined by a system that routinely strips away the most important of tools, agency and hope. That is why All Women Count is such an important opportunity. Because the people who have the power to change the system, and ensure safety and dignity and liberty for all, are going to hear from all of us, standing together, calling for change, on the 8th March.Join us on the 8th March by clicking here for your free place