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Asylum in the UK July 23, 2007

Posted by Winter in human rights, race matters.
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Two important and disturbing articles on the treatment of women asylum seekers in the UK.

When the women arrive here they encounter a culture of disbelief and a system which doesn’t recognise gendered oppression. They often find themselves in limbo in a society in which asylum seekers, refugees and economic migrants are vilified and lumped together by the right wing media into a threatening mass, and where levels of empathy and compassion are frighteningly low.

From the The Guardian.

They have fled torture, rape and oppression, often leaving their children behind, in the hope of finding sanctuary. But once here, they have to contend with destitution – and a government system geared up to sending them back. Louise France on the desperate lives of the UK’s women asylum seekers.

From the New Statesmen an article on the treatement of women in detention centres.

A report launched this month by the charity Medical Justice Network and backed by Lord Ramsbotham, former chief inspector of prisons, highlights extensive abuse of detainees at centres including Yarl’s Wood. Entitled Beyond Comprehension and Decency, it is a shocking document, detailing the UK’s systematic failure to respect the most basic human rights of some of the most vulnerable people in its care. Doctors working for the charity examined more than 500 detainees and the report focuses on 56 detailed case studies. Medical Justice found that more than 20 of these were survivors of torture or rape – in violation of the UN’s, and the Home Office’s own, guidelines, which state that torture victims should be held “only in very exceptional circumstances”. The report also chron icles widespread “medical abuse” of detainees, who are not entitled to NHS treatment, despite often suffering terrible after-effects from illness or torture sustained in their home countries.

Medical Justice recorded cases that, according to its small team of expert doctors and lawyers, illustrate “neglect, discrimination and abuse on a scale that is saddening and frightening”. In addition to the 20 torture victims, they found that 33 of the 56 detainees spotlighted were depressed, self-harming or suicidal, three had had their HIV treatment disrupted, with potentially fatal results, and three had tuberculosis, which in two cases was not properly treated. Further case studies highlight even more serious abuses: just a few days after suffering a miscarriage, one woman was put into a holding room, even though she had been classified as in danger of self-harm, because she kept asking for her baby and saying she wanted to die. There was no health care available on site.

Go read the rest.

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