URGENT ACTION REQUIRED

January 20, 2009

From Women Against Rape:

Rape survivor detained in Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre

and facing removal today Tuesday 20 January, at 7pm

 

Please phone or write to:

1.    Phil Woolas MP, Immigration Minister, Home Office Minister of State for borders and immigration, UKBApublicenquiries@UKBA.gsi.gov.uk

2.    Jacqui Smith MP, Secretary of State for the Home Office Fax 020 8760 3132 Privateoffice.external@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

3.    European Court of Human Rights,  Fax: +33 (0) 3 88 41 27 30,  Tel: +33 (0) 3 88 41 20 18

4.     Kenya Airways Flight KQ101  Telephone 01784 888 222

Ms Flavia Nambi has been in Yarl’s Wood Removal Centre since Wednesday 14 January. She has been given Removal Directions for this evening.  She is at risk of taking her own life and is on suicide watch. 

 

Evidence of rape submitted to the Home Office.  A fresh claim lodged in December included compelling expert evidence from WAR and psychiatrists corroborating her account of brutal gang rape by Lord’s Resistance Army soldiers.  As a result, the Home Office have for the first time accepted Ms Nambi is a rape survivor but are still insisting she should be sent back. 

 

Ms Nambi could not survive if sent back. Ms Nambi lives in the UK with her Aunt who is her sole surviving relative from the terrible conflict in Uganda.  She has no-one to whom she could turn for help and expert testimony confirms that women in Ms Nambi’s vulnerable state could not survive if sent back. 

Other women returned face rape and other torture.  WAR has first hand accounts from women who have been returned to Uganda of the deprivation, rape and other torture that they suffer. The Home Office has refused to monitor or investigate what happens to women in these circumstances. 

 

This is the THIRD time Ms Nambi has been detained.  Last time she was so traumatised, she lost her memory, became profoundly depressed and was close to taking her own life.  After her release, despite her own ill health, Ms Nambi has been dedicated to helping other women in detention who share her experiences.

 

Refusal to acknowledge rape breaches international obligations.  The Home Office by refusing to reconsider it’s responsibilities to Ms Nambi, now it has accepted she is a rape survivor, is flouting its international obligations under the Refugee Convention and European Convention of Human Rights.  What use are its own “gender guidelines”[1] if in reality officials decide that it makes no difference whether or not someone has suffered the devastating trauma of rape?   

 

The treatment of rape survivors.  Like many survivors, Ms Nambi could not give an account of the rape she suffered to Home Office officials when she was first interviewed about it.  Court precedents have long established that, considering the stigma and discrimination faced by rape survivors, delay in reporting rape shouldn’t be used to throw doubt on a woman’s credibility.[2] Immigration Judge D P Herbert, who presided over Ms Nambi’s case at appeal agreed: 

 

“I accept as wholly plausible the explanation given by the appellant that she was too embarrassed and humiliated to disclose this to the Immigration Officer upon arrival.”

 

He ruled that she should not be returned.

 

I find that given the fact that this is a young woman who has been raped and treated in the most appalling manner by the Lord’s Resistance Army simply to return her to the capital city Kampala where she has never lived and has no family connections or means of support would be unduly harsh.” 

 

The Home Office appealed this decision and at the hearing Judge Handley went beyond his remit and accepted the Home Office argument that delay in reporting cast doubt on Ms Nambi’s account of rape.  Further appeals failed because higher courts ruled that whether Ms Nambi had been raped was irrelevant as she could safely be returned to another part of Uganda.

 

Removal scheduled for today.  Today Ms Nambi’s lawyers will take her case to the Appeal Court to try to prevent her flight.  We are determined to do everything we can to prevent her suffering any further, and are asking for your help by writing or phoning the above. 

 

Please send copies of emails/faxes of any letters you write to: war@womenagainstrape.net  Fax: 020 7209 4761

 



[1] See campaign Black Women’s Rape Action Group’s Asylum from Rape petition for the re-instatement of the Guidelines, for more information about this and how you can help by signing and circulating Black Women’s Rape Action Group’s Asylum from Rape petition.

[2] In 1998 WAR helped establish the High Court precedent that women may be unable, not unwilling, to report rape and therefore are entitled to further consideration of this “fresh evidence”. RvSSHD ex parte Ejon,(QBD) [1998] INLR 195



 

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