Whatever Happened to Asylum in Britain? A Tale of Two Walls

By M. Louise Pirouet | Go to book overview

6
Protecting Women,
Children and Families

1. Women

5.2 Some women asylum-seekers arrive alone. Others arrive as part of a family
unit and are sometimes not interviewed or are cursorily interviewed about
their experiences even when it is possible that they, rather than, or as well as,
their male relatives, have been persecuted. Male relatives or associates may not
raise relevant issues because they are unaware of them or are ashamed to
report them.

5.8 Women face particular difficulties in making their case to the authorities
especially when they have had experiences that are difficult and/or painful to
describe. The interview should be non-confrontational and exploratory. This
is critical for the full discussion of experiences relating to a woman’s claim.

(Refugee Women’s Legal Group, Gender Guidelines for the
Determination of Asylum Claims in the UK, 1998, 18–19.)

UNHCR endorses the principle of gender specific guidelines and recognises the
need for such guidelines in the UK. We congratulate the RWLG on compiling such
a quality document.

(Representative of the UNHCR in the United Kingdom, May, 1998.)

For a variety of reasons women face particular difficulties when applying for asylum. They may come from societies where women are not expected to take initiatives, and so, finding themselves endangered and forced to flee, they may then be disadvantaged as women as they try to make their claims for asylum. The newly-produced gender guidelines recommend that ‘if a woman is interviewed in connection with her asylum claim, she should have access to a

-108-

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Whatever Happened to Asylum in Britain? A Tale of Two Walls
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Abbreviations vi
  • Foreword vii
  • Introduction - A Matter of National Pride 1
  • 1 - Setting the Scene 9
  • 2 - The Tamils and the 1987 Watershed 28
  • 3 - Making Decisions 45
  • 4 - A Right of Appeal 65
  • 5 - Without Charge or Trial 81
  • 6 - Protecting Women, Children and Families 108
  • 7 - Building Walls around Fortress Europe 124
  • 8 - Keeping Them out- Building a Wall around the UK 143
  • 9 - Supporting Asylum-Seekers 166
  • Afterword - What of the Future? 187
  • Bibliography 193
  • Index 201
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