It is now exactly a year since the Charter of Rights of Women Seeking Asylum launched its campaign to close the Protection Gap. Following an extensive postcard campaign, the Home Office included all five of our demands in its Gender Asylum Action Plan produced in March 2015.
Now seems a good time to update the many supporters of the campaign about progress since then:
- The Home Office is following up the demands in its action plan.
- Women who have experienced the asylum system themselves continue to actively promote the campaign.
- And the campaign has gone international!
The campaign demands are:
The key reason that women are refused asylum is because they are not believed. Putting each of these measures in place would help women gain a more accurate credibility assessment for their asylum decisions.
In the course of the campaign a group of women refugees associated with the Evelyn Oldfield Unit have come together with Asylum Aid to work on promoting the campaign. Naming themselves the Protection Gap Advocates, they have developed ideas to ensure that these demands move from the Action Plan to being fully implemented. They have chosen to undertake a variety of activities as a group or individually. They have shared social media skills with each other to promote the campaign. The beautiful logos we are using for the campaign have been designed by Marjan. Princess C has been promoting a film she made with us focusing on the difficulties women face in getting an accurate credibility assessment. The Advocates’ next plan is to ensure that lawyers and asylum seeking women themselves know which measures are available to them already.
Here, Khedija and Princess A talk about the campaign and the Advocates’ activities:
Excitingly the Protection Gap campaign is reaching beyond the UK and into Europe.
Debora was invited to speak with three other experts at a hearing on the situation of women refugees and asylum seekers in Europe run by the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality of the European Parliament in Brussels on 3rd December. The hearing was led by Mary Honeyball MEP. We were thrilled that she included the demands of the Protection Gap campaign in the draft report she presented at the hearing. You can watch Debora speaking about the campaign to the European Committee here.
We are encouraged that the Home Office is continuing to liaise with us on their progress on the issues we have raised. They are taking our concerns very seriously and we are pleased they are following up all of the demands.
However we believe we need to continue to advocate for these demands until they are fully implemented. Only then will women have measures in place that enhance their chances of obtaining an accurate credibility assessment and the right initial asylum decision from the very beginning.