Unsustainable: the quality of initial decision-making in women’s asylum claims

Asylum Aid has long held concerns about the treatment of women seeking asylum in the UK. This research was conducted to examine in detail one specific part of this process: the quality of the initial decisions made by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) when women claim asylum. The resulting report is the first in-depth study of decision-making for women seeking asylum since the introduction of the New Asylum Model in 2007. This Model was introduced partly to improve the way decisions were made, and this report tests how effective these reforms have proved.

Women’s asylum claims regularly present issues that are different from those presented by men, and can be highly complex and challenging. The findings in this report have deepened our concern that the UKBA is badly failing to meet this challenge, and that women seeking asylum are frequently let down by an extremely poor standard of decision-making. Continue reading “Unsustainable: the quality of initial decision-making in women’s asylum claims”

Arise and Shine. Self-advocacy. Asylum Seekers.

The Cast. Lydia Besong’s play “How I became an Asylum Seeker”. April 2, 2010 (without photos)

As this blog reaches it’s first anniversary the stories that have been whispering in my ear over the past twelve months are drawn together:

The Yarl’s Wood hunger strike. The forthcoming election. War and refugee movements. The unsavoury ways in which political parties capitalise on people’s fears about immigration. A lack of funding for investigative journalism, censorship – and recurring, stereotypical images of asylum seekers in the press.

Attending the “Arise and Shine” woman asylum seekers self-advocacy event in Manchester last week addressed all of these narratives.

The play and workshops were billed as a ‘Professional Development Opportunity’. As a trained teacher in Adult Education as well as a journalist I had a critical eye on how the event was organised. I was impressed from the start. Continue reading “Arise and Shine. Self-advocacy. Asylum Seekers.”