The rights of women seeking asylum: a charter

Every single woman, the new campaign under the¬†Women’s Asylum Charter focuses on the disparity in the treatment of women who are seeking asylum compared with women settled in the UK.

We believe a change of culture designed to produce a genuinely gender sensitive asylum system is urgently needed to ensure that women seeking asylum receive a comparable standard of treatment to women in similar situations who are settled here already.

Watch the film
Watch the film and consider whether this is how women should be treated in the UK.

>> If you would like a copy on DVD please email a request to

Read the report
Read the campaign briefing or the extended briefing for more detailed analysis comparing women in similar situations.

>> If you would like a copy of the report please email a request to

Campaign latest
10/12/10 ‘We weren’t born asylum seekers’ Debora Singer writes for openDemocracy to mark International Human Rights Day 2010

26/11/10 ‘The exeriences of asylum seeking women must be recognised’ Debora Singer writes for the Scottish Refugee Council

25/11/10 Home Secretary Theresa May MP launches the Coalition’s strategy to¬†end violence against women and girls, which commits to protecting the rights of women seeking asylum

23/11/10 Why Refugee Women charter is launched in Leeds

14/11/10 Govan and Craigton Integration Network launches postcard campaign building on the Charter

30/10/10 ‘It’s time we recognise the needs of women seeking asylum’ Debora Singer writes for Liberal Conspiracy

01/07/10 Charter of the Rights of Women Seeking Asylum 2 years on: impacts and actions published

To see the¬†terms of reference for the Charter’s engagement process with the UKBA on¬†Meeting the Needs of Women Seeking Asylum in the UK,¬†click here.

>> to see how the campaign has developed since November 2009 click here

Read the Charter
Please click here to read the¬†Charter and the accompanying¬†Explanatory Notes.¬† You can also read¬†Charter of the Right of Women 2 years on: impacts and actions, which provides a detailed assessment of the Charter’s impact so far.

Endorse the Charter
We are delighted that more than 250 organisations have now endorsed the Charter, to campaign collectively for the rights of women seeking asylum.  Click here to see thecurrent list of organisations who have done so.

Organisations that endorse the Charter commit themselves to promoting those aspects that are relevant to their work. If your organisation would like to endorse this Charter please email your organisation’s name to¬†

Join the discussion
If you ¬†are working on these issues, please join our¬†Women’s Asylum Charter Google Group so that we can coordinate our efforts. This will enable us to share ideas and good practice and monitor progress.

The Charter:

The rights of women seeking asylum: a charter
Women come to the UK to seek protection from a range of human rights abuses abroad. Whilst some of their experiences, such as being detained for their political activities, are the same as men’s, some of their experiences are gender specific.
Many have suffered, or are at risk of, gender persecution, including rape or sexual violence, honour crimes, forced marriage, domestic violence or female genital mutilation in countries where the state fails to protect them.
In leaving behind everything that is familiar these women show remarkable courage.
They deserve to be treated in a way that recognises their particular needs as women and how their asylum claims are affected by their gender.
All asylum seekers have the right to be treated consistently, with fairness, dignity and respect in accordance with the UK’s obligations under the international refugee and human rights conventions.
For women, this means:
1 women seeking asylum have the right to have their protection claims determined by an asylum system in the UK that is informed, in all aspects of its policy and operations, by a thorough understanding of the particular forms of persecution and human rights abuses that women experience because of their gender and of their particular
needs as women;
2 women seeking asylum have the right to an asylum determination process that recognises and takes into account their experiences of persecution and human rights abuses;
3 women seeking asylum have the right to accommodation, support and healthcare appropriate to their particular needs as women;
4 women seeking asylum have the right to be treated with dignity in a way that is appropriate to their needs as women and that ensures their safety if in detention or during removal.