This month the UK hosted a global Summit aimed at ending sexual violence in conflict zones. Refugee Council volunteer and secretary of the London Refugee Women’s Forum Jade, attended the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence last week.
Jade was there as part of Women for Refugee Women’s delegation and met the star host Angelina Jolie at the Women for Refugee Women’s stand. Here, Jade explains why she used the chance to raise the UK’s treatment of asylum seeking women with the Hollywood star.
It was the best start of the week at ExCel London; people from all over the world had gathered to stamp out sexual violence in conflict.
A number of refugee groups; Women for Refugee Women, the London Women’s Refugee Forum, Refugee Council and Freedom from Torture all used the Summit as an opportunity to highlight the difficulties sexual violence survivors face when they flee conflict zones and claim asylum in the UK.
I met Angelina Jolie face to face and I explained to her about the asylum seeking women currently detained in Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre whose only crime is seeking the UK’s protection.
I also told her that many asylum seeking women are destitute; forced to sleep in phone boxes, train stations and on the streets. They are very vulnerable; at risk of being forced into being domestic slaves or being sexually exploited. They live in horrendous situations.
Angelina is a great listener and I could see tears in her eyes.
As a refugee myself, I went through what these women are going through; I still feel dirty but Angelina and Juliet Stevenson both gave me big bear hugs.
As you are all aware, many organisations have been campaigning for asylum seeking women to be treated with dignity for a very long time. It is time the Government acts!