Scrap ‘safe country’ list, urges charity

    Asylum Aid has urged the government to abandon its safe country
    list after it emerged that women were facing human rights abuses in
    countries deemed safe by the Home Office.

    Albania, Jamaica and Ukraine are among 24 countries on the Home
    Office’s “safe country list” even though lesbian women in Jamaica
    have been cut, raped, burned and shot on account of their
    sexuality

    In a report launched to coincide with Refugee Week, the charity
    highlights instances where girls who have been trafficked from
    Albania are returned to family members who trafficked them in the
    first place. Perpetrators of domestic violence in Ukraine can cite
    the victim’s behaviour in provoking outbreaks as an excuse for
    abuse.

    Maurice Wren, co-ordinator of Asylum Aid, accused the Home Office
    of failing to recognise the specific risks women face. “This
    research demonstrates that countries which the Home Office asserts
    are safe may be anything but safe for women.”

    Meanwhile, a separate report from campaign groups including Refugee
    Council and Amnesty International says that Home Office figures
    reveal that three out of four asylum applications in Britain are
    made by people fleeing countries in conflict.

    “Refugees are people forced to flee their homes in fear of their
    lives – this is a fact that is too often overlooked,” said Maeve
    Sherlock, Refugee Council chief executive, speaking on behalf all
    the agencies.

     Fleeing the Fighting: How conflict drives the search for
    asylum
    from www.refugeeweek.org.uk and
    Safe for Whom? from www.asylumaid.org.uk

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