Sunday, March 28, 2004

Ja: Ashcroft may open the doors to women refugees

IN THE March 11, 2004 edition of the New York Times, writer Rachel Swarns informed her readers that John Ashcroft, Attorney-General of the United States, has been given a 43-page legal brief. The brief will prepare him to make the decision on whether or not to grant political asylum to dozens of battered women who are now seeking refuge in the U.S.

The majority of these victims of domestic violence and spousal abuse claim that the authorities in their countries "repeatedly ignored them when they tried to report and escape their abusive partners."

If the Attorney-General approves the rules that are in the brief presented to him the U.S. will allow political asylum to women from many cultures and open "the door to women fleeing countries that condone severe domestic abuse, genital mutilation and other forms of acute violence against women."
On a number of occasions I have been asked by immigration lawyers in both Britain and the U.S. to give 'expert opinion' on whether or not Jamaican women who have applied should be considered for political asylum on the basis of the gender-based violence that they claimed forced them to leave Jamaica. In all good conscience, I could not argue that the Jamaican state condones such violence. In fact, pieces of legislation such as the Domestic Violence Act and the establishment of Sexual Abuse Units in many police stations and the training of the rank and file in an understanding of the issues that are related to gender-based violence, are all indicators that the State is making great efforts to deal with the violence that is challenging the social stability of the society.
Let us face the issues squarely. If women such as Patsy Parkinson seek political asylum in the U.S., Britain or Australia, they should be supported in their bid because the Jamaican state is not able to provide the full range of services such as shelters, counselling, relocation and therapies that are needed to protect women who are victims of gender-based violence.
Just when you thought AG John Ashcroft was a devil, now comes this. What are liberals going to say if Ashcroft signs off on this? Same thing they're saying about the very woman-friendly GWB. Nothing good.

On another note. It's a given that many of these women will be from Arab and African countries cuz that is where genital mutilation and other similar aggressions against women occur. Many of these women will be Islamic, possibly. The question is, will these women then turn around and, in this country, enter the same Islamic culture that supports violence against them? If the answer is yes, AG Ashcroft might as well not sign this.


Blogger Trinidad Shipping said...

Thanks for the effort you took to expand upon this post so thoroughly. I look forward to future posts.
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9:41 AM  

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