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We know this is a very difficult time for many people. We are responding to calls and emails, although it may take us a bit longer than usual. If you are suffering domestic violence or rape please call the police if it’s an emergency on 999.  You can call the 24-hour Domestic Violence helpline on 0808 2000 247 for help with urgent accommodation and other issues.

DOMESTIC ABUSE BILL in Parliament today

MUST PROTECT MOTHERS and TACKLE WOMEN’S POVERTY


The Domestic Abuse Bill is debated in Parliament again today – it must help protect women’s and children’s lives.
 
The Bill introduces new Domestic Abuse Protection Orders, which should offer more protection in an emergency.  But it must go further to tackle women’s poverty and the appalling sexism mothers and children face in family courts.   

Mothers face an impossible struggle.  If we report domestic violence or if we don’t, we are blamed for harming our children by having a violent partner, even though we are victims.  Our children are taken from us, put in care or even given to the violent father.  

The family courts have allowed themselves to be used by violent fathers to continue their abuse and control.  The presumed “rights” of fathers to see their children, regardless of a history of violence, are generally prioritised over the safety and wishes of children and the efforts of mothers to protect them from harm.  

As part of the Support Not Separation Coalition which defends women and children facing the family court, we know that between 70 and 90% of cases involve domestic violence, yet only 1% of fathers are denied access to children.  Over 70% of the cases brought to us involve domestic violence, including rape.

We demand: immediate changes to family courts so women who report violence do not risk having their children taken away or given to the perpetrators.  (See our amendments to the Domestic Violence Bill.)  Implementation of Section 17 of the 1989 Children Act to keep children safe with their mothers.  Judges who refuse to apply the law must be removed – we won’t go back to the 1970s when rape in marriage was considered legal!  

Court judgements have repeated flouted the rights of children and mothers to safety and welfare, and court professionals often display shocking disregard for the basic legal protections victims have won.  Many of the mothers and children struggling against injustice are women of colour or immigrant, and/or have a disability.

    One judge repeatedly insisted a violent father, convicted for attacking the mother, be brought from prison to the family court, breaking an exclusion order from the mother’s and children’s town. No protection was available in or around the court, and the judge called her ‘pedantic’ when she asked about it. We succeeded in getting the judge removed from the case.  

Another judge ruled that the rape of a pregnant woman by her partner who woke her in her sleep was not rape even though he acknowledged the rape in a text, because she hadn’t fought him off. The judge allowed contact.  

As foster carers and contact centres are now inaccessible during the coronavirus lockdown, mothers’ contact with children who have been taken from their care has been curtailed even further, cutting children off from their mothers.  

Remote family court hearings are causing injustice and retraumatising vulnerable women.  When they are isolated on a phoneline to the court they are denied meaningful access to a lawyer (if they have one) and can’t talk to any lay supporter.  

For many women and children the lockdown and #StayAtHome directive are a like a “prison sentence” with a violent and controlling man.  Support workers and the police have reported that the murder of women has doubled [1] in the UK with at least 16 killings between 23 March and 12 April 2020, including of children. Reports of domestic violence have mushroomed all around the world. China and Spain saw a surge in calls reporting domestic violence, while police in France reported a 30% increase in domestic abuse cases.[2]  

Women around the world have been demanding emergency safety measures, including cash and housing.  In some European countries, like Spain, Italy and France, women have won new State protections, including: emergency refuge in hotels or the eviction of violent men from the home, helplines and code words to alert pharmacists to call the police.  

In the UK, the Home Secretary has said victims can leave their home despite the lockdown.  But where are they to go?  What are they to live on?  As with the protective equipment demanded by health and care workers, our survival and protection are not being prioritised.  Yesterday’s Home Affairs Committee report demands money for services.  But funding charities is not enough – women need our own money.  

A decade of austerity wiped out our financial independence and our escape routes out of violence.  Women have suffered 86% of the cuts.[3]  Benefits and social housing were slashed – a key source of independence for women.  The bedroom tax and total benefit cap hit mums and kids fleeing violence. Refuges have been cut: 1 in 6 refuges closed over the past 8 years.  Women’s Aid reported this month that even before lockdown they had to decline 64% of referrals over 2018-19.[4]  

The withdrawal of social care services leaves disabled women more at risk of abuse as we are forced to rely on family and friends who can turn abusive. Unwaged family carers are suffering domestic violence during lockdown as Council support is not provided to disabled adults with aggressive and challenging behaviour, and day centres are closed.

This is echoed in the criminal justice system’s disgraceful response to violence.  Before the virus, an average of two women a week were murdered by partners or ex-partners often after reports to police.  And despite a 40% increase in reports of rape over 2012-2018, in 2019 convictions fell to 3% – the lowest in a decade.[5]  

The anti-rape movement has won important protections over the years: ● WAR’s 15-year campaign got rape in marriage finally recognised as a crime in 1991 ● We exposed and defeated some outrageous discrimination in the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme, especially against those who were raped as children, and won thousands of pounds for individual victims ● Official recognition that rape is torture and grounds for asylum: we won the right to stay for many rape survivors seeking asylum.  

But the falling conviction rates for rape and domestic violence show that in reality the state has given violent men near total impunity.  And without financial independence our vulnerability to violence and injustice remains.  

WE DEMAND:

·     Immediate safe accommodation for women and children in emergency need. 

·     Immediate changes to the family courts as outlined above.

·     A permanent end to benefit sanctions and other punitive measures, especially to disabled and traumatised claimants. People pressing their needs during COVID-19 brought some benefit changes but Universal Credit is lower than many previous benefits it replaces, and makes women financially dependent on men. ESA which a lot of traumatised women get, has not had the £20 increase like other benefits. They must scrap the two-child limit, total benefit cap and policies which pay money to the man in the household rather than individually to the woman. Scrap the bedroom tax. Raise child benefit. All payments must be made without delay.  The welfare state must be rebuilt and expanded – we need urgent access to benefits and social housing. 

·     We support the call for a Care Income made by the Global Women’s Strike and the Green New Deal for Europe.  The virus crisis has shown how dependent society is on caring work, waged and unwaged, in the family and outside, and how women in particular care for extended families and neighbours.  For the health and protection of people and the environment to be prioritised, those already doing caring work must be compensated.  Money from the state would guarantee financial independence from men and our ability to protect ourselves and our children.  We could refuse unwanted sexual demands, and have the means to leave and to use the law.   Women fleeing or surviving after violence deserve an income for self-care and recovery, and to be there for traumatised children.

·     Thorough investigations and prosecutions by the police and Crown Prosecution Service.  The Corona Virus Act has given police free reign to arrest, fine and criminalise, and even to fine the parents of young people who leave the house.  We demand a change of priorities so that resources go into protecting women and children from violence.  We demand accountability from those charged with protecting us – those who don’t implement the law should be sacked.

·     An amnesty against deportations #Papers For All. Over 70% of women seeking asylum have fled from rape but sexism, racism and other injustice in the asylum process leaves them destitute. Sign the Open Letter to the Prime Minister of the UK and the Taoiseach of Ireland demanding  the release of all immigration detainees, free health care, and an end to destitution.    

28 April 2020  

Notes
1 Data collated by Karen Igala Smith of Nia Project. Looking at the same period over the last 10 years, data records an average of 5 deaths. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/apr/15/domestic-abuse-killings-more-than-double-amid-covid-19-lockdown 

2 https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2020/04/08/domestic-abuse-reports-coronavirus

3 Women’s Budget Group, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/09/women-bearing-86-of-austerity-burden-labour-research-reveals

4 Women’s Aid

5 There were 58,657 complaints in the year to March, but just 1,925 of those resulted in a successful prosecution.’ https://metro.co.uk/2019/12/17/anger-police-just-3-rape-cases-lead-conviction-11918901/

CORONAVIRUS AND VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND CHILDREN: WE DEMAND THE RESOURCES TO ENSURE SAFETY AND PROTECTION

This coronavirus crisis comes on top of the rape and domestic violence crisis and the austerity crisis.

For many women and children the lockdown and #StayAtHome directive are a like a “prison sentence” with a violent and controlling man.  Support workers and the police have reported that the murder of women has doubled [1]in the UK with at least 16 killings between 23 March and 12 April 2020, including of children. Reports of domestic violence have mushroomed all around the world. China and Spain saw a surge in calls reporting domestic violence, while police in France reported a 30% increase in domestic abuse cases.[2]

In the UK, the Home Secretary has said victims can leave their home despite the lockdown.  But where are they to go?  What are they to live on?  As with the protective equipment demanded by health and care workers, our survival and protection are not being prioritised.

A decade of austerity wiped out our financial independence and our escape routes out of violence.  Women have suffered 86% of the cuts.[3]  Benefits and social housing were slashed – a key source of independence for women.  Refuges have been cut: 1 in 6 refuges closed over the past 8 years.  Women’s Aid reported this month that before lockdown, they had to decline 64% of referrals in 2018-19.[4]

The withdrawal of social care services leaves disabled women more at risk of abuse as we are forced to rely on family and friends who can turn abusive. Unwaged family carers are suffering domestic violence during lockdown as Council support is not provided to disabled adults with aggressive and challenging behaviour, and day centres are closed.

This is echoed in the criminal justice system’s disgraceful response to violence.  Before the virus, an average of two women a week were murdered by partners or ex-partners often after reports to police.  And despite a 40% increase in reports of rape over 2012-2018, in 2019 convictions fell to 3% – the lowest in a decade.[5]

Mothers in particular face an impossible struggle.  If we report domestic violence or if we don’t, we are blamed for harming our children by having a violent partner, even though we are victims.  Our children are taken from us, put in care or even given to the violent father.

The family courts have allowed themselves to be used by violent fathers to continue their abuse and control.  The presumed “rights” of fathers to see their children, regardless of a history of violence, are generally prioritised over the safety and wishes of children and the efforts of mothers to protect them from harm.

As part of the Support Not Separation Coalition which defends women and children facing the family court, we know that between 70 and 90% of cases involve domestic violence, yet only 1% of fathers are denied access to children.  Over 70% of the cases brought to us involve domestic violence, including rape.  Court judgements have repeated flouted the rights of children and mothers to safety and welfare, and court professionals often display shocking disregard for the basic legal protections victims have won.  Many of the mothers and children struggling against injustice are women of colour or immigrant, and/or have a disability.  

One judge repeatedly insisted a violent father, convicted for attacking the mother, be brought from prison to the family court, breaking an exclusion order from the mother’s and children’s town. No protection was available in or around the court, and the judge called her ‘pedantic’ when she asked about it. We succeeded in getting the judge removed from the case.

Another judge ruled that the rape of a pregnant woman by her partner who woke her in her sleep was not rape even though he acknowledged the rape in a text, because she hadn’t fought him off. The judge allowed contact.

As foster carers and contact centres are inaccessible during the lockdown, mothers’ contact with children who have been taken from their care has been curtailed even further, cutting children off from their mothers.

The anti-rape movement has won important protections over the years: ● WAR’s 15-year campaign got rape in marriage finally recognised as a crime in 1991 ● We exposed and defeated some outrageous discrimination in the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme, especially against those who were raped as children, and won thousands of pounds for individual victims ● Official recognition that rape is torture and grounds for asylum: we won the right to stay for many rape survivors seeking asylum.

But the falling conviction rates for rape and domestic violence show that in reality the state has given violent men near total impunity.  And without financial independence our vulnerability to violence and injustice remains.

WE DEMAND:

Immediate safe accommodation for women and children in emergency need.  

Support for disabled children and disabled mothers entitled to care and childcare help under the Care Act (made discretionary by the Coronavirus Act).

Immediate changes to the family courts so women who report violence do not risk having their children taken away or given to the perpetrators.  (See our amendments on this to the Domestic Violence Bill which is going through Parliament now – the Bill must go further to protect us.)  Implementation of Section 17 of the 1989 Children Act to keep children safe with their mothers.  Judges who refuse to apply the law must be removed – we won’t go back to the 1970s when rape in marriage was considered legal!

A permanent end to benefit sanctions and other punitive measures, especially to disabled and traumatised claimants.  People pressing their needs during COVID-19 brought some benefit changes but Universal Credit is lower than many previous benefits it replaces, and makes women financial dependent on men. ESA which a lot of traumatised women get, has not had the £20 increase like other benefits. They must Scrap the two-child limit, total benefit cap and policies which pay money to the man in the household rather than individually to the woman. Scrap the Bedroom Tax. Raise Child Benefit. All payments must be made without delay.  The welfare state must be rebuilt and expanded – we need urgent access to benefits and social housing. 

We support the call for a Care Income made by the Global Women’s Strike and the Green New Deal for Europe.  The virus crisis has shown how dependent society is on caring work, waged and unwaged, in the family and outside, and how women in particular care for extended families and neighbours.  For the health and protection of people and the environment to be prioritised, those already doing caring work must be compensated.  Money from the state would guarantee financial independence from men and our ability to protect ourselves and our children.  We could refuse unwanted sexual demands, and have the means to leave and to use the law.  Women fleeing or surviving violence deserve an income for self-care and recovery, and to be there for tramatised children.

Thorough investigations and prosecutions by the police and Crown Prosecution Service.  The Coronavirus Act has given police free rein to arrest, fine and criminalise, and even to fine the parents of young people who leave the house.  We demand a change of priorities so that resources go into protecting women and children from violence.  We demand accountability from those charged with protecting us – those who don’t implement the law should be sacked.

An amnesty against deportations #Papers For All. Over 70% of women seeking asylum have fled from rape but sexism, racism and other injustice in the asylum process leaves them destitute. Sign the Open Letter to the Prime Minister of the UK and the Taoiseach of Ireland demanding  the release of all immigration detainees, free health care, and an end to destitution.

30 April 2020

Notes

1 Data collated by Karen Igala Smith of Nia Project. Looking at the same period over the last 10 years, data records an average of 5 deaths. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/apr/15/domestic-abuse-killings-more-than-double-amid-covid-19-lockdown 

2 https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2020/04/08/domestic-abuse-reports-coronavirus

3 Women’s Budget Group, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/09/women-bearing-86-of-austerity-burden-labour-research-reveals

4 Women’s Aid, 2020

5 There were 58,657 complaints in the year to March, but just 1,925 of those resulted in a successful prosecution.’ https://metro.co.uk/2019/12/17/anger-police-just-3-rape-cases-lead-conviction-11918901/

Domestic Abuse Bill: AMENDMENTS from Black Women’s Rape Action Project & Women Against Rape, part of the Support not Separation coalition

On family courts –

Insert new clauses into Part 3: Family Proceedings following Clause 75 on cross examination:

  • Remove Section 11 (2A) of the Children and Families Act 2014 which presumes that it is always in a child’s best interest to have contact with both parents. 

RATIONALE: This has resulted in a presumption of contact for fathers regardless of any history of rape and/or Domestic Abuse. For the welfare of children to be paramount, their safety and the safety of the mother, who is usually the primary carer, must be prioritised over father’s residence and contact. Fathers who are violent to their children or their partners should not have contact with their children. Thousands of children are being harmed physically and psychologically by being forced into contact with fathers they are terrified of.  

  • Reduce the threshold of official evidence required when domestic violence is raised as an issue in the family courts.

    RATIONALE: Evidence must include reports to GP, midwife, counsellor, etc., as well as non-molestation and/or occupation order. This is even more crucial now that the level of convictions for rape and DA are at an all-time low and violent men have near impunity from prosecution. The majority of victims do not report domestic abuse or rape to the police and when they do they can expect little or no protection.

  • Remove Clause 120 in the Adoption & Children Act 2002 which extended the definition of significant harm (Children Act 1989) to include “impairment suffered from seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another”. 

RATIONALE: This addition to the definition of significant harm was meant to protect children. It has instead been used to take children from mothers who are victims of DA, further victimising the child and the mother instead of providing the help and support they need to leave violent men. It is unbearably cruel and discriminatory. DA has become the most common reason to remove children from their mother, thus isolating children from their only protector. Violent men know this and taunt telling them, ‘Go ahead and report me and they’ll take the kids from you.’ There is evidence from the US, and we must look for evidence here, that separation from one’s mother causes more serious harm than witnessing DA. For this reason, the New York courts have ruled that children should not be removed from mothers who are victims of DA.

  • End the use of ‘parental alienation’ to remove children from their mothers. Ensure that courts take seriously children’s allegations of sexual abuse by fathers.  

RATIONALE: Children and mothers who make accusations of violence are disbelieved or dismissed even when these incidents have been reported to the police or others in authority and despite evidence of how pervasive DA is.

Mothers are routinely accused of poisoning their children’s minds when they report what the children are telling them. It is horrifying that mothers are instructed by the court to force their children, whom they know are being abused, often sexually, to have contact with the man who is abusing them. The law is supposed to protect children not rapists. Mothers who defy the court in order to protect their children risk having their children taken from them and left without protection. As a result, mothers are increasingly wary of mentioning DA.

‘Parental alienation’ is the discredited theory of Dr Richard A Gardner, a US misogynist psychiatrist who dismissed domestic abuse and defended paedophilia. It is shocking that CAFCASS which was created to protect children is using this. It shows the impact that organisations of domestic abuse deniers have had on the family courts.

  • Prioritise implementation of Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 so that resources are made available to mothers and children facing domestic abuse, in particular access to benefits and housing, without which many women are trapped with violent men.

RATIONALE: Section 17 exists to help ensure that children are raised by their family and therefore provides for local authorities to use their resources to keep children within the family. But it is not being implemented. This is particularly outrageous given that austerity policies have targeted single mother families: over 4 million children are living in poverty, single mothers are 75% of those affected by Universal Credit, and 86% of austerity cuts have been borne by women. Section 17 is needed more than ever and could make a massive difference to DA victims. Instead huge amounts of money are spent wrenching screaming children from their mothers’ arms, causing significant and lifelong harm. An increasingly privatised industry is profiting from the pain of children and mothers. This must stop and the original purpose of the law must be adhered to.

  • Open the family courts to public scrutiny. 

RATIONALE: End the secrecy which has shielded the family courts from public scrutiny, and delayed the introduction of protections the women’s movement won in other civil and criminal courts. Transparency can be safely introduced with reference to the law protecting the anonymity of victims of sexual offences under the Sexual Offences Amendment Act 1994. The same should be done in the family courts. In many US states family courts are open and this has not been detrimental to children.

INSERT in Part 3, Section 31W:

  • Reinstate legal aid in family cases, so that women are not forced to represent themselves.
  •  Implement Practice Direction 12j and 3AA. Do risk assessments and findings of fact whenever violence is an issue.

Proposed amendments to other parts of the Bill

INSERT in Part 1 Chapter 3, in orderto improve protection by the criminal justice system and civil courts:

  • The police should prioritise investigating crimes of violence against women over minor offences they suspect women of committing.
  • The police should arrest, charge and prosecute violent men, especially when they commit a second or third offence.

This is urgent as the rape and DA conviction rates are at rock bottom granting violent men impunity from prosecution.

Community Resolutions or Out of Court Resolutions are not appropriate for a violent crime and are dangerous.

To make police officers more accountable, take disciplinary action if a woman is murdered after repeated calls to police for help and protection.

  • End the hostile environment for immigrant women: stop women being detained and/or deported when they report DA.
  • End domestic abuse being classed as an either way offence, which results in many cases being closed after 6 months.
  • Make it easier for women to get a non-molestation order (e.g. abolish the costs) and routinely add power of arrest.

DELETE in PART 1, Ch. 4, section 54, section on polygraph conditions:

  • Delete the clause on lie detector tests, which are notoriously unreliable.

INSERT IN PART 1, Ch. 4, section 54:

  • Provide protection from the offender when he is released from prison.

INSERT in PART 1, Chapter 4, Section 56, Clause 1 where the Bill refers to housing (keeping a lifetime council tenancy).

  • Economic abuse and economic independence.
    The Bill includes economic abuse in the definition of Domestic Abuse, but to tackle economic abuse thoroughly, the Bill must also enable a woman’s economic independence from men, regardless of her social class, so that she can leave a violent man. The government must properly fund women’s vital escape routes beginning with: welfare benefits, social housing, and refuges.  

July 2019

AMNESTY FROM DEPORTATION, ACCESS TO HEALTH, HOUSING AND FOOD

SIGN THE PETITION HERE

An Open Letter to the Prime Minister of the UK and the Taoiseach of Ireland

cc:   UK Home Secretary and UK Health Secretary,
Irish Health Secretary and Irish Minister for Justice and Equality,
All UK MPs, All Members of the Irish Parliament (the Oireachtas),
All Leaders and CEOs of Local Authorities and Health Services in the UK, All CEOs of Councils and Health Services in Ireland, Professor Neil Ferguson, Imperial College, London, Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Ireland, Prof Ruairi Brugha, Professor of Public Health and Epidemiology, Ireland

27th March 2020

Dear Sirs

RE: ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE, HOUSING AND FOOD FOR ALL

We call upon the British and Irish States to act immediately so that all undocumented, destitute and migrant people in the legal process in both the UK and Ireland are granted Status Now, as in Leave to Remain.  In this way every human, irrespective of their nationality or citizenship can access healthcare, housing, food and the same sources of income from the State as everyone else.  

Everyone has the right to be in an environment where they can follow the Public Health directives necessary to limit COVID19 viral transmission to the absolute minimum and to care for themselves, their loved ones and their living and working communities.

It is imperative – being in everyone’s best interests – that the basic needs of all are met.

People living in extreme poverty and/or destitution and/or without immigration status in the UK or Ireland and/or without access to the NHS or the Irish Health System:

•             Are unable to socially isolate as needed
•             Cannot access health care, and income and other social support
•             Cannot contribute openly and without fear, to making the population as safe as possible, alongside everyone else. 

Key Points
–              Currently, migrant people who are in the legal system cannot keep physically safe on their allowances, because those allowances don’t amount to enough money to eat healthily, or buy and apply appropriate cleaning materials, and many are living in accommodation where they cannot socially isolate as they may want and need to.

–              People who are destitute and/or undocumented and living in the shadows fear what will happen to them if they identify themselves, cannot access healthcare, emergency shelter and food, nor report or seek protection from domestic violence, rape, exploitation and other abuses – levels of which are already rising.

Please direct your responses, as a matter of urgency obviously, to admin@rapar.org.uk

Yours sincerely,

All African Women’s Group
ATD Fourth World
BASW Cymru – British Association of Social Workers, Cymru
BFAWU – Bakers’, Food & Allied Workers Union
Black Women’s Rape Action Project
Comhlamh
Commonword/Cultureword
DocsNotCops
Doncaster Conversation Club
DPAC – Disabled People Against Cuts
EYST Wales – Ethnic Minorities and Youth Support Team, Wales
GDWG – Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group
Haringey Welcome
Highly Skilled Migrants UK
Legal Action for Women
Lichfield City of Sanctuary
Lichfield Refugee Aid
Lichfield Quaker Meeting
Manchester City of Sanctuary
MASI – Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland
Medical Professionals in the UK Seeking Registration
Middle East Solidarity Magazine
Migrants Rights Network
MOJUK – Miscarriages of Justice UK
MRRC – Manchester Refugee Rights Collective
No-Deportations – Residence Papers for All
Oldham Unity
Positive Action in Housing
Poverty Truth Community
Project 17
Public Interest Law Centre
QARN – Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network
RAPAR – Refugee and Asylum seeker Participatory Action Research
Remodel
Samphire
Reclaim the Power
Women of Colour/Global Women’s Strike

(Preliminary Signatories)

Secret policy change by CPS cut number of rape trials, high court told

Application on behalf of women’s group follows concern over fall in number of charges

Owen Bowcott and Caelainn Barr  The Guardian  Tue 17 Mar 2020

legal challenge over alleged changes to Crown Prosecution Service policy on bringing charges in rape cases has been dismissed by the high court.

The judges, Dame Victoria Sharp, president of the Queen’s Bench Division, and Lord Justice Singh, denied permission for the case to proceed to a full hearing on Tuesday.

The challenge by a coalition of victims’ organisation sought to prove that the CPS had raised the bar for charging suspects in rape cases.

The high court heard arguments that there had been a “precipitous drop” in the number of rape cases brought to trial due to a secret and unlawful change in policy adopted by the CPS.

The CPS adopted an internal conviction rate target of 60% of cases charged and became increasingly risk averse although it consulted with no one outside the organisation about the new approach, Phillippa Kaufmann QC told judges.

Her application on behalf of the End Violence Against Women Coalition follows concern over steep falls in rape charges and convictions in recent years at a time when an increasing number of women have been making rape complaints to police.

“This change [in policy] was brought about in secrecy and no one was told even afterwards,” Kaufmann told the court.

The changes were introduced from late 2016 after an internal review by the CPS’s director of legal services, Gregor McGill, it was alleged.

It resulted in refresher training of prosecutors that in effect abandoned the established policy of a what is known as a “merits-based approach” to assessing whether to charge suspects in rape cases, Kaufmann said.

“The easiest way to [raise the conviction rate],” she added, “is to whip out those cases that are a bit weaker … No one knew about it until it was leaked by an individual inside the CPS.”

The consequence, Kaufmann said, was that some prosecutors reverted what had been known as the bookmakers’ approach – guessing the probability of a jury convicting on the evidence and becoming reluctant to press ahead with more difficult rape cases.

But the CPS, which successfully, resisted the challenge, argued that courts should not become “an arbiter of prosecutorial policy”.

In written submissions, lawyer for the director of public prosecutions (DPP), Max Hill QC, said it was factually wrong to allege that prosecutors have now adopted a “bookmaker’s test” approach.

The CPS maintained that the courts should dismiss the claim at this preliminary stage and not proceed to a full judicial review of the arguments.

“There has not been a change in policy,” Tom Little QC, for the DPP, told the court. “The fall on conviction rates is due to a far wider range of factors involving the police that are now the subject of a government review.”

Rape victims who donated to the legal challenge, because they felt failed by the CPS, are set to see their donations go towards the institution’s legal costs.

The CPS is pursuing legal costs against the women’s rights’ charity the End Violence Against Women Coalition, and asked for a request to cap legal costs to be denied. The CPS were awarded £35,000 – £41, 000 in legal costs by judges ruling on the request for a judicial review into the claims.

The coalition’s director, Sarah Green, said: “We have no regrets about bringing this case. It was the right thing to do, and it was entirely necessary to challenge our justice system institutions when they are failing to keep women safe and deliver access to justice.

“We have been approached by so many women who have been let down by the CPS as we prepared this case. We know there are really serious problems. But instead of working with us, the CPS chose to fight us.

“It is a long way from the kind of leadership we need in our public institutions … The CPS is arguably failing to keep with the times on expectations for justice after sexual violence. The situation as it is cannot hold, it amounts to the effective decriminalisation of rape.”

The charity received hundreds of donations, many for £10 and £20, via a crowd justice campaign ahead of the hearing. Many messages left with the donations were from women who said they had been raped but denied justice. One donor wrote: “Having been through the system myself and being failed on every level I so wish you every success.” Under the anonymous donation of £10, someone simply wrote: “I never got justice.”

The legal challenge also received £10,000 from the family of Jill Saward, the Ealing rape victim who became a leading figure in the fight against sexual violence.

Harriet Wistrich, director of the Centre for Women’s Justice, who supported the claim, said: “We are deeply, deeply disappointed that [the judges] didn’t see there was a basis on which the case arguable.

“We feel they were just not prepared to grapple with all the detail and ultimately they saw it as a factual dispute. The court was not prepared to get involved.”

Wistrich said they were considering appealing against the ruling at the court of appeal. “We don’t see this as a loss because we think we won in the court of public opinion.”

On the heavy costs of £41,000 imposed on the claimants, she added: “ It’s astounding that the CPS have pushed for as much in costs against a small women’s charity.”

NEWS FLASH: Victory after living for 17 years in limbo!

Ms O from Cote D’Ivoire – announces today 3 March 2020 that she has finally won refugee status.

Speaking at today’s self-help session (which BWRAP helps coordinate) Ms O described how the immigration judge at her appeal hearing intervened to stop the Home Office barrister from putting intrusive and upsetting questions to her about her experiences.

One of the French-speaking sisters in the session translated for her – “I hardly knew what was happening in the hearing because when the Home Office started interrogating me I broke down with my hands in my head. The judge was so angry and told them to stop. Last week I got a call from my barrister who confirmed I can finally stay here – I’m so happy after living so many years destitute and suffering terrible things here in the UK too. I thank everyone for their support over all these years“.

Ms O’s victory is the latest in a series of fantastic successes at Appeal by women using our collective self-help support overturning racist and sexist decisions in the Home Office’s hostile environment.

Come to the Crossroads Women’s Centre International Women’s Day event to find out more about our work and how you can get involved. . .

International Women’s Day @ Crossroads Women’s Centre

Join us in the afternoon at the Crossroads Women’s Centre – let’s talk about campaigns for justice, compensation, asylum . . .

IWD 8M: OPEN DAY with the Global Women’s Strike (GWS) and other organisations at the Crossroads Women’s Centre All welcome

Programme 12-6pm


12-12.30 Welcome and exhibition Honouring Women

12.30-12.50 Film: Poverty is not neglect – protect the bond between mother and child + open mic with Support not Separation

12.50-1.10 Film: Women of Colour North and South + open mic with Women of Colour in the Global Women’s Strike (GWS)

1.10-1.30 Film: End detention, destitution, deportation + open mic with All African Women’s Group, Black Women’s Rape Action Project and Global Women Against Deportation

1.30-2 Break and refreshments

2-2.40 Film: All Work and No Pay (1976) + open mic with the Wages for Housework Campaign/GWS

2.40-3 Film: Breastfeeding & a care income – for health & climate justice (2019) + open mic with the Milk of Human Kindness

3-3.30 Break and refreshments

3.30-3.50 Film: Disability is hard work – an independent income is our right + open mic with WinVisible

3.50-4.10 Film: Survival sex is not a crime + open mic with English Collective of Prostitutes and International Prostitutes Collective

4.10-4.30 Film: Prosecute rapists not rape survivors + open mic with Women Against Rape

4.30-4.45 Break and refreshments

4.45-5.05 Film: Opposing occupation, weapons and war + open mic with Payday men’s network and Queer Strike

5.05-5.45 Palestinian women speak for themselves + open mic with WoC GWS and Payday

5.45-6 Film: Striking women around the globe + open mic with GWS and WoC GWS

Eminent jurists write to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling for Julian Assange’s immediate release.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 22 February 2020

With Julian Assange’s extradition hearing set to begin on Monday, February 24th more than 40 international jurists have written to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The jurists’ letter asks for the rule of law to be upheld and details several issues with the way the case has been conducted to date. These include the difficulties that Assange has encountered communicating with his legal counsel from Belmarsh Prison and the systematic compromise of his legally privileged meetings while he was living in the Ecuaorian Embassy in London.

Icelandic lawyer Olga Margrét Cilia notes that “Everyone has the right to a fair trial and the presumption of innocence.”

The signatories highlight what they see as the disregard shown by the British authorities towards their duties and responsibilities under British and international law. Their letter calls on the UK authorities to deny the US extradition request and urges the UK government to immediately release Mr Assange.

Hong Kong barrister Robert Tibbo points out that “governments have resorted to using their enormous political powers and resources to permanently silence Mr Assange with a clear motivation to create a global chilling effect on journalism and freedom of expression. The US, UK and other nations must be held to account for their unlawful treatment of him, but also for the unlawful acts they have committed as exposed by Mr Assange in publishing evidence provided by whistleblowers.”

The jurists express alarm at the sweeping, extra-territorial claims being made by the prosecution of a non-US citizen for conduct outside the United States. Australian barrister Greg Barns says that “Many Australian lawyers are rightly disturbed by the Assange case. It represents a threat by the United States to abuse extra-territorial reach so it can seek to prosecute individuals who have no link with the US jurisdiction but who simply publish material which displeases Washington.”

Prof. Heather Ellis Cucolo, of the New York Law School, adds that “Mr. Assange would no doubt face a politicized show trial in the United States”.

The signatories call on the British legal community to reclaim professional standards, to condemn the torture of Mr. Assange and to engage in urgent actions to secure his immediate and safe release.

Media queries should be directed to Deepa Govindarajan Driver on + 44 7979 917 197 or deepadriver@protonmail.com

Bridges for Media Freedom

Editors’ notes

Mr Assange’s persecution comes after a decade of smearing and intentionally-prolonged preliminary investigations in Sweden, for which charges have never been raised. Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) requests have since revealed the extent of pressure put on Swedish authorities by the UK Crown Prosecution Service, to keep these preliminary investigations artificially open for many years to ensure Mr Assange remained isolated in the Ecuadorean embassy in London. FoIA requests have also revealed the intentional destruction of evidentiary trails by the CPS.

Prominent UK politicians have engaged in negotiations with the Ecuadorean government to extract Mr Assange from asylum, and have even claimed credit for Mr Assange being deprived of his Ecuadorean citizenship without due process. Since Mr Assange was dragged out of asylum, he has been imprisoned by the UK authorities in the maximum-security Belmarsh prison, in harsh conditions and until recently in isolation, on the flimsy grounds of a purported bail violation arising from seeking asylum. An extradition request has also since been filed with the UK by the United States authorities, and Mr Assange faces charges including under the Espionage Act, and so he continues to be jailed pending extradition to face a potential jail term of 175 years and a trial without First Amendment protections. The Swedish investigations meanwhile have been closed without a charge being raised after a decade of “investigation”.

Serious and multiple conflicts of interest have also come to light in respect of the senior British judge who was involved with Mr Assange’s previous case and to date, there is no record of investigations into these conflicts of interest.

Civil society groups have spoken out against the persecution of Mr Assange by the U.K. authorities. Over 100 international doctors have also publicly condemned Mr Assange’s mistreatment. Women Against Rape (UK), which has supported women fighting for justice for over 40 years say: “We are alarmed at the unusual zeal with which Julian Assange has been pursued. Do the victims of murder, rape and torture by US-UK occupiers in Iraq and Afghanistan not count? How can we find out about state crimes if journalists like Assange and whistle-blowers like Chelsea Manning are silenced?”.

The case holds particularly worrying omens for the profession of investigative journalism. National Union of Journalists (NUJ) executive member Tim Dawson who spoke at a recent public meeting in London on 4 Feb said: “The legal devices being deployed to try and take Julian Assange to the US are unprecedented and terrifying for anyone whose journalism touches on state security, defence or espionage. If Assange is sent from here to start a prison sentence that could be as long as 175 years, then no journalist is safe.”

View Jurists’ letter

Jurists letter to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson

Rt. Hon. Boris Johnson MP
10, Downing Street
City of Westminster
London, SW1A 2AA

                                                                                                                                         22 February 2020

Dear Mr Johnson,

As international jurists, with an acute awareness of the responsibilities that our profession demands of us, we call on the British authorities to refuse the request for the extradition of Mr. Julian Assange to the United States.  We also call for his immediate release.

The treatment of Mr. Assange, the circumstances surrounding his continued detention in Belmarsh maximum security prison, and the circumstances surrounding British attempts to comply with the US request for his extradition, highlight:

  1. the involvement of the United Kingdom in long-term, severe, psychological ill-treatment of Mr. Assange (ECHR Article 3)
  2. the disregard shown by the British authorities towards their duties and responsibilities under international law
  3. the disregard by the British authorities of British law, including Mr. Assange’s right to a fair trial (ECHR Article 6), for protection of his private life (ECHR Article 8) and his right to freedom of speech (ECHR Article 10)
  4. the sweeping, extraordinary, extra-territorial claims now being made by the United States, who are seeking to prosecute in the US and under US laws, non-US citizens for conduct outside the United States (including in jurisdictions such as the United Kingdom where that conduct is lawful).
  1. UK involvement in the psychological torture and mistreatment of Mr. Assange (infringement of ECHR Article 3):

International human rights experts ,  healthcare professionals and the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Prof. Nils Melzer,  have all found that Mr. Assange has been subjected to arbitrary confinement, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment amounting to torture. They note that the torture poses grave risks of significant physical, psychological, neuropsychological harm, withlife-changing and potentially fatal consequences for Mr. Assange. Prof. Melzer has found the British state responsible for Mr. Assange’s torture “through perpetration, or through attempt, complicity or other forms of participation”. This involvement of the British authorities in the psychological torture and mistreatment of Mr. Assange violates his rights under ECHR Article 3 and takes various forms:

a. Interference in the Swedish investigations, and inordinate protraction of Mr. Assange’s detention:

Mr. Assange originally sought asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy – as was his right – because he was concerned that if extradited to Sweden where he was being investigated in relation to (now-abandoned) sexual assault allegations, he might be subjected to onward rendition from Sweden to the United States (or another state with a US interrogation facility / black site), for which there were precedents. Whilst physically present in the embassy, Mr. Assange offered to make himself available for interview by the Swedish authorities, whether in person or by video link, so as to facilitate the investigation of the sexual assault allegations.  Mr. Assange also offered to go to Sweden, subject to an assurance from the Swedish authorities that he would not be rendered to the United States.

Information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveals that the Swedish authorities may have been minded to accept Mr. Assange’s offers of interviews in the embassy or by video link.  However, they were dissuaded from doing so by the British authorities. The Crown Prosecution Service repeatedly urged Swedish authorities not to interview Mr. Assange in the United Kingdom and suggested they insist instead on his extradition to Sweden. This compelled Mr. Assange to remain in the embassy for many years, despite the injury this was known to be causing to his health. Even the Stockholm Chief District Prosecutor has described the Swedish extradition effort, now known to have been urged on the Swedish authorities by the United Kingdom’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), as: “… unreasonable and unprofessional, as well as unfair and disproportionate.”

Requests under the Freedom of Information Act show that the CPS specifically and repeatedly urged the Swedish authorities to keep their investigation of Mr. Assange ongoing. In such missives, the CPS made extraordinary comments such as, “….do not think this case is being treated as just another extradition” and “Don’t you dare get cold feet!!!”, discouraging the Swedish authorities from concluding their investigations.
Mr. Assange was therefore unduly confined to the Ecuadorean embassy, on the urging of the UK authorities, when in fact, there were no charges to answer in Sweden. The United Kingdom therefore shares responsibility for the severe injury to health that Mr. Assange suffered as a consequence of this protracted and unnecessary stay at the embassy, and the consequent damage which the British authorities, in part caused, through their arbitrary, disproportionate and illegal treatment of Mr. Assange.

b. Denial of Medical Treatment whilst in the embassy:

Mr. Assange had to endure debilitating and painful medical conditions in the embassy. These conditions included an excruciating tooth abscess and a serious injury to his shoulder, both of which remained untreated for several years.
Mr. Assange was denied permission by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to leave the Embassy to receive hospital treatment. This was despite a request from the Ecuadorean embassy to the British government for such access to be provided on medical grounds.

c. Conditions of Mr. Assange’s detention since his forced removal from the embassy and subsequent denial of proper medical treatment
Disregarding the well-established principle of ‘proportionality’, Mr. Assange, an award-winning journalist with complex healthcare needs (some of which are the result of the mistreatment he endured whilst forced to remain in the embassy), was given a custodial sentence of 50 weeks in the maximum-security Belmarsh prison for the offence of skipping police bail. This sentence was not only harsh and disproportionate; in the circumstances, given Ecuador’s granting of asylum and the findings of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (see above), it was vindictive.

The conditions in which Mr. Assange continues to be detained whilst on remand also appear harsh, disproportionate and vindictive. Mr. Assange poses no threat to the public.  Given the significant breakdown in his health he is not a flight risk. Yet the court, even before his lawyers had initiated any application for bail in the extradition proceedings, said that he would be remanded in custody because of his behaviour “in these proceedings”. Yet, at the time there had been no proceedings in the extradition case. He has been kept in custody in a maximum-security prison which the UN special rapporteur referred to, as “oppressive conditions of isolation involving at least 22 hours per day in a single occupancy cell… [He] is not allowed to socialize with other inmates and, when circulating in the prison, corridors are cleared and all other inmates locked in their cells. Contrary to assurances …..by the prison administration….., and contrary to the general population of the prison, Mr. Assange reportedly still is not allowed to work or to go to the gym, where he could socialize with other inmates.”
Visitors to Mr. Assange have reported that he was wearing prison uniform despite only being a remand prisoner, that he is denied civilian clothes, and that his access to his prescription glasses was “inexplicably delayed” for months, after they were sent to him at Belmarsh . Coming after 9 years of arbitrary and illegal detention in the embassy, the harsh and disproportionate conditions in which Mr. Assange is being held have unsurprisingly caused further grave injury to his health. An international group of doctors has expressed serious concern for his present and future safety and wellbeing. They too have called for him to urgently receive appropriate treatment there. British authorities bear responsibility for the ongoing situation.

2.Disregard for international law and infringement of Mr. Assange’s rights as a refugee:

Sweden, the United Kingdom and Ecuador are parties to the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, which places on States an obligation to respect non-refoulement with no reservations. Not only have Mr. Assange’s rights as a refugee been ignored, U.K. authorities have helped undermine Mr.  Assange’s rights as an Ecuadorean citizen to protections under Ecuadorean law such as a protection against extradition. In addition, the U.K. authorities have not paid due regard to the clear findings of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on the arbitrary detention of Mr. Assange. Importantly, the U.K. authorities have repeatedly ignored their duty to investigate the serious concerns raised by the UN Special Rapporteur Prof Nils Melzer in relation to the prohibition against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

3. Disregard for Mr. Assange’s right to a fair trial (ECHR Article 6), and for protection of his private life (ECHR Article 8)

a. Mr. Assange has suffered sustained infringement of his private life, whilst the conduct of the legal proceedings which have been brought against him, has been riddled with procedural irregularities that call into question the possibility of a fair trial.a.Intrusive Surveillance: It is now known that Mr. Assange and his visitors, including his lawyers, were put under extraordinary levels of covert surveillance within the Ecuadorean embassy at the behest of the US. Evidence has now emerged to prove that this surveillance breached not just the diplomatic sovereignty of the Ecuadorean embassy, but also Mr. Assange’s human rights in respect of privacy, and attorney-client privilege. It also intensified his torture. Prof. Melzer notes, “relentless surveillance for 24 hours a day is often used deliberately in psychological torture in order to drive victims into paranoia, except that the victim’s perception actually corresponds to reality”.

b. Destruction of Evidence: When the actions of the British and Swedish authorities came to be scrutinised via Freedom of Information Act requests and through other channels, it emerged that evidentiary trails – including communications with the US Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) – have been destroyed by Swedish and British prosecutors, with no plausible explanation provided.

c. Political interference: Senior UK governmental ministers have boasted about using their diplomatic skills and clout to broker a deal with Ecuador’s new government to rescind Mr. Assange’s asylum so that he could be taken into custody.

d. Inability to Prepare Defence: Mr. Assange has been subjected to material and repeated disruptions both with respect to his access to the documents he needs in order to prepare his case and with respect to the facilities he needs in order to consult with his lawyers so that he can prepare his defence.

e. Concerns about impartiality: Officials responsible for key decisions about various aspects of Mr. Assange’s case have made inappropriate comments about him, suggesting high levels of prejudice and bias.  For example, Mr. Assange has been called a ‘narcissist’ by a judge during a court hearing. There are also concerns that the senior judge who dealt with his previous case appears to have had serious, multiple conflicts of interest.  All this has led to doubts about whether an attempt to deny Mr Assange a fair investigation of his case may be underway.

f. Failure to respond to UN and other experts: UN officials have stated publicly that Mr. Assange has been detained illegally and arbitrarily and has been tortured. The British authorities have an obligation to engage with and to investigate these criticisms.Insteadtheir responses to UN officials have been belated, improper and inadequate.  Moreover, those responsible for these inadequate replies are those – in the British government and the criminal justice system – who are specifically responsible for ensuring that justice is served.

4. US extra-territorial overreach and the dangers to Mr. Assange from extradition to the United States

The extradition request made by the US authorities in itself gives rise to serious concerns.  Mr. Assange is an Australian citizen and a journalist based in the United Kingdom.  There is no suggestion that he has ever broken any British law whilst undertaking his work as a journalist in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Assange, however, faces an extradition request from the United States in which the US authorities claim that he has committed offences including under the US Espionage Act, which applies exclusively to the jurisdiction of the United States.  The charges the US authorities are seeking to bring against Mr. Assange are seen by many journalists around the world as an open assault against investigative journalism as it is practiced. These demands by the US authorities for the extradition to the United States of an Australian journalist based in the United Kingdom must inevitably give rise to serious concerns about the extraordinary extra-territorial demands which the US authorities are now making. The consequences if such demands are accepted by the UK to facilitate the extradition of a multi award-winning journalist and publisher are a matter of great concern.

There must also be serious concerns, whether in the context of such demands, Mr. Assange has any realistic prospect of a fair trial if he is extradited to the United States.  This is especially concerning given the disproportionate, cruel and inhuman punishment with which Mr. Assange is being threatened if he is convicted in the United States. His alleged accomplice and whistleblower Chelsea Manning, after already serving a lengthy prison term in often inhumane conditions, is now being held in indefinite detention in order to coerce her into giving evidence against Mr. Assange. Mr. Assangefaces a possible prison sentence of 175 years. Extraditing Mr. Assange to the United States would in such circumstances not only be inhumane and wrong; it would set a disastrous precedent, legitimising the US authorities’ practice of extra-territorial overreach, whilst infringing Mr. Assange’s human rights in the most fundamental way, putting his very life at risk. It would also set the scene for a trial whose eventual outcome might set extraordinarily dangerous precedents which could endanger the entire practice of journalism.

Conclusion

Under the rule of law, a State is required to afford all defendants their human rights and to honour international law whether “deriving from treaty or from international custom and practice”.

Such considerations are not intended to be optional or dependent on the nature of the crime.  Nor are they justified by the nature of the circumstances; nor are they implemented at the discretion of the judge or the State.

As Lord Bingham eloquently reminds jurists in his eponymous 2006 lecture on the subject, the constitutional principle of the ‘Rule of Law’ is statutory and paramount.

Yet time and time again in Mr. Assange’s case, we have seen the law ignored, manipulated  or summarily rejected.

We call on the British legal community to reclaim professional standards, to condemn the torture of Mr. Assange and to engage in urgent actions to secure his immediate and safe release.

Signed by:

Alberto Alemanno, Professeur de Droit, HEC et NYU, France
Ahmed Aydeed, Director of Public Law, Duncan Lewis Solicitors, UK
Greg Barns, Barrister & former National President of the Australian Lawyers Alliance, Australia
Professor Eirik Bjorge, University of Bristol Law School, UK
Heidi Boghosian, Esq., Executive Director, A.J. Muste Institute, Inc., USA
William Bourdon, Avocat au Barreau de Paris, France
Vincent Brengarth, Avocat au Barreau de Paris, France
Nick Brown, Barrister, Doughty Street Chambers, UK
Julian Burnside AO, QC, Australia
Heather Ellis Cucolo, Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Law, New York Law School, USA
Marie-Anne Cohendet, Professeure de Droit Public, L’Ecole de Droit de la Sorbonne, France
Marjorie Cohn, Professor Emerita, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, USA
Fabiano Cangelosi, Barrister, Tasmanian President of the Australian Lawyers Alliance, Australia
Olga Margrét Cilia, Lawyer and Deputy MP, The Pirate Party of Iceland 
Dominique Custos, Professeure Droits Fondamentaux, l’Université de Caen, France
Marie-Joëlle Fichrot-Redor, Prof. honoraire, Droits Fondamentaux, Université de Caen, France
Géraldine Giraudeau, Agrégée des facultés de droit, Professeure de droit public à l’UPVD, France
Ms. Elísabet Guðbjörnsdóttir, Attorney at Law at Consilia ehf., Iceland
Marit Halvorsen, Professor of Jurisprudence, University of Oslo, Norway
Dr Thomas Harrè, Barrister, New Zealand
Leonard Hartnett, Barrister, Gorman Chambers, Australia
Charles Hector Fernandez, Advocate and Solicitor, Messrs Charles Hector, Malaysia 
Fredrik Heffermehl, Lawyer and author (Nobel Peace Prize Watch, IALANA), Norway
Arlette Heymann-Doat, Prof. émérite de Droit Public, Spécialiste des libertés fondamentales, France
Nancy Hollander, Lawyer, USA
Toufique Hossain, Director of Public Law, Duncan Lewis Solicitors, UK
Colin Hutchinson, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers, UK
Eva Joly, Lawyer, Paris Bar & former judge, Paris Court, France
Ögmundur Jónasson, Former Minister of Justice, Iceland
Mamadou Konate, Avocat au Barreau de Bamako et Paris, Ancien Garde des Sceaux, France
James Lafferty, Executive Director Emeritus, National Lawyers Guild, Los Angeles, USA
David Lewis, Professor of Employment Law, Middlesex University, UK
Lisa Longstaff, Women Against Rape, UK
Nina Lopez, Legal Action for Women, UK
Carl J Mayer, Esq., Lawyer and consumer advocate, Mayer Law Group Llc, USA
Thomas Perroud, Professeur de Droit Public, Université Panthéon-Assas, France
Diane Roman, Professeure à l’école de Droit de la Sorbonne, Université de Paris 1, Spécialiste de libertés fondamentales, France
Catherine Teitgen-Colly, Professeure émérite de l’Université de Paris 1, Droit public, Panthéon-Sorbonne, France
Philippe Texier, Magistrat, Ancien Conseiller à la Cour de Cassation, France
Robert Tibbo, Barrister, Eastern Chambers, Hong Kong
Craig Tuck, Human rights Lawyer, Director of LawAid International, New Zealand 
Michael Tuck, Barrister, New Zealand
Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Esq., Human rights Lawyer; President of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, USA
Richard J. Whitney, Attorney, USA

cc:

Jeremy Corbyn, MP
Priti Patel, MP
Dianne Abbott, MP
Suella Braverman, MP
Shami Chakrabarti
Robert Buckland QC, MP
Richard Burgon, MP