IKWRO calls for Amina al-Jeffery to be returned to the UK
Leading women’s rights charity calls on British government to repatriate 21-year-old Welsh “honour” based violence victim imprisoned in Saudi Arabia and to extradite her father to the UK to face justice
Diana Nammi, Executive Director of the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation is available for interview.
On Wednesday 3rd August 2016, in London, Mr Justice Holman, Judge at the Family Division of the High Court, will rule on the case of British national Amina Al-Jeffery, who grew up in Swansea and was taken to Saudi Arabia when she was 16 years old by her father who claimed that she was becoming too Westernised.
Amina, who also holds Saudi Arabian citizenship, has described being imprisoned by her father in horrific conditions, at one stage with metal bars on the door. She says her father has beaten her, banned her from using the internet and telephone, denied her food and prevented her access to the bathroom, forcing her to urinate in a cup.
The Saudi authorities arrested Amina for kissing an American near a university, who has since been deported. They are supporting Amina’s father Mr Al-Jeffery in the UK court case and paying his legal bills via the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Forced Marriage Unit has spoken in support of Amina stating; “steps need to be taken to ensure Ms Jeffery is returned to the UK where her safety can be guaranteed”.
Now we will hear whether the British Courts will take action and in coming days or weeks we will learn how robustly the British government will act.
Diana Nammi, Founder and Executive Director of the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (IKWRO) a British charity representing Middle Eastern and North African women and girls at risk of “honour” based violence says:
The first, immediate, priority of the British government, Amina’s government, must be to protect her. Amina is at extremely high-risk, suffering great harm and having her fundamental women’s rights and human rights abused. The British government must pull out all the stops and act swiftly to bring Amina back home to Britain, where she grew up and is a citizen. She must not be left in the hands of her father, her perpetrator. I am extremely concerned that if she is not safeguarded and returned straight away, she will suffer further “honour” based violence, could be forced into a marriage, or even murdered in a so-called “honour’’ killing.
The next priority for the British government in this case, must be to extradite Mr Al-Jeffery, the perpetrator of grave “honour” crimes. IKWRO set the precedent for this action when our successful ‘Justice for Banaz’ campaign resulted in the first extradition from Kurdistan-Iraq of two of the “honour” killers of Banaz Mahmod.
Now we need to see justice for Amina. The British government must send a clear message to all perpetrators of “honour” based violence, wherever they are in the world, that they have no safe haven.
I’d like to use this opportunity to raise two of the major opportunities that the British government has to demonstrate its commitment to preventing further “honour”-based violence, stopping more cases of exported “honour” crime and protecting women and girls like Amina and Samia Shahid from Bradford, who is suspected to have been murdered in an “honour” killing in Pakistan in recent weeks.
First, Justine Greening, the new Education Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, must ensure that every school is ready to spot the signs and protect students at risk and all young people must be equipped with knowledge of their rights and where to access help.
Secondly, the new Home Secretary, Anne Rudd, must see through the recommendations of HMIC’s “honour” based violence investigation, described by HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary Sir Thomas Winsor as one of the most important ever produced by HMIC, which found that 40 of the 43 police forced in England and Wales are not currently fully prepared to protect those at risk from “honour” based violence. Although the report was published in December 2015, not even the first recommendation, for the Home Office to establish a national committee to oversee the implementation of the investigation, has yet been achieved.
IKWRO welcome all opportunities to work with the authorities to share our expertise and help ensure all at risk are protected and that justice is secured.
For more information or to arrange an interview with Diana Nammi contact
Sara Browne, Campaign Officer
Mon to Fri 9.30-5.30: 0207 920 6460
Out of hours: 07739308398
The Iranian & Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (IKWRO) is a registered charity (1104550) founded in 2002 representing women and girls from Middle Eastern, North African and Afghan communities at risk of “honour” based violence, forced marriage, child marriage, female genital mutilation (FGM), spouse abandonment and domestic violence. Last year, IKWRO provided telephone advice to 2500 women, girls and front-line professionals and gave intensive support in 800 cases. IKWRO provides advice and advocacy in 7 community languages plus English and professional counseling in Arabic, Farsi, Kurdish and English.
IKWRO opened the first specialist refuge in May 2015. IKWRO campaigns to positively change community mindsets and improve law and policy. Donations are gratefully received at https://localgiving.org/charity/IKWRO/