2017 Campaign Update: End Immigration Detention, Decriminalise Sex Work

13 May 2017

Deputy leader Amelia Womack: "The detention of asylum seekers in centres such as Yarl's Wood is inhumane, costly and totally unnecessary"

Amelia speaking during launch

The Green Party launched its manifesto for gender equality outside Yarl's Wood detention centre in Bedfordshire. The 2017 manifesto's three key policies all relate to providing safety for all, regardless of gender.

The party is calling for an end to immigration detention, leading to the closing of Yarl's Wood where the majority of female asylum seekers are held while their claims are being processed. In the short term, the Green Party are calling for the release of women who have experienced sexual violence so that their claim can be processed in the community, and would ban male staff from coming into contact with female detainees, who currently supervise detainees while showering, dressing and using the toilet. Hundreds of complaints about sexual abuse and mistreatment have been raised by Yarl's Wood detainees over the last decade.

The Greens are also promising to provide safety for sex workers through decriminalisation of both the sale and purchase of sex. This comes after UN and Amnesty International recommendations over the last year, showing that making sex work illegal only reduces safety.

Joanna from SWARM and Amelia Womack Deputy Leader

Amelia with Joanna from SWARM protesting against the deportation of sex workers

The Green Party has also pledged to reverse the cuts to health care that that have disproportionately affected women and other marginalised groups

The manifesto went on to announce measures to improve mental health services, close the gender pay gap and support unpaid carers, those who are disabled and older women, and policies to increase gender parity in government.

Amelia Womack, Green Party deputy leader, said:

"Detaining asylum seekers is inhumane, costly and totally unnecessary. Women who are coming to the UK seeking refuge are being detained in appalling conditions in centres like Yarl's Wood, often for years with no end to their incarceration in sight. We can be so much better than this, a confident and caring country that welcomes people in need instead of closing our borders, building walls and locking up vulnerable people who need help. The bold policies we're announcing today show that the Green Party is committed to standing up for everyone, and we are not afraid to speak out about issues other parties would rather shy away from. From asylum seekers to sex workers, as well as all of us who use the NHS, these policies set us on the path to building a tolerant, inclusive society."

Our latest campaign news

On International Women's Day 2018

1. Close Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre As women continue their hunger strike, Deputy Leader Amelia Womack was at the Home Office with protesters in solidarity.

2. Allow MPs to job-share Former Women’s Equality Spokesperson Sarah Cope and GPW Secretary Clare Lorraine Phipps were on Radio 4’s Westminster Hour talking about the campaign to increase diversity in our Parliament by allowing MPs to job-share.
Clare and Sarah at the BBC

3.Make misogyny a thing of the past Green Party Women are asking anyone who has worked in the third sector (now or in the past) to consider completing the Charityworks 'Sexism In The Third Sector' Survey on sexism and harassment. The research will help them understand the strengths and weaknesses of the sector, while ensuring it is open and safe for all people. Hear Green Party Women Membership Secretary RoseMary Warrington with others at the Home Office hand in of our petition to Make Misogyny a hate crime below.

4. Safeguarding reproductive rights Green Party Women are an official supporter of BPAS' 'Back Off' campaign. If you have been affected, in any way, by anti-abortion activity outside a clinic and would like to contribute to a survey of experiences you can do so here

5.Celebrating 100 years since the UK’s first women voted While Caroline Lucas MP popped into a very special broom cupboard, Amelia and Co-Leader Jonathan Bartley MP, as well as Molly Scott Cato MEP and former Leader Natalie Bennett went #HungryforDemocracy. We also remembered those women who didn’t gain equal voting rights until a decade later, as well as the women of colour, disabled and queer women whose achievements in gaining women’s suffrage have been underappreciated.

Caroline in Emily Wilding Davison Broom Cupboard