Hearing Begins on Afghans' Appeal of Asylum Denial
Thirty-eight Afghan passengers from a jet hijacked in February who were denied asylum in Britain by Home Secretary Jack Straw began their appeal yesterday. The hearings involved 32 Afghan men and women and six children.
Shaw refused asylum to the passengers on the grounds that they faced no danger of persecution in their home country. Straw has previously denied any attempt to prejudice the 69 asylum applications received by Parliament.
Barry Stoyle, director of the Refugee Legal Center, which is providing attorney's for many of the refugees, said that Straw's decision would force the asylum-seekers to return "to a country with no constitution, rule of law or independent judiciary and which commits human rights abuses on a massive scale."
To say that Afghans face no persecution in Afghanistan is to ignore the fact that the Taliban militia, which controls 90 percent of Afghanistan, has imposed a strict system of gender apartheid against all women living in areas controlled by the Taliban. The Taliban's edicts, which have been brutally enforced, banish most women from the work force, closed schools to girls and expelled women from universities, and prohibited women from leaving their homes unless accompanied by a close male relative.
Media Resources: The Associated Press - 8 May 2000, and Feminist Majority Foundation