SOUTHALL BLACK SISTERS

TIMELINE

1979

Founding of Southall Black Sisters.

Hundreds arrested and injured in a police operation to stop a mass protest against NF presence in Southall. Blair Peach killed by Special Patrol Group Officers. Defence campaign followed.

1980

Chix strike, Slough. Many Southall women on mass picket.

Campaign against virginity testing of Asian immigrant women.

Mrs Dhillon and her children set on fire by her husband. SBS protests.

1983

SBS-Timeline-1983

GLC (Greater London Council) funding received. Southall Black Women’s Centre established.

1984

Krishna Sharma found hanged at home. Demonstration outside the house. Slogan “They say it’s suicide, we say it’s murder” “Black Women’s tradition/Struggle not submission” Links set up with other campaigns on domestic violence.

Dispute in Brent refuge starts. Management locked out. Demand to run projects separately.

Miners’ strike support activity.

1985

SBS-Timeline-1985

Balwant Kaur murdered by her husband in Brent Asian Women’s Refuge. Campaign to ensure her husband’s conviction.

Refuge demands conceded.

1986

The Gurdip Kaur campaign initiated in Reading following the murder of an Asian woman. Pickets and demos. Husband and brother-in-law conspired to murder. Brother-in-law charged with murder, got off with manslaughter. Charges against husband dropped.

National demonstration of women against violence against women organised by Network of Women.

Helped to produce film, “A Fearful Silence”, on domestic violence in Asian communities with Azad Productions.

Split in Southall Black Women’s Centre.

1987

New centre established in the name of Southall Black Sisters.

Anti-deportation campaign “Josephine & Peter must stay”.

Dominion Centre campaign on safety of women workers.

1988

Save SBS campaign. Funding threatened. Council lobbied. Slogan “Where will women go?”

Ealing FAB (Fight the Alton Bill which was an attempt to restrict women’s access to abortion) Campaign.

Launch of single homelessness campaign.

1989

International Women’s Day meeting called “The resurgence of Religion? What price do women pay?’ SBS & Labour Party, Southall Women’s Section issue statement in support of Salman Rushdie.

March and rally on the tenth anniversary of Blair Peach’s murder by police.

First meeting of Women Against Fundamentalism.

Women Against Fundamentalism picket religious Muslim demonstration demanding an extension of blasphemy laws. Demands include a secularization of British state, no state funding of religious education and abolition of the blasphemy law. Slogans “Our Tradition: struggle not submission”, “Religious leaders don’t speak for us”, “Blasphemy laws police dissent”, “Fear is your weapon/Courage is ours”.

1990

Publication of Against the Grain: A celebration of survival and struggle.

1991

Set up the Save Our Schools Campaign with local groups, teachers and parents in Southall to prevent two schools opting out and becoming Sikh only schools.

Helped to launch “Remember Vandana Patel Campaign” with local Asian women’s groups.

Launch of the Free Kiranjit Ahluwalia campaign, a woman who is given a life sentence for murder for setting her violent husband on fire in a final act of survival.

1992

Kiranjit is released and her original conviction is quashed and reduced to manslaughter.

SBS gives evidence on how the one-year rule in immigration traps newly married women in violent situations to the Home Affairs Select Committee’s inquiry into domestic violence.

SBS is awarded the Martin Ennals Civil Liberties Award by Liberty.

Memorial held for Abnash Bisla, killed by her husband. SBS also demonstrated outside the husband’s house with a number of other Asian women’s groups.

1993

Pragna Patel, a member of the Management Committee, wins two Cosmopolitan Achievement Awards: in the Public Service category and is also the overall winner for the year.

Formed Alliance Against Communalism and for Democracy in South Asia with a number of local groups in Southall and Brent in the wake of the destruction of Babri Masjid in India by Hindu fundamentalist and Hindu and Muslim riots. Aimed to fight communal forces in South Asia and the UK.

1995

SBS starts a campaign against the one-year immigration rule and wins Advice 2000′s ‘Challenge Award’ in ‘recognition of our efforts to gain justice’.

SBS sends a delegation of women to attend World Conference on Women in Beijing, China.

Successfully appealed in the case of an Asian woman with mental health problems who killed her child and had her conviction for murder reduced to manslaughter.

1996

SBS makes a submission on immigration, asylum and domestic violence to the UN hearings on the International Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Memorial for Imtiaz Begum and her four children killed by her husband/their father in Birmingham and Bristol. Worked with local Asian women’s groups.

SBS starts campaign to free Zoora Shah, a woman serving life for the murder of her abuser, Mohammad Azam in Bradford in 1992.

1997

Secured a first-ever conviction of a husband in a marital rape in the Asian community. Members of his family were also sentenced for abusing his wife.

Publication of Circle of Light, the story of Kiranjit Ahluwalia’s life, co-written with Rahila Gupta, a member of the MC.

1998

Zoora Shah loses her appeal against her conviction for the murder of Mohammed Azam. SBS continues to explore other legal avenues including representations to the Home Secretary to reduce her 20-year tariff.

The conclusion of an internal review of SBS management and administrative structures resulted in SBS moving from a collective structure to a hierarchy.

SBS is nominated for the Ethnic Minority Charity for the Year by the Ethnic Minority Media Awards sponsored by Nat West Bank.

1999

The House of Lords delivers a historic judgement in the Shah and Islam case: women who fear gender persecution should be recognized as refugees. We had advised one of the women and her legal team.

The Home Office announces concessions on the one-year rule for abused spouse/ partners subject to a probationary period following discussions with SBS.

SBS is invited to join The Home Office Working Group to inquire into the issue of forced marriage.

SBS, along with five other women’s organizations, are the beneficiaries of money raised by a ‘V-Day’ charity event – the first celebrity readings of Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues in the UK.

Hannana Siddiqui, Joint Co-ordinator, is nominated for the Emma Humphries Memorial Prize.

SBS supports the Lufthansa Skychef workers, most of whom were Asian women, sacked for going on a lawful one-day strike in protest against new working practices.

2009

Southall Black Sisters set up the ‘last resort fund’ (‘SBS No Recourse Fund’) supported by London Councils and Oxfam. The fund is used to provide subsistence costs for women subjected to domestic violence and with insecure immigration status and no recourse to public funds.

2010

Southall Black Sisters supports Gita Saghal in her stand against Amnesty International for promoting Moazzam Begg as a human rights defender.

SBS at South Bank as part of the ‘Southall Story’ – a journey through key landmarks and events in the history of migration in Southall.

Pragna Patel accepts the National Secular Society’s Irwin Prize for Secularist of the Year. She remarks that “If you had asked me 20 years ago what one of the biggest struggles would be in 2010, I would not have said the struggle for a secular society.”

The Home Secretary Teresa May announces that funding will be extended via the Sojourner Project, which gives women with immigration and no recourse to public funds (NRPF) problems access to housing and subsistence costs.

SBS launches a new, dedicated helpline, open Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm.

2011

SBS launches its publication, ‘Safe and Sane’, a report on models of intervention on domestic violence and mental health, suicide and self-harm amongst black and minority ethnic women. This action- research is based on the work of SBS examining the connection between domestic violence (including harmful traditional practices such as forced marriage and ‘honour’ based violence) and mental health, suicide and self-harm problems.

SBS launches its publication ‘Cohesion, Faith and Gender’. Lord Bhikhu Parekh and Lord Herman Ouseley facilitate the discussion on the report based on a pilot study conducted by SBS with support from Oxfam (GB) examining the impact of the government’s ‘cohesion’ and ‘faith-based’ approach on vulnerable black and minority women in Ealing.

Pragna Patel listed in The Guardian’s Top 100 Inspiring Women.

The government reverses its decision to deny access to legal aid to abused migrant women following a legal challenge by SBS.

Petra Bauer produces a fly on the wall film on SBS called “SISTERS!”.

SBS is victorious in gaining a landmark Supreme Court Ruling that the government’s immigration policy on forced marriage is unlawful.

SBS’ Campaign to Abolish No Recourse to Public Funds welcomes the Government’s commitment to providing benefits and public housing for victims of domestic violence who are in the UK on spousal visas pending their application for settlement under the Domestic Violence Immigration Rule. The new policy to commence in April 2012.

2012

SBS launches a campaign to highlight the case of Nosheen Azam and demand an inquiry into the circumstances which caused her to suffer serious harm. SBS also calls for a new law on suicide driven by gender-based violence. Those who are responsible for driving someone to attempt or commit suicide must be held accountable by the State.

SBS joins thousands of demonstrators as part of the ‘Save Our Hospitals’ campaign’ protesting the closure of emergency services at Ealing hospital

SBS organises a protest outside the Indian High Commission following the rape Jyoti Singh in Delhi.

2013

SBS launches a pilot scheme working with other community and voluntary sector organisations in Ealing to deliver a series of drop-in sessions on domestic violence.

From Delhi to Southall: Freedom is Our Right! SBS organises protests against sexual violence in India after the death of Jyoti Singh Pandey, who was left with critical injuries after being gang-raped by a group of six men on a bus in Delhi. The protest aimed to shed light on the widespread prevalence of sexual violence in India and to make connections with struggles against rape and sexual violence in the UK.

SBS launches a London-wide outreach Housing Advice Surgery based at the centre for women and children victims of violence. The surgery is run by Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity.

SBS launches a London-wide outreach Immigration Outreach Service based at the centre for women and children victims of violence. The surgery is run by qualified Immigration solicitors from Hammersmith & Fulham Law Centre.

SBS joins Justice Alliance to mark 64 years of legal aid and to celebrate the legal aid system – a central pillar of the welfare state. The protest is against the government’s plans to dismantle legal aid and by doing so deny justice to the most vulnerable people in our society.

Users of SBS under the leadership of Meena Patel stage an impromptu protest against UKBA immigration raids and Go Home vans near SBS office. Enraged, SBS users abandon their weekly support group and follow the vehicles around Southall chanting “this is racist”. Many of the women have escaped domestic violence and feel trapped by their immigration status They felt empowered by the protest and encouraged other Southall residents and passers-by to join in. This protest ran the Go Home vans out of Southall prompting a national debate on the government’s hostile tactics.

SBS organises a public meeting on ‘Go Home Vans’ and other harsh immigration measures in conjunction with RAMFEL and Migrant Rights Network. The public meeting is called following outrage about the’ Go Home Vans’ and immigration raids and spot checks at transport hubs in Southall and around London.

SBS organises a protest outside Eaton House against racist immigration laws and tactics, highlighting the use of the UKBA ‘Go Home’ posters.

SBS gives public support and solidarity to Malala Yousafzai in her fight against religious oppression in Pakistan and across the globe.

Following government proposals to make further cuts to legal aid, SBS, as a member of the Justice Alliance joins protests alongside over 100 charities and organisations.

The Home Office introduces the Destitution Domestic Violence (DDV) Concession allowing victims of domestic violence on spousal visas with no recourse to public funds (NRPFs) to access benefits and public housing for 3 months while they apply for settlement under the ‘Domestic Violence Rule’. The SBS led Campaign to Abolish No Recourse to Public Funds, welcomes the DDVC. It represents a major victory for the Campaign, and for the rights of women at risk of gender-based violence and exploitation.

Southall Black Sisters joins ActionAid to mark the anniversary of the rape and murder of Jyoti Singh known as Nirbhaya “Fearless One” in solidarity with ActionAid India, SBS co-organises a rally on 16th December.

Pragna Patel addresses demonstrators outside the UUK offices about gender segregation in universities. Gender apartheid is the new battleground in the fight against religious fundamentalism Pragna warns that the assertion of religious power obliterates the very ideals of liberty and equality that so many have lived and died for.

2014

SBS and Eaves for Women launch a report on the DDV Concession. The report is based on research about the implementation of the DDVC. The results demonstrate that there is still a considerable implementation gap and that many women on non-spousal visas continue to be trapped in abusive relationships due to the no recourse to public funds rule.

SBS joins Justice Alliance on a national day of action called by barristers and solicitors against legal aid cuts.

SBS invites sexual survivor – Ruksana – who was detained at Yarlswood as a key speaker at its AGM. Ruksana talks about asylum seekers being sexually harassed by staff at Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre. Her solicitor, Harriet Wistrich also gives an account of the legal action taken against the UKBA.

Pragna Patel speaks at a parliamentary meeting held by Awaaz – Human Rights Defenders Network set up to oppose Hindutva. SBS are members of Awaaz. The meeting discusses the rise of Hindu fascism in India which has led to an increase in communal, religious based violence. Labour MPs John McDonald and Jeremy Corbyn attend to
condemn far-right Indian prime ministerial candidate Nerandra Modi for his role in promoting fascism and communal violence
.

SBS attends an Awaaz led public meeting at the House of Commons examining the rise of Hindu nationalism/fascism led by Narendra Modi, the prime ministerial candidate of the BJP in India. Speakers include Yusuf Dawood whose two brothers, were brutally killed during horrific communal violence against Muslims in Gujarat in 2002. Hosted by John McDonnell, MP and supported by Jeremy Corbyn, MP, the meeting focused on the role of Narendra Modi and his extremist brand of politics and attempt suppress freedom of speech’ in the country.

Southall Black Sisters welcomes visit to the UK by the UN Rapporteur on Violence against Women. SBS presents lengthy oral and written submissions based on the last 35 years.

The Daily Mirror reports on SBS clients on spousal visas facing violence, abuse and slavery. Hannana Siddiqui, along with Poonam Patti, tells about SBS’ hard fought 20-year campaign for more protection for migrant women culminating in the Destitution Domestic Violence¬Concession.

Southall Black Sisters supports Dr Richard Stone’s book ‘Hidden Stories of the Lawrence Inquiry’ launched at Ealing, Hammersmith & West London College.

SBS
protests against the gang-rape and lynching of two Dalit girls
aged 14 and 15 in Badaun, Uttar Pradesh, India. This is the latest in a long line of horrific murders and sexual assaults perpetrated on young Dalit women across India.

SBS supports the campaign to free Meriam Ibrahim. Meriam was sentenced to death when she was eight months pregnant, following a charge of apostasy and adultery in Sudan. Witnesses who went to support her in court were prevented from giving evidence.

Southall Black Sisters (SBS) and One Law for All welcomes the decision by the Solicitor’s Regulatory Authority (SRA), the regulatory body for solicitors in England and Wales, to remove the Law Society’s controversial practice note on drafting ‘Sharia compliant’ wills from its ethics guidance.

28 NGOs unite to call on peers to vote against the legal aid residence test. SBS supports this move on the basis that the residence test will have a devastating impact on vulnerable groups including abused BME.

Southall Black Sisters attends a protest against fascists mobilisations in Cricklewood organised by a broad coalition of community groups and trade unions . The fascists have Ulster Loyalist connections and are anti-Muslim and anti-Irish.

SBS steps up its campaign against the Law Society and its endorsement of Sharia ‘laws’. With others, sends an open to feminist and human rights lawyer, Asma Jahangir, who is making a presentation at the Law Society. She supports our struggle against religious fundamentalism and its promotion by British institutions.

Southall Black Sisters contributes to V&A’s ‘Disobedient Objects’ exhibition. Pragna Patel and Hannana Siddiqui contribute to the V&A’s by giving oral presentations on black feminism from the 1970’s onwards.

Publication of SBS’ ‘Whole Schools Project’. SBS runs a two-year project in 2 high schools in Southall, West London to raise awareness amongst young people and develop a ‘whole school’ approach to changing attitudes and behaviour on violence against BME women and girls.

SBS highlights forced marriage in the UK as an abuse of human rights and calls for an end to serious human rights violations affecting children and women’s rights. SBS invites the public to support 10 recommendations to the UK government towards eradicating forced marriage and honour based violence.

SBS joins launch of publication of ‘Stories of Dissent and Solidarity’ organised by Women Against Fundamentalism. The new publication marks 25 years of Women Against Fundamentalism. Speakers include Pragna Patel, Natalie Bennett, Nadje Al Ali and Georgie Wemyss.

SBS
nominated for Lloyds Bank Community Fund Award
.

SBS signs open letter to the Law Society on Sharia Wills stating that its ethics guidance on ‘Drafting and Preparation of Wills’ is a betrayal of the rights and freedom of minority women and a breach of the Equality Act 2010.

Pragna Patel takes part in historic international Conference on the Religious-Right, Secularism and Civil Rights. The conference comes at a critical point for BME women, minority communities and all free thinkers and threatens the forging of a secular and democratic world view for equality and civil rights.

SBS speaks at a historical conference on secularism and the religious right. SBS endorses a statement of support and solidarity for the Kurdish people fighting ISIS.

In collaboration with Giants Theatre Company, SBS stages a street theatre performance of “Unspoken” – a play about domestic violence. The performance engages the community and raises the issue of gender based violence and abuse.

Victory for SBS, One Law for All, Centre for Secular Space, Nari Diganta and the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation. We welcome the withdrawal of the Law Society’s Sharia Wills practice note.

2015

SBS stands in solidarity with Charlie Hebdo and all those around the world who struggle against religious fundamentalism and racism and for universal human rights.

Women’s rights groups, including Southall Black Sisters, One Law for All, Nari Diganta and the Iranian & Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (IKWRO), meet with Mark Stobbs, the Law Society’s Director of Legal Policy at the SBS office. SBS welcomes the Law Society’s decision to withdraw its guidance on ‘Sharia compliant’ wills. The group thanks the Law Society for making a public apology.

SBS is a signatory to a letter against censorship and “no platforming” which has been used as a tactic to silence dissent.

SBS, the Centre for Secular Space and others urge MPs to vote against Fiona Bruce’s amendment to the Serious Crime Bill on sex-selective abortion. This is a religious fundamentalist initiative that claims to protect women but is, in fact, a direct attack on abortion rights.

SBS joins #ICchange the national campaign urging the UK to ratify the Istanbul Convention (IC) on preventing and combating violence against women.

SBS and Southall Community Alliance hold a public meeting to discuss the impact of the ‘The Go Home Vans’ and other anti-immigrant measures that impact on minority communities.

SBS deplores George Galloway’s very personal and unnecessary attack on Naz Shah.
If parliamentary democracy is to be a living ideal, it needs to embrace voices and experiences borne out of survival in what is otherwise a largely white, elitist, boys’ own club. The qualities of courage and resilience that Naz brought to the ’Free Zoora Shah’ campaign are needed now more than ever to counter the cynicism that drives our political culture.

We applaud the initiative taken by Baroness Sayeeda Warsi and George Grant to keep political culture free of unnecessary personal smears and attacks.

SBS signs petition urging the new government to take concerted measures to stop the development of parallel legal systems and to facilitate full and proper access to justice for all citizens and one secular law for all.

Southall Black Sisters responds to UN Special Rapporteur on #VAWG report on the UK ‘Southall Black Sisters welcomes today’s UN report on the UK government’s response to violence against women. The report highlights the many serious failings of the UK government to adhere to international human rights, equality and non-discrimination principles by adopting an inconsistent and contradictory response to violence against women. SBS calls on the government to act on all the recommendations made in the report but as a matter of the utmost urgency, to examine the impact of the draconian cuts in legal aid and specialist services that adversely affect access to protection and justice for the most vulnerable. We also call on the government to immediately withdraw from its proposal to repeal the Human Rights Act, without which we cannot hope to build a society based on shared values of human decency and human rights.’

SBS urges all those who work on violence against women issues to respond to the call for evidence on the impact of the legal aid cuts on women’s access to justice. Access to justice is one of the most pressing issues facing front line services that work on gender-based violence issues.

SBS warns that it would be a grave mistake to gender neutralise data on domestic violence. A failure to name and call out male abuse of power in these crimes is what kept them invisible for so long.

Southall Black Sisters releases ‘My Second Name Is Dowry’. A powerful short film, created by users who make up the SBS Support Group, giving testimonies of how the harmful practice of dowry affects their lives.

“The Support Group is part of SBS’ holistic approach to working with abused women and children– it is a space that gives women the confidence, knowledge and self-esteem they need to talk about their experiences. It also enables them to build their self-worth, creating long-term friendships and helps them to learn how to negotiate life as confident and independent women” Meena Patel.

90 civil society organisations, university lecturers and lawyers criticise the immigration bill as a serious threat to liberty. SBS joins lawyers and civil society organisations in voicing opposition to the government’s Immigration Bill which will impact adversely on fundamental freedoms and civil liberties of all migrants.

SBS supports Afsana Lachaux, a British woman who faced abuse and the abduction of her son in Dubai. Her campaign #BringLouisHome is aimed at highlighting the appalling discriminatory Sharia laws of Dubai and the lack of an adequate British state response to women who have been subject to abuse abroad.

#ModiNotWelcome in London. As a member of the anti-Hindutva group AWAAZ, SBS participates in a Day of Protest and demonstrations on November 12 at 10 Downing Street during Modi’s visit to the UK.

SBS stands in solidarity with the people of France and all those around the world who are resisting religious fundamentalist violence.

The SBS Support Group made up of users, release ‘My Second Name Is Honour’, produced in conjunction with Bold Face productions. The hard-hitting piece focuses on the issue of honour based violence.

The SBS Support Group made up of users, release ‘My Second Name Is Honour’, produced in conjunction with Bold Face productions. The hard-hitting piece focuses on the issue of honour-based violence.

SBS raises concerns about the impact of the Immigration Bill and its punitive measures. The Bill will disproportionately impact on abused migrant women who are subject to immigration controls.

SBS, One Law for All, Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (IKWRO), Centre for Secular Space and British Muslims for Secular Democracy attend 10 Downing Street to hand deliver a letter signed by nearly 400 individuals and organisations urging David Cameron to hold an inquiry into the discriminatory nature of Sharia ‘courts’ and other religious arbitration forums.

SBS holds a public meeting at the House of Commons to raise awareness of the problem of transnational marriage abandonment, a new and emergent form of domestic violence that occurs in transnational spaces due to the overlapping processes of migration and marriage.

2016

SBS takes part in an important conference on Sharia Law, Legal Pluralism and Access to Justice.

Pragna Patel gives a TED X talk on access to justice threatened by cuts to legal aid and religious fundamentalism. She shines a light on how these processes affect the most vulnerable and disenfranchised people in society; and asks “when access to justice is threatened, who or what fills the gap?

SBS condemns the Indian government’s drift to authoritarianism as shown by its attempt to gag and close down civil society organisations and legal firms like the Lawyers Collective in India that take action to hold the government accountable.

SBS joins campaigners in protest against the government’s so-called independent inquiry into Sharia Councils and women’s human rights abuses. They question the make-up of the inquiry panel and its terms of reference.

SBS and others call for a boycott of the Sharia law inquiry due to a lack of response from the government since they published a letter imploring the Home Secretary to undertake an impartial human rights inquiry rather than a theological inquiry.

SBS organises meetings to examine and discuss the role of religious arbitration in a family matter and the range of injustices faced by women who engage with them against the background of religious fundamentalism.

Pragna Patel exposes the BBC Asian Network for not including feminist voices in the debates.

SBS intervenes in cases on legal aid and immigration controls to highlight social injustices and bring about positive developments for our users.

Phannatiq launches 3D printed necklace in support of the work of SBS.

SBS launches a major campaign on justice and state accountability based on the honour killing of Seeta Kaur. SBS strongly believe that the police failure to investigate Seeta’s death breaches the government’s commitment to tackling honour crimes as a ‘priority’ and its domestic and international human rights obligations.

Pragna Patel speaks at Safety4Sisters Migrant Women’s Rights to Safety Conference in Manchester discussing the barriers that migrant women subject to immigration control face in accessing safety and protection from gender-based violence.

BME women issue a powerful statement against parallel legal systems based on fundamentalist religious codes. Their voices have not been heard in a debate that has overwhelmingly focused on religious identity politics rather than women’s rights and access to justice.

2017

SBS opposes Nusrat Ghani MP’s Private Members Bill to ban the term ‘honour’ from official documents. The move whilst well intentioned is misguided.

Pragna Patel states report on Fundamentalism, Extremism and Cultural Rights by Karima Bennoune [United Nations Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights] is of huge importance to the work of SBS. It is invaluable to our work in challenging fundamentalist demands for gender segregation and parallel legal systems.

The UK Supreme Court begins hearing the ‘Worboys’ case, concerning two victims of a serial rapist who was seriously let down by a catastrophic litany of failures in the police’s investigation into their reports of rape. SBS intervenes with others and organises a demonstration outside the Supreme Court under the banner of ‘violence Against Women & Girls: No Justice Without Accountability.

SBS hold a vigil at New Scotland Yard marking the 3rd anniversary of Seeta Kaur’s death and the abject failure of the British authorities to support her family’s demand for justice.
Pragna Patel speaks at the ‘GO HOME?’ book launch in Manchester. This book explores the discriminatory impact of the UK governments illegal plans in 2013 to drive down immigration. The ‘Go Home’ vans campaign marked a low point in the government’s desire to demonstrate a tough and hostile stance on immigration controls.

Shakila Maan wins the Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize.

Following the announcement of a ‘snap’ general election SBS demands that the election must take account of equality, justice and rights for all women.

SBS intervenes in a landmark case on gender segregation and leads protests.

SBS supports a series of resolutions that came out of the International Conference on Freedom of Conscience and Expression organised by One law for Law and others

SBS welcomes the recognition given to the problem of transnational marriage abandonment in the family justice system. In partnership with the University of Lincoln and Dawson Cornwall Solicitors, SBS succeeded in persuading the President of the Family Division to include abandonment as a form of domestic abuse in the revised Practice Direction on child arrangements, domestic violence and harm.

In a landmark judgment, in which SBS intervened, the Court of Appeal found that ‘separate but equal’ treatment on the basis of gender at a Muslim co-ed school can amount to unlawful sex discrimination under the Equality Act 2010.

SBS signs open letter to the Charity Commission urging it to strip the Hindu fundamentalist National Council of Hindu Temples of its charitable status for inciting religious hatred.

Pragna Patel speaking in the Guardian about the Weinstein scandal on sexual harassment and abuse and whether this spells the end of patriarchy.

SBS and the End Violence Against Women Coalition publish a new report on the Human Rights Act as a vital tool in the struggle for women’s rights to live free from violence and abuse.

SBS joins forces with the British Institute of Human Rights to demand the protection of fundamental human rights in the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill.

SBS throws light on the workings of ‘Sharia’ Councils and the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal – they reveal serious failings that flout principles of the rule of law and undermine the rights of women in fundamental ways.

2018

SBS receives generous donations from local businesses to hold the annual Christmas Party for service users and their children.

SBS joins campaign to demand that the forthcoming Domestic Violence Bill prioritise safety, equality, dignity and liberty for migrant women.

SBS joins a local campaign to save Southall and Ealing Town Halls from being sold off to corporate body and to a fundamentalist Hindu Temple. The town halls are valuable and secular spaces for civic engagement.

Southall Black Sisters joins with One Law for All and coalition partners to express dismay and disappointment at the outcome of the Independent Sharia Review.

On 21 February, SBS, the End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW), NIA, Rape Crisis England & Wales welcomes the historic ruling in the ‘Worboys’ case. The Supreme Court which makes clear that the police must investigate rape properly to ensure that human rights are protected.

Pragna Patel speaks about the ‘Worboys’ case and says that women now have recourse to the law to hold the police to account.

Due to severe weather, SBS opens its doors to all homeless women in Southall and Ealing, providing hot food and shelter.

SBS call upon the women of Britain to join in the Women’s Initiative for Peace in Afrin launched at House of Commons. We demand an immediate end to the attacks on Afrin and for humanitarian support to be provided.

SBS gives a cautious welcome to the Government’s Consultation on a New Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill. It provides an opportunity for us to tell the government that we want a comprehensive law that works for all abused women irrespective of their background.

SBS organises a picket outside the Hyatt Place Hotel in Hayes where the Home Office – in partnership with the British High Commission in Delhi and an Indian NGO called the Development and Justice Initiative (DAJI) organised a meeting billed as an ’immigration seminar‘. The meeting is aimed at those who work with ‘migrant communities’ and involves the public helping the Home Office to gain access to vulnerable people identified as potentially ‘illegal’.

SBS stands in solidarity with the peaceful protesters at Stanstead Airport who took direct action to oppose harsh and punitive immigration practices. Protestors were not only being criminalised but astonishingly, tried under terrorism legislation.

Southall Black Sisters joins protests outside Downing Street against Narendra Modi, the Indian Prime Minister and his government’s complicity in the latest series of horrific rapes perpetrated against women and girls in India.

Pragna Patel discusses the government’s hostile and punitive immigration policies and how they have led the police and other agencies to prioritise the detention and arrest of migrant women over their right to safety when they report their experiences of gender-based violence and abuse.
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SBS shares its recommendations via social media in relation to, gender-based violence, migrant women and their right to access protection.

In the wakes of #MeToo, Pragna Patel calls for more philanthropic support to end violence against girls and women.

SBS and others write an open letter to the Ministry of Justice, calling for an urgent review into Sharia and civil marriage and divorce laws and to guarantee access to justice for all.

SBS supports the Victim’s Commissioner and the Mayor of London in ending the Hostile Environment for abused migrant women with insecure status.

SBS is a signatory to a letter upholding the right to freedom of expression in the face of racism, injustice and inequality. But also endorses the right to dissent. Both are necessary to defeat the forces of racism, authoritarianism and religious fundamentalism in all religions and communities.

The Giants Group of London supports SBS by organising a charity walk/run to raise funds for our work.

Pragna Patel signs a letter supporting the need for free and open debate on gender politics and women’s rights without violence, threats and discrimination.

SBS and others call on the government to ensure that the Domestic Violence Bill includes a comprehensive plan of action for migrant women based on protection and not immigration enforcement.

SBS refused permission to intervene on behalf Southall Black Sisters in the case of Lachaux v Independent News Print Limited. The questions raise crucial questions about media law and gender equality.

Pragna Patel contributes to Women’s Legal Landmarks – a book celebrating the history of women and law in the UK and Ireland.

SBS signs a manifesto at an International conference on Sharia, Segregation and Secularism. It lays down the key principles on which resistance to religious fundamentalism and struggle for secular democracy should be based.

SBS signs a resolution in support of Asia Bibi’s right to asylum and protection from fundamentalism in a safe country.

The organisation Liberty and SBS lodge the UK’s first-ever super-complaint against systemic and potentially unlawful data-sharing practices between the police and Home Office immigration enforcement teams. The practice discriminates against abuse victims and other vulnerable witnesses and undermines the fight against crime.

2019

Following a short campaign in the media by SBS, the government announces its decision to stop charging forced marriage victims for their repatriation. SBS welcomes the U-turn by the government. The shameful practice of charging forced marriage victims for their freedom was always an abuse of the rights of the most vulnerable.

On Valentine’s Day and the 30th anniversary of the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, SBS supports a meeting organised by Feminist Dissent to defend the right to free speech and democratic values. SBS participation is a continuation of SBS’ campaigns against all forms of religious fundamentalism, racism.

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