In Rashika v. Holder, Jaspreet Singh, ICAAD’s Director of Policy and Advocacy argued that Indo-Fijian women with no systems of support in Fiji should be eligible for asylum, as a particularly disfavored group with a well founded fear of future persecution. Ms. Rashika, a single Indo-Fijian woman with no family or remaining ties to Fiji had suffered past abuses, based both on her ethnicity and her gender, and had demonstrated a greater than 10% chance of future persecution. Existing human rights reports have documented a pattern and practice of abuse against both Indo-Fijians and women, where police and the judiciary, fail to stop abuses, especially of women. Those without familial or other support systems have no one to turn to.
According to the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre, 13% of women in Fiji have been raped, and sexual violence increased 155% from 2003-2007. Violent deaths of women are also on the rise. Fiji’s four political coups resulted in a marked increase in ethnic tensions between Indigenous Fijians and Indo-Fijians. AusAid’s research showed that “violence against women increases during and after coups,” and the “police have diminished capacity and willingness to respond to violence against women.” This appellate case is one part of a larger strategy for ICAAD to assist in ending violence against women in the Southern Pacific.