"As societies build walls of separation between communities,
ICAAD works to remove each brick to illuminate our common humanity"

Oral Argument 9th Cir.: Indo-Fijian Woman Seeking Asylum

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.

#RaiseYourShield

This Civil Rights and Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we’d like to challenge you to reflect on how fear may have influenced your opinions, especially of others, and to take a step towards the courage to overcome those fears. Why the focus on fear you might ask?

Famed marketer and author Simon Sinek in his book “Start with Why” outlines six typical manipulations used in sales and marketing, one of which is the use of fear. On fear, Sinek says, “When fear is being employed, facts are incidental. Deeply seated in our biological drive to survive, that emotion cannot be quickly wiped away with facts and figures.”

In the current political atmosphere, in the U.S. and around the globe, fear is often used by politicians and campaigners to polarize debates and to demonize marginalized communities, using them as scapegoats for the real economic, social, and political challenges that societies face.

Martin Luther King, Jr. understood how important fear is, so much so that he gave a sermon on it named “Antidotes for Fear.” It’s worth reading in its entirety, especially because it recognizes the importance, necessity, and creativity of fear (kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/draft-chapter-xiv-mastery-fear-or-antidotes-fear). However, particularly pertinent section was highlighted by King’s wife Coretta Scott King in her book “My life with Martin Luther King, Jr”:

“First Martin spoke of the many kinds of fear that troubled men and women in this period of change and "calamitous uncertainty"— fear of illness or economic disaster, fear of personal inadequacy in our highly competitive society. More terrible was the fear of death, even racial annihilation, in this atomic age, when the whole world teetered on "a balance of terror . . . fearful lest some diplomatic faux pas ignite a frightful holocaust."

"Some fears are normal and necessary," he said, like the fear of snakes in a jungle, but when they become neurotic and unchecked, they paralyze the will and reduce a man to apathy or despair. He quoted Emerson, who wrote, "He has not learned the lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear."

How, then, to overcome fear? First, Martin said, "We must un-flinchingly face our fears . . . this confrontation will, to some measure, grant us power. . . . "Second, we can master fear through one of the supreme virtues known to man— courage . . . courage is the power of the mind to overcome fear.”"

MLK Coretta Scott King Simon Sinek
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook