Last week was a pretty exciting week for our team, fresh from our first Human Rights Week 2015, which came to a close with the Hong Kong Human Rights Arts Prize 2015 Awards Ceremony and Charity Auction at the Fringe Club. In case you haven’t already heard, the winners of the Hong Kong Human Rights Arts Prize 2015 are here.
Thank you to YOU, our supporters, who engaged in Human Rights Week to make it a massive success! It has been wonderful to promote awareness, dialogue and action on human rights around the important occasion of International Human Rights Day.
Ending 2015 with such a thrilling event and with 2016 right around the corner, our team has decided to reflect on the many highlights from this past year, below. All of these milestones would not be possible without your ongoing support.
With the festive season underway, please consider making a life-changing donation to support our work. Or, ask your friends and family to make a donation to Justice Centre in lieu of giving Christmas presents.
Your support is vital in enabling us to provide essential legal and psychological services for refugees and survivors of torture, and to advocate for the rights of forced migrants. Please click here to make a donation today and find out how your donation will make a difference.
And why not give your time? Justice Centre is currently recruiting for a number of different positions, including a Communications Manager, Communications Intern and interpreters. Check this space for future opportunities in 2016 and to learn more about our current openings!
With that, here’s wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday season! We look forward to seeing you in the New Year!
Piya and the Justice Centre team
A Look Back at 2015
Information to promote access to justice: Justice Centre launched a new information session – ‘USM 3: Appeals and Judicial Reviews’ – to inform protection claimants on the options available to them if their USM claim has been unsuccessful. In a system with a 99.7% rejection rate, this information is crucial.
Seeing the impact of our individual assistance: Justice Centre saw one of the beneficiaries of our individual legal and psychosocial support services recognised under the Unified Screening Mechanism – one of only a handful of successful claims thus far in this new system. Justice Centre continues to push for more transparency through Access to Information Requests.
Shadow report to the UN Committee against Torture (CAT): Justice Centre submitted a shadow report to CAT, outlining our concerns about Hong Kong’s commitment to fulfilling its obligations under the Convention against Torture. We also helped claimants file their own submission, resulting in strong and detailed recommendations by CAT to the HKSAR Government in November.
Hungry for Change instrumental in leading to food policy reform: We did a final push on our Hungry for Change petition, garnering over 1300 signatures that we provided to the Security Bureau, along with letters from refugees and our research on food assistance schemes. This led to a positive change to a food voucher scheme, with restrictions on certain food items also eventually lifted in December.
Ground-breaking research on human trafficking and forced labour: Justice Centre conducted, in partnership with a market research company, a first-of-its-kind large-scale survey with over 1,000 migrant domestic workers from 8 countries of origin to estimate the scale of forced labour, human trafficking and exploitation. The results will be published in a report that will be released early in 2016.
I am more than a refugee (media project) for Labour Day: On International Labour Day on May 1, graduates from our Voices for Protection advocacy traineeship for refugees came together to discuss their careers, dreams and ambitions, given that they have no right to work in Hong Kong. Since we cannot take their photographs, for security reasons, we recorded their voices instead. Listen to ‘I am more than a refugee’.
Justice Centre adds a Senior Legal Advisor to team: We welcomed Adam Severson who took up the new role of Senior Legal Advisor to oversee our Protection Claimant Services team, ensuring that our legal work is of top quality.
World Refugee Day and #SharedPasts:
In honour of World Refugee Day on June 20, we celebrated the accomplishments and stories of refugees, both past and present, at an event at The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, where we also officially launched our #SharedPasts project, in collaboration with Xyza Cruz Bacani. Watch the #SharedPasts video.
Advocacy around Hong Kong’s ranking in US TIP Report: Once again, Hong Kong was disappointingly ranked at Tier 2 in the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report in July this year for failing to meet the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking. Justice Centre issued a media statement, and our Advocacy and Campaigns Manager spoke to RTHK about the report.
New Executive Director is appointed to lead Justice Centre: Piya is a qualified Barrister in England and Wales and an Advocate in Scotland, and has been working for the past fifteen years in the field of human rights, child rights and refugee law and policy. Piya most recently worked at UNICEF UK as head of policy and advocacy, and Freedom from Torture as their senior legal advisor.
Justice Centre receives funding to launch Voices for Protection WOMEN: Thanks to the generosity of HER Fund, Voices for Protection WOMEN kicked off with a diverse and dynamic group of women. So far, the group have been learning about famous women leaders, about their own roles in society and how they can be leaders as well. Watch out for more updates on their activities!
Justice Centre Ambassadors Network kicks off: We launched the Justice Centre Ambassadors Network to offer our supporters the opportunity to get more involved in our work on an ad hoc basis. Our first group of Ambassadors have been busy supporting our activities, attending events and visiting schools. To receive an update when we open our next round of recruitment, please email Zamira at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Justice Centre welcomes its second Justice Centre Fellow: Our second fellow, Lynette Nam joined our team. The fellowship was created to develop public interest law capacity in Hong Kong, and the role contributes to the provision of Justice Centre’s protection claimant services and the operation of our pro bono partner programme.
Justice Centre is a charity beneficiary of grants and fundraising activities: We were honoured to be selected as a charity beneficiary for Operation Santa Claus, organised by South China Morning Post and Radio Television Hong Kong. Check out our interviews with SCMP and RTHK to learn more. We also received a grant from UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture (UNVFVT) to provide survivors of torture with legal and psychological support. Lastly, students from schools around Hong Kong fundraised for Justice Centre’s human trafficking research during the 24 Hour Race.
Refugees engage in “Run for Justice” with Free to Run: The ‘Run for Justice’ team conquered their 10k and 5k races on November 29. The team consisted of refugee runners, as well as Justice Centre, Free to Run and Macquarie staff and volunteers. Many had never even run a race before! The funds raised have gone towards our legal and psychological work, as well as towards the work of Free to Run to help them organise hiking groups for female refugees in Hong Kong. Thank you to Macquarie for their support and to those of you who sponsored the team!
Justice Centre introduces Human Rights Week in addition to Arts Prize: In addition to the Hong Kong Human Rights Arts Prize exhibition, we held our first Human Rights Week, hosting talks and activities to generate awareness and dialogue around human rights!
We have limited edition prints of three of the shortlisted pieces, signed by the artists and priced at HK$2000 each: P H Yang’s What Next for Hong Kong; Chi Loy Man’s My Face Hit Your Fist; and Rebecca Benians’ Why?