Policy Briefings

Informal Briefing to Selected Members of the LegCo Panel on Security regarding the Comprehensive Review of the Unified Screening Mechanism

On 11 November 2016, the LegCo Panel on Security held a meeting to discuss the comprehensive review of the Unified Screening Mechanism for Non-refoulement claims, for the first time in the new term of the Legislative Council. Before the meeting, Justice Centre Hong Kong submitted an informal briefing to selected members of the Panel on Security to raise our concerns about the scope of the “comprehensive review”.

Read our full briefing provided to selected members of the Panel here.

Read the Administration’s paper here.

Submission and Speech to the Panel on Security for the hearing of the HKSAR’s 3rd report under the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

piya

Justice Centre has made a written submission to the Panel on Security. The Panel meet on June 7 & 11 for the hearing of the HKSAR’s third report
under the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UN CAT). The submission outlines our concerns about recent rhetoric on refugees, CAT and the Unified Screening Mechanism.  It recommends that resources should be spent on improving fairness and efficiency of the USM. Also more should be done to combat human trafficking and forced labour and to protect rights of migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong.

Our Executive Director, Piya, delivered an oral statement at the meeting on June 11.

Read our full written submission here.

Read Piya’s oral statement here.

Watch the full LegCo session here.

Submission and Speech to the Panel on Manpower on Draft Code of Practice for Employment Agencies

On May 24, the Legislative Council’s Panel on Manpower held a special meeting on the Draft Code of Practice for Employment Agencies issued by the Labour Department. On the back of our groundbreaking report, ‘Coming Clean‘, Justice Centre made a written submission to the panel. Our Advocacy and Campaigns Manager, Victoria, also made an oral statement at the Panel.

Read our full written submission here.

Read Victoria’s full speech here.

Joint statement: “Stop discrimination: Community calls for calm on refugee debate”

12993383_920093844776392_6907149812791234867_nOn April 11, Justice Centre, along with almost 200 other local and international groups and prominent individuals, issued a statement calling for a stop to widespread discrimination against refugees in Hong Kong. The statement was issued at a press conference at the Legislative Council. NGOs, faith groups, lawyers, unions, academics and individuals from all around the world called for calm in the public debate and an end to discriminating language which is causing a high level of anxiety among this vulnerable population.

Read the full statement online in English and Chinese.

Expert Workshop: United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture

12923115_918708711581572_1061073461376103440_nOur Executive Director, Piya Muqit, was invited to speak about the redress and rehabilitation of child torture survivors at a workshop organised by the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture (UNVFVT) in Geneva on April 6-7.  Marking the 35th anniversary of UNVFVT, the workshop brought together child rights experts and practitioners in the field of torture rehabilitation. Piya shared about our services to protect the rights of torture survivors seeking protection in Hong Kong and explained the importance of UNVFVT funding for our work.12923249_918708714914905_7251853507676272746_n

The workshop culminated in a public event on April 8 at the Palais des Nations where Piya spoke alongside other panelists including the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Read Piya’s public address here and find out more information about the workshop here.

 

INFORMAL BRIEFING TO SELECTED LEGCO MEMBERS OF THE PANEL ON SECURITY

On February 2, 2016, the LegCo Panel on Security held a meeting to discuss the HKSAR Administration’s comprehensive review of the strategy of handling non-refoulement claims. Whilst Justice Centre welcomes a comprehensive review of the Unified Screening Mechanism (“USM”), it is worth stressing that the purpose of the USM is to protect those at risk of persecution, torture, cruel, inhumane, degrading treatment or punishment.

Prior to the meeting we submitted an informal briefing to selected members of the Panel on Security. Read our full briefing here.

Read the Administration’s paper here.

Statement on the Motion proposed for the Legislative Council Meeting on 16 December 2015 on “Expeditiously formulating measures to combat the problem of ‘bogus refugees’”

On 4 December 2015, the Hon. IP Kwok-him gave notice to move a motion on “Expeditiously formulating measures to combat the problem of ‘bogus refugees’” at the Council meeting of 16 December 2015 – the content of which can be found here. In response to this, Justice Centre submitted a statement detailing our position on the proposed motion. Read our full statement here

Speech to LegCo Panel on Constitutional Affairs on the Third Report cycle for Hong Kong to the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

On November 16, 2015, Justice Centre spoke to the Legislative Council’s Panel on Constitutional Affairs in advance of their periodic review by the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. We expressed concern at the Hong Kong Government’s increasingly negative rhetoric concerning protection claimants and the damaging effect that this can have on media reports and, consequently, public perceptions about ethnic minority protection claimants in Hong Kong.

Read Justice Centre’s full speech here.

Speech to LegCo Panel on Security in advance of the Fifth Periodic Report cycle for Hong Kong to the Committee against Torture

On November 3, 2015, Justice Centre spoke to the Legislative Council’s Panel on Security in advance of their periodic review before the Committee against Torture later in November. We provided a progress report of the government’s screening mechanism for protection claims, the Unified Screening Mechanism, and expressed concern at the unusually high rejection rate as well as the lack of transparency.

Read Justice Centre’s full speech here.

Informal Briefing to Selected LegCo Members of the Panel on Security

On July 7, 2015, the LegCo Panel on Security held a meeting to discuss the Unified Screening Mechanism for Non-Refoulement claims, the government screening mechanism for protection claims, which has now been in place for over a year. Prior to this meeting we submitted an informal briefing to selected members of the Panel on Security, Dennis Kwok, Dr. Fernando Cheung and Emily Lau, who raised these concerns in their discussions. 

Read our full briefing provided to the selected members of the Panel here.

Read the Administration’s paper here.

Shadow report submission to Committee against Torture

On March 31, 2015, Justice Centre submitted a shadow report to the Committee against Torture for the 5th Periodic Report cycle for Hong Kong. The report outlines our concerns about Hong Kong’s commitment to fulfilling its obligations under the Convention against Torture. It includes suggested questions for the Committee to pose to the HKSAR Government in its list of issues, such as further information on the Unified Screening Mechanism as well as efforts to combat human trafficking. 

Read the full shadow report to the Committee Against Torture here.

Submission to Social Welfare Department on Food Assistance Tender

On March 12, 2015, Justice Centre made a submission to the Social Welfare Department of the Hong Kong Government in response to their Invitation to Tender for “Provision of Assistance for Non-refoulement Claimants”. Backed by the Hungry for Change petition of 1341 signatures and five letters from refugees, our submission called for the SWD to keep in mind three main points in the process of awarding the next food assistance contract, to ensure that it has the dignity of refugees at its heart. The three recommendations were:

1. Move to a cash or food coupon system that gives dignity and choice to protection claimants
2. Increase assistance annually in line with changes in the cost of living in Hong Kong

3. Ensure all claimants get the same assistance no matter where in Hong Kong they live.

To read our submission to the Social Welfare Department, click here.
To read the five letters from refugees in Hong Kong, click here.
To learn more about the Hungry for Change campaign and petition, click here.

Letter to Panel on Security

Following our submission on February 13 2015 to the Security Bureau on their ‘Proposals to Enhance the Unified Screening Mechanism (USM), we submitted a letter to the Panel on Security for their meeting on March 3, 2015, which coincides with the first anniversary of the USM.

To read our letter to the Panel on Security, please click here.

Submission to Security Bureau on USM 

On December 23, 2014, the Security Bureau sent a letter to the Hong Kong Bar Association and The Law Society of Hong Kong, containing ‘Proposals to Enhance the Unified Screening Mechanism (USM)’. To our disappointment, civil society members, such as Justice Centre, had not been consulted for our perspectives on these proposals. In spite of this, on February 13, 2015, Justice Centre submitted a written submission to the Security Bureau with our views on the proposed measures, based on our extensive experience working with protection claimants in Hong Kong.

To read Justice Centre’s submission to the Security Bureau, click here.

Views to the EOC’s Discrimination Law Review

On 31 October 2014, Justice Centre Hong Kong filed a written submission giving our views to the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC)’s public consultation document as part of its review of Hong Kong’s discrimination laws and work to promote equality for everyone in Hong Kong. The current discrimination law covers sex, marital, disability, race and family status discrimination. Justice Centre’s report highlights the multiple forms of discrimination that refugees face in Hong Kong, not only due to their race, but due to the fact that existing immigration legislation does not distinguish them from “overstayers” for the whole duration of their stay in Hong Kong. Justice Centre noted that the current protected characteristics of race in the existing Race Discrimination Ordinance (RDO) fail to take into account the specific situation of discrimination faced by protection claimants, and recommended that discrimination based on immigration status should not be automatically excluded from the ambit of the protective provisions of the RDO; rather any differential treatment must be justified as being pursuant to a legitimate aim, and proportionate. We look forward to following the EOC’s review as it takes civil society views in consideration. To read Justice Centre’s submission, click here  To learn more about the EOC discrimination law review, click here

Advocacy on women’s rights before the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

In October 2014, both Justice Centre, as well as women from Voices for Protection, filed two shadow reports to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) before the Committee’s examination of HKSAR Government at its 59th session. Earlier, on 21 July 2014, Justice Centre also participated in a Legislative Council session dedicated to examining the Hong Kong Government’s report to CEDAW.  At this LegCo Panel on Constitutional Affairs, Justice Centre spoke about their human rights concerns in our oral statement. We also filed a written submission with recommendations on how the Hong Kong Government can improve its efforts to combat human trafficking and forced labour, building on our previous report. For Justice Centre’s report to CEDAW, click here. For the written submission by the group of women from Voices for Protection, click here.

New report on Unified Screening Mechanism: Meeting the Bare Minimum

We have launched a new report that says the Hong Kong Government is doing the ‘bare minimum’ to protect vulnerable refugees and torture claimants entering their new refugee screening mechanism. The report is the first comprehensive analysis of refugees’ and torture claimants’ experiences and opinions of the unified screening mechanism (USM), the new government process for determining protection claims in Hong Kong, started in March 2014. We recorded the concerns expressed amongst 260 refugees who attended 22 Justice Centre information sessions on the USM in over 15 different languages since February 2014. The NGO also conducted an anonymous survey with 53 refugees and torture claimants, asking them about their experiences of trying to enter the USM and about their main concerns living as a refugee in Hong Kong. Of those surveyed, 30 per cent said they had no information about the USM before coming to Justice Centre information sessions; 24 per cent were concerned about being rejected and/or deported and 11 per cent didn’t even know how to file a claim.

Oral submission to LegCo Subcommittee on Poverty

On 25 April 2014, our Advocacy Officer, Victoria, made an oral submission at the LegCo Subcommittee on Poverty meeting on measures to support ethnic minorities in relation to employment and integration into the community.  Refugees and other people seeking protection are some of the most marginalized of ethnic minority communities in this city, and are living below the poverty line on the government’s welfare assistance package. Representing just a fraction of the total population, they live a life in limbo in Hong Kong, and we believe that at the very least, those who have received refugee status and are awaiting resettlement in a third country should be granted the right to work.

How Many More Years A Slave? Trafficking for Forced Labour in Hong Kong

In March 2014 Justice Centre Hong Kong launched its report How Many More Years A Slave? Trafficking for Forced Labour in Hong Kong, a joint publication with Liberty Asia. The report is the first comprehensive analysis of human trafficking for forced labour in the HKSAR territory. It asserts that the Hong Kong Government is not fully complying with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking for forced labour and highlights gaps in existing legislation, which it says is failing to safeguard the rights of migrant workers trafficked for forced labour, neglecting to prosecute perpetrators and to prevent future abuses. This report is the first in a series on Modern Slavery in Hong Kong.

News Sign Up

Sign up to be posted about our latest news.

Search the website

Contact

T (852) 3109 7359
F (852) 3422 3019
info@justicecentre.org.hk