Over the past seven years, our experienced staff have provided life-changing services to over 2,000 refugee men, women and children.
Since the introduction of the Unified Screening Mechanism (USM) at the beginning of March 2014 – the new government system for processing protection claims in Hong Kong – the pool of people we can potentially help has expanded to over 9,000, as we extend our services to ALL people seeking protection in Hong Kong.
What is the Unified Screening Mechanism (USM)?
The USM is the new government system for processing protection claims in Hong Kong, implemented in March 2014.
The USM brings refugee claims (referred to by the government as ‘persecution’ claims) together with torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (CIDTP) claims under one process.
These are now collectively known as ‘non-refoulement’ claims. The government did not choose to implement this new system – they were forced to do so by a ruling of the Court of Final Appeal in March 2013.
In the USM, protection claimants appear before the Immigration Department. UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency) no longer assesses refugee claims in Hong Kong.
Who is a protection claimant?
A protection claimant is anyone going through the USM, including refugees and other people seeking protection from torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (CIDTP), or persecution.
Protection claimants can be survivors of some of the most deplorable forms of human rights abuses, such as war, rape and various forms of persecution. This population faces particular vulnerabilities in Hong Kong. As they don’t receive levels of assistance suitable to support an adequate standard of living, they are forced into poverty, deprivation and social exclusion. These pressing concerns led Justice Centre to build on its services and to intensify advocacy efforts for the rights of protection claimants.