Justice Centre’s Research and Policy Officer Rachel spoke to the Hong Kong International Business Channel’s Talk the Walk about the Government’s proposals to amend the Immigration Ordinance, as well as other challenges faced by the refugee and asylum seeker community in Hong Kong.
Justice Centre and 17+ civil society organisations are calling upon the Legislative Council to facilitate civil society’s continued participation in public affairs amidst the pandemic. At its last meeting, the Bills Committee on Immigration (Amendment) Bill 2020 declined to convene a public hearing, citing Covid-19. This is the second time Covid-19 has restricted public hearings.
In response to media requests in relation to the Secretary for Security's blog article on the Immigration (Amendment) Bill 2020, Justice Centre makes the following statement: // Under the Unified Screening Mechanism (USM), asylum seekers must overstay – hence committing an immigration offence and subject to removal – before they are eligible to lodge their non-refoulement claims under the USM. It is therefore disingenuous to refer to non-refoulement claimants as illegal immigrants, which also propagates the misconception that refugees are all criminals to the public. Further, some asylum seekers may enter Hong Kong unlawfully, such as using forged documentations, due to safety concerns. Under international law, such as the Refugee Convention, refugees who entered a country illegally should not be penalised for unlawful entry or stay.
Justice Centre Hong Kong shares the Refugee Concern Network’s strong concerns over some of the proposed amendments to the Immigration Ordinance. Under the proposed law, protection claimants could be deprived of their right to interpretation, compelled to give consent for medical examinations, and detained for long periods, among other things.
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