Justice Centre Hong Kong is a non-profit human rights organisation working fearlessly to protect the rights of Hong Kong’s most vulnerable forced migrants: refugees, other people seeking protection, and survivors of torture, human trafficking and forced labour.
Launched in 2014, Justice Centre Hong Kong was formerly Hong Kong Refugee Advice Centre, which over seven years, helped more than 2,000 refugee men, women and children on the road to a new life.
Building on our expertise in refugee issues, we identified a clear need for an increased response to tackling forced labour and human trafficking in Hong Kong, and expanded our remit to fill this gap.
We advocate with and for forced migrants, bringing their voices into the public debate. We campaign for legislative and policy change, conduct research and work with the media and civil society to fight root causes and change systems and minds.
We provide people seeking protection in Hong Kong with free and independent legal information and specialised legal and psychosocial assistance.
We receive no government funding. Instead, we have spearheaded an innovative pro-bono working model that sees leading international law firms provide financial assistance and donate hours to help with legal research and support. We also harness funding from a variety of trusts and foundations and through individual donations.
Piya Muqit, Executive Director
Piya has been working in the field of human rights, child rights, human trafficking and refugee rights for over 20 years as a legal-aid lawyer and policy expert. She has worked for NGOs, including Freedom from Torture, REDRESS and Refugee Legal Centre in the UK, the Capital Post Conviction Project of Louisiana in the USA and Ain o Salish Kendra in Bangladesh. She has also served on the Board and worked for the Citizenship Foundation and Grampian Racial Equality Council. Piya is a qualified barrister having trained at Doughty Street, Garden Court Chambers and the Faculty of Advocates in the UK and holds an undergraduate degree in law from the University of Aberdeen, a Master’s in Human Rights Law from the University of London and a Master’s in Child Studies from Kings College London. She has led on change management projects for several NGOs, and been involved in training and capacity building, research, strategic litigation cases, and law and policy reform throughout her career. Her most recent post before joining Justice Centre was Head of Policy and Advocacy at UNICEF UK.
Melanie McLaren, Head of Fundraising & Development
Melanie has been at Justice Centre since 2015 and is responsible for Justice Centre’s fundraising strategy as well as running the Hong Kong Human Rights Arts Prize. Prior to working at Justice Centre she had over 10 years’ experience working in the UK and Hong Kong. Melanie’s most recent role prior to Justice Centre was Chief Operating Officer for Asia Pacific fundraising for Macquarie Group’s investment funds. Melanie was also on the Asia Pacific Steering Committee for the Macquarie Group Foundation’s Modern Slavery Project. Melanie is passionate about human rights, including the power of art as a catalyst for social change and holds a Masters from University College London
Jade Anderson, Head of Research
Jade has been working in human rights-based development since 2002. She has worked in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and South Africa for local and international NGOs. She has also worked with the UN Refugee Agency in Australia. Before joining the organisation in 2014, Jade worked with international company Statt, researching people who decide to seek asylum from Afghanistan through irregular channels. Jade holds a Masters degree in Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development and a Masters in International Development.
Isaac Shaffer, Legal Services Manager
Isaac Shaffer is a UK qualified lawyer with over a decade’s experience of directly representing asylum seekers and refugees before Courts and Tribunals. Before working for the Justice Centre, he worked for Wilson Solicitors LLP, one of the UK’s leading legal aid immigration firms, and for Refugee Legal Centre, a UK NGO providing direct representation for asylum seekers and refugees. He has particular experience in litigation, including complex applications for Judicial Review. He was co-convener of the UK’s Immigration Legal Practitioner Association’s specialist Asylum Working Group and was active in campaigns to preserve legal aid and access to justice. Until 2018 he was a founding member and Director of one of the UK’s leading independent publishing houses, Comma Press, and now remains a consultant to the Board.
Lynette Nam, Legal Officer
Lynette is an Australian qualified lawyer and holds a dual degree in Bachelor of Arts/Laws (Hon) from the University of Queensland. Before joining Justice Centre, Lynette worked at Fragomen Worldwide, an international immigration law firm, in Australia and Hong Kong. Previous to this, Lynette was a human rights trainer on the Thai-Burma border, where she developed and implemented a curriculum on non-violent social change for young Karenni refugees. Lynette began her graduate career at Nishimura & Asahi in Tokyo. She has also worked with Refugees International Japan in Tokyo, and various community legal centres in Brisbane, Australia in a volunteer capacity.
Nawin Santikarn, Linklaters Justice Fellow
Nawin is an English-qualified lawyer, and holds an LLB (Hons) from the University of Edinburgh. Prior to joining Justice Centre, Nawin worked in at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, an international commercial law firm, in London and Hong Kong. While in private practice, Nawin focused on litigation and international arbitration, and volunteered at a legal clinic in east London. As a graduate, Nawin interned on the Defence team of Nuon Chea at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.
Pritika Bhat, Legal Services Coordinator
Pritika is a law graduate from India and post graduate (LLM) in Corporate and Finance laws from The University of Hong Kong. Before working for Justice Centre Hong Kong, she gained good legal experience working as Manager (Legal) in Credit Recovery and Legal Services Department of an Indian Public sector Bank (Union Bank of India) for 7 years. She has also done her internships with various Non-Governmental Organizations, Law firms and companies in India. Besides her interest in working in Financial sector, she has deep interest in working for the Human cause. She actively supports organizations doing work in the humanitarian grounds in India. An example is Kashmiri Medical Emergency Trust (KMECT) – which provides financial assistance to the needy for medical purposes.
Jessica Chan, Finance Manager
Jessica acquired her accountancy qualifications in Hong Kong and became a CPA in 2011. She has worked in different sizes enterprises, from SMEs to larger corporates such as BNP Paribas and Pricewaterhouse Coopers. Jessica obtained her bachelor degree in accountancy at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. During her time at University she was Vice-President of the English Club, and led several vocational trips to remote regions of Mainland China to teach English to Primary aged students. In addition to Hong Kong, Jessica has lived in Canada and the UK.
Louise Coulcher, Office Manager
Louise recently moved back to Hong Kong from London, UK, where she was working as the Client and MLR Services Manager for the Helen Bamber Foundation. Louise spent her earlier working life as an Executive Assistant in the Financial Corporate sector, whilst also volunteering for Amnesty and HBF. Louise transitioned into full time NGO employment initially working for the International Rescue Committee, after completing her LLM in Human Rights at the University of London. She also holds an undergraduate degree in Sociology and Social Policy from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
Annie Li, Research and Policy Officer
Annie has a Bachelor of Social Sciences (Government and Laws) degree and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Hong Kong, including an exchange year at Sciences Po Paris. Before joining Justice Centre Hong Kong, she worked at local NGOs Hong Kong Unison and AIDS Concern in advocacy and communications on racial equality, LGBTI rights and the right to health.
Raquel Amador, Welfare Advisor, Legal Team
Raquel is a UK qualified lawyer with a background in immigration, asylum and human rights law. In the UK, Raquel worked for Wesley Gryk LLP, one of the UK’s leading immigration law firms. Eleven years ago, she co-founded Hong Kong Refugee Advice Centre (now Justice Centre). Raquel has also worked at HELP, an NGO that assists domestic workers on cases involving employment, immigration and human rights. Born in The Netherlands and raised in Curacao, New York and Hong Kong, Raquel is a dual Filipino and Dutch national. She is the proud mother of two children.
Maggie Fung, Development Manager
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Maggie kick started her non-profit career in Singapore working in the local chapter of YMCA in volunteer management and the inaugural Youth Olympic Games hosted by International Olympics Committee, before returning to her hometown and worked in the fundraising team of Plan International Hong Kong, specialized in corporate partnerships and grants. She then worked in Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF supporting the growth of their corporate donor database. Maggie holds a bachelor degree in Fine Arts and Translation from The University of Hong Kong and an Executive Certificate of CSR from HKU Space.
Laura Hawxhurst, Partnerships Manager
Laura has a proven track record of creative fundraising and driving advocacy programs. Before joining Justice Centre as Partnerships Manager, Laura worked in government affairs in Washington, DC. She most recently served as Director of Political Advocacy and Engagement for CVS Health, where she developed the company’s first-ever employee grassroots advocacy program to engage more than 240,000 employees in political advocacy. Laura holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from James Madison University in the United States and is passionate about equality and human rights.
Noi Derkash, Services Coordinator
Noi obtained an undergraduate degree in nursing from Regis University and was a registered nurse at University of Colorado Hospital in the United States. Justice Centre Hong Kong serves as her first foray back into the workforce (after a seven-year hiatus), as well as into working with an NGO. Though it’s been quite an adjustment, Noi remains passionate about helping others and is grateful to be able to utilize her skills as a compassionate caregiver.
Lisa Rizzo, Partnerships Manager (Middle East)
Lisa is an Australian qualified lawyer who holds degrees in law (LLB) from Macquarie University and commerce (B.Com) from and the University of New South Wales. Prior to her time in Hong Kong, Lisa lived in Bangkok, Thailand, where she had a unique opportunity to support Thai people in the infamous Klong Toey slums, particularly new mothers. She spent the early part of her career in Sydney, Australia, working as a human resources and employment law specialist for media and distribution companies.
Jake Mendrik, Policy Advisor
Jake has spent much of his working career focused on Chinese policy research and analysis starting with the Chinese Governance Innovation Research Centre at the Lau Institute, Kings College, UK, before a role at the Chinese Britain Business Council (CBBC) in Shenzhen publishing a number of reports on emerging Chinese market sectors. Previous to this he obtained a Graduate Diploma in Law at City Law School in London, before working and volunteering at several clinics and NGOs on issues related tenancy dispute and social security claims. He also holds a Master’s degree in Human Rights Law from the University of Vienna and has worked with a number of Chinese NGOs working on issues related to gender, human trafficking and the One Child Policy.
Cameron Sutherland, Communications Fellow
Cameron moved from Bristol to Hong Kong after graduating from a degree in journalism and public relations. He has worked with various companies increasing their online presence by utilising SEO through social media content. Cameron also worked with Waterstones building awareness of their book launch events and increasing attendance. Whether he’s writing about what’s happening in the world today or creating ideas for apprentice style competitions, there’s always a way to make a topic interesting or spoken about, especially when it’s important; that’s why he joined the team. When he’s not in the office you’ll catch him scrambling between jiu-jitsu classes, coffeeshops and comic book stores.
Brian Choi, Legal Caseworker
Brian is a recent LLB (Hons) graduate at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Prior to working with Justice Centre, he interned at the Office of Public Counsel for the Defence at the International Criminal Court and is developing an interest in human rights law and international criminal law. During his time at CUHK, Brian had been an avid mooter representing his law school in various international mooting tournaments. He is also a very keen basketball player and a diehard fan of the Miami Heat.
Ailin Wong, HR Consultant
Ailin is a human resources professional with an interest in talent management, remuneration & benefits, change and M&As. She has worked across the banking, real estate and professional services industries, and is keen for underprivileged people to have better life opportunities in Hong Kong.
Miguel Ramírez, Executive Assistant
Miguel is a current student from San Francisco State University majoring in “Philosophy Emphasis in Law.” He graduated from two high schools, in the U.S and in Nicaragua. Miguel plans to become an international lawyer focusing on the violation of human rights around the world especially in the Hispanic community. He created a campaign in his country, Nicaragua, to help people with leukemia. This campaign is called “Somos tus alas” (‘We are your wings’.) Miguel hosted a national radio show that addressed the variety of struggles that young people have.