From the Refugee Union Facebook on 18 December 2014
On 15 December 2014 the Refugee Union members gathered for our weekly meeting at our office. From 2:00pm we started to share and exchange views and ideas. It’s an important forum where every member gets an opportunity to talk about issues affecting them. Members lament about their frustrations, inadequate rental assistance, unfair treatment from ISS and its food contractors who continue to cheat and ‘reduce’ our food allowance. Others have problems with accessing quality health care. It’s shocking to hear how doctors prescribe Panadol to sick refugee patients no matter the illness.
This Monday was a very special day for us members of the Refugee Union. This is the day that we unanimously endorsed and adopted the Refugee Union Constitution. We wrote history again. This means that in the history of Hong Kong we are the first refugee group to write and adopt a constitutional document. We do not have identity cards or any legal standing in this society. We have been issued with Recognizance papers that many people, even in government offices, don’t seems to know what’s they are. But we had the courage to come together and take a new path.
“This Constitution is the most progressive document I have ever seen”, said a refugee from West Africa. “It captures all our aspirations as group of people”, he continued. We do not have any legal status in this country, we are nobody. Hong Kong Immigration refuses to grant many of our members any protection and with that legal status. The majority of asylum cases are rejected on flimsy grounds and technicalities, therefore we are not able to secure employment for ourselves, open a bank account or even borrow a book from the library. We experience life at its most pitiless.
But in February 2014 refugees came together and opened an UMBRELLA in protest in the office of ISS before these humble instruments became a symbol of protest. And today we are united behind our first constitution. The struggle continues, brothers and sisters!