HKBA critical of new pilot scheme for free legal assistance to refugees

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Security Bureau submission to LegCo Panel on Security

Feb 1st, 2016 | Government, Immigration | Comment

SB submission to Legco - 2 Feb 2016

Expeditiously formulating measures to combat the problem of ‘bogus refugees’

Jan 20th, 2016 | Government | Comment

Original Motion dated 16 December 2015

3 Amendments dated 6 January 2016 

Legco Council Meeting 27Jan2016

UN calls on HK Government to review the Unified Screening Mechanism

Dec 11th, 2015 | Government, Immigration | Comment

Official link

UN Committee against Torture recommendations (Dec2015)

Government welcomes constructive dialogue with UN Torture Committee

Dec 10th, 2015 | Government, Immigration | Comment

HKSAR Government welcomes constructive dialogue with UN Committee against Torture

DAB motion to combat the problem of ‘bogus refugees’

Dec 7th, 2015 | Government, Immigration | Comment

Legco motion on expeditious measures - 4Dec2015

Reality undermines rosy picture painted by Security Bureau at UN hearing

Nov 20th, 2015 | Advocacy, Government, Immigration, VF Opinion, Welfare | Comment

On 17 November 2015, at a hearing of the United Nations Committee against Torture in Geneva, Hong Kong Government’s permanent Secretary for Security put on record the impeccably crafted Unified Screening Mechanism (USM) with assurances that “this mechanism has exceeded what is required under Article 3 of the Convention (against Torture).”

Mr. Law stated eloquently that Hong Kong “has always strived to protect human rights and fulfill the requirements and commitments under the Convention against Torture … and other international human rights instruments that are applicable to the HKSAR”.

Mr. Law showcased the comprehensive services offered by Hong Kong Government, including: “… accommodation, food, clothing, other basic necessities, transportation and utilities allowances, medical services and education for minors … rental deposits and property agent fees”. Further he added that: “In 2015 we introduced food coupons in lieu of the provision of in-kind food assistance”.

The report paints an attractive picture hard to fault from the distant Swiss mountains. Let us summarize the extensive arrangements provided free-of-charge to (lucky?) refugees in Hong Kong:

  1. Human rights? … Yes
  2. Publicly funded legal assistance? … Yes
  3. Interpretation services? … Yes
  4. Independent appeal mechanism? … Yes
  5. Training of all decision-makers? … Yes
  6. Accommodation? … Yes
  7. Rental deposits? … Yes
  8. Property agent fees? … Yes
  9. Food coupons? … Yes
  10. Clothing? … Yes
  11. Transportation? … Yes
  12. Utilities allowance? … Yes
  13. Medical services? … Yes
  14. Education for minors? … Yes

The devil however is in the detail. The range of the above 14 services masks structural failures that the authorities are plainly uninterested to address. The complexity of the USM comes at the expense of protection and the variety of humanitarian assistance sacrifices tangible welfare, as in reality hardly a service meets the basic needs of refugees.

The faults of the system are well known to attentive readers and not worth repeating to those who are indifferent, apathetic or unconcerned that Hong Kong Government fails to meet its constitutional duties towards the refugee community. Vision First is alarmed that the policies and behaviour of the government are not consistent with its promise to safeguard refugee rights and ensure their wellbeing.

Facts speak for themselves: 37 claims were substantiated since 1992 among over 18,000 bids for asylum; public lawyers and appeal board appear comfortable with the acceptance rate; refugee slums were systematically erected in animal farms financed by tax-dollars; rental deposits and property agent fees were introduce to address such illegality; refugee protested for 200 days before problematic food rations were reluctantly replaced by food coupons. The list goes on …

How many medical prescriptions issued to refugees include Panadol? How many refugees received clothing and shoes or pots and pans from the government? How much do refugees spend to top up insufficient rent and utilities? How much food, clothing daily necessities do refugees buy without being allowed to work? How many education and medical costs are refugees forced to pay with cash they cannot earn? The questions are endless …

Vision First appraises inconsistencies of this magnitude as unjust, hypocritical and shameful for an international city that wishes to be perceived as fair, sophisticated and respectful of human rights and the dignity of every man, woman and child who lives here – which is integral to our humanity.

Reality undermines rosy picture painted by the Security Bureau

“We exceed requirements” Government assures UN Committee against Torture

Nov 18th, 2015 | Government, Immigration, Welfare | Comment

SB report at CAT hearing in Geneva - 17Nov2015

Democratic Party to raise issues at UN torture hearing

Nov 10th, 2015 | Government, Media, Rejection | Comment

SCMP - Democratic party to talk at CAT meeting

TVB report “Asylum Angst”

Nov 3rd, 2015 | Advocacy, Crime, Government, Immigration, Media, Personal Experiences, Welfare | Comment

TVB - Pearl Report - Asylum Angst (2Nov2015)

議員斥免遣返聲請遭濫用 黎棟國:盡力防止

Oct 29th, 2015 | Crime, Government, Immigration, Media | Comment

TVB on Legco questions on USM (28Oct2015)

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