Fleeing sectarian violence, a refugee now faces homelessness and alienation in Hong Kong
Dec 30th, 2016 | Media, Personal Experiences | Comment
The Untold Story of Edward Snowden’s Escape from Hong Kong [33c3] – Hong Kong Video
Dec 30th, 2016 | Media, VF Team | Comment
NETZPOLITIK.ORG: Die Asylsuchenden, die Edward Snowden in Hongkong versteckt haben, brauchen Unterstützung
SCHEDULE 33: The Untold Story of Edward Snowden’s Escape from Hong Kong
「這裏只能生存不能生活」 收容斯諾登 難民盼離港
Dec 28th, 2016 | Media | Comment
Snowden asks for Christmas gift for refugees who helped him
Dec 25th, 2016 | Media | Comment
FB: For the refugees
FUNDRAZR: Canadians Help Snowden’s Guardian Angels
SPUTNIK: Snowden Asks Internet to Support Refugees in Hong Kong Who Helped Him
WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Snowden asks for Christmas gift of helping refugees who helped him
RADIO CANADA: Des familles ayant hébergé Edward Snowden à Hong Kong en subissent les conséquences
Lawyers to help refugees who sheltered Snowden in Hong Kong
Dec 21st, 2016 | Advocacy, Media, Refugee Community, Rejection | Comment
Video also available here:
More news can be found here:
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: Montreal lawyers urge Ottawa to help asylum-seekers who housed Snowden
SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST: Canada’s government urged to take in Hong Kong asylum seekers who sheltered Edward Snowden
NEXTSHARK: Three Families Who Housed Edward Snowden in Hong Kong Seek Asylum in Canada
AQAADI: Montreal lawyers urge Ottawa to help asylum-seekers who housed Snowden
AUDIOBOOM: Edward Snowden got out of Hong Kong by hiding in the one place the government would never think to look
Tighter Hong Kong visa rules may affect more foreign visitors than only Indians
Dec 19th, 2016 | Government, Immigration, Media | Comment
Hong Kong Snowden refugees dream of better life
Dec 16th, 2016 | Media | Comment
COCONUTS: Trapped in limbo in Hong Kong, ‘Snowden refugees’ dream of better life
RADIO METRO 951: La familia que ocultó a Edward Snowden (in Spanish)
HK FREE PRESS: In Pictures: ‘Treated like animals’, Hong Kong’s ‘Snowden refugees’ dream of better life
See also Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s call to support the families that helped Snowden
TWITTER: You can show your support here for the Hong Kong families who helped Edward @Snowden…
FACEBOOK: You can show your support here for the Hong Kong families who helped Edward Snowden…
Travesty of justice at Lands Tribunal
Dec 13th, 2016 | Government, Housing, Legal, VF Report, Welfare | Comment
Lands Tribunal case Judgement
Court would not even stay proceedings with a Legal Aid Department (LAD) memorandum and statutory stay of 14 days. The court found.
“The Tribunal received A Memorandum of Notification of an Application for Legal Aid by the respondent dated 5 December 2016. By section 15(4) of the Legal Aid Ordinance, all proceedings in the action or in the appeal or in both the action and the appeal shall be stayed for a period of not less than 14 days. Even however if this Memorandum did not come so late, I would have ordered that this statutory stay be lifted in view of the fact of this case. There is simply no basis at all as to how the legal aid application could assist the respondent.”
The asylum seeker had no lawyer and LAD was intervening to assist him.
Take note that ISS-HK did not stand up for the refugee and cut off rent assistance to him for one room.
Again ISS-HK being on the landlords side.
Also the court was on the landlord’s side preventing justice to be seen and to be done on behalf of an indigent refugee and his wife.
The court has once again failed refugees.
This is another travesty of justice.
Hong Kong Government and Contractor ISS-HK refuse to pay rental assistance until Refugees find private sponsors to pay rent shortfall
Dec 12th, 2016 | Advocacy, Housing, Legal, Personal Experiences, VF Report, Welfare | Comment
All part of government scheme to deprive asylum seekers of their basic needs putting them at real, immediate and personal risk
Articles 3 and 5 HKBORO Violated by ISSHK and the Government
At a time when refugees are requesting an urgent increase in assistance because they cannot cope with rising prices in one of the most expenses cities in the world, access to government welfare is becoming more difficult. Refugees range from experienced veterans, who know how to obtain limited resources, to new arrivals, who are learning to cope with the multitude of challenges and failures of Hong Kong’s asylum sphere. In the latter group, unaccompanied, young, females often don’t enjoy a support network and might be unable to communicate in English or Chinese.
If ISS-HK cared about refugees, such women would be swiftly lodged in secure shelters to protect them from the risks and dangers of living on the streets. That wasn’t the experience of one African 24 year-old woman who escaped a trafficking ring in Fuzhou, China, to seek asylum in Hong Kong. She fears returning to her country because the criminals who tricked her into travelling overseas to work as a domestic helper would make an example of her as a warning to other women who dared to escape.
After filing a protection claim with the Immigration Department in July 2016, Elisa has been unable to rent a room for five months because the rental assistance was insufficient and her ISS-HK caseworker failed to identify and prioritize her vulnerability. With the help of a more experience refugee, she signed a tenancy agreement for a small 4500$ room in Sham Shui Po. Elisa would be responsible for half the rent and she relied upon ISS-HK to pay the landlord 1500$ as customary.
For the past ten years, refugees in need of rent assistance were required to identify a room/flat, negotiate the rent, possibly shared with others, and produce to ISS-HK a signed tenancy agreement, landlord identification, bank details and proof of ownership (to avoid unauthorized structures). Despite not speaking English, Elisa understood the requirements and adeptly met these conditions before approaching her caseworker with what she thought was a done deal. She was wrong.
Instead of praising Elisa’s success following five months of homelessness, her casework threw another challenge at her by demanding she find a “Rent Guarantor” to shoulder the surplus – or else there would be no rent assistance at all! The impediment was such that Elisa risked losing the room she secured with great difficulty and the security deposit already paid to the landlord.
For reason that Elisa does not speak English, her ISS-HK caseworker placed a phone call to a refugee friend of hers to press the demand for a Rent Guarantor. The ISS-HK officer (name withheld) warned that if Elisa failed to find a private sponsor, then the basic 1500$ in rental assistance would be denied, despite Elisa being a young and vulnerable female victim of human trafficking.
Vision First wonders if the caseworker’s conduct was lawful, although it was morally reprehensible and shameful.
Here the the transcript of the phone conversation the ISS-HK caseworker made at 10:56 am on 7 December 2016:
Caseworker: Hello … ISS officer … yesterday I explained to you she needs to write a letter saying who is helping her with the extra rent …
Friend: Yeah, I asked her. She says about that one, she don’t know … (how to get a rent guarantor)
Caseworker: How about the other people (roommate)? Do they know who is helping with the extra money (rent surplus)?
Friend: She don’t know anything about that one …
Jesse Wong: So she has to ask the roommate, right?
Friend: She needs to ask the roommate … since last night I cannot reach him, so that is the problem.
Caseworker: Because without the letter I … the case cannot be transferred to Kwun Tong (ISS-HK branch for Sham Shui Po where Elisa rented a room) … And we cannot pay money!
Friend: OK, so in this case we need to call you later when we get the guy … we need to understand the case first. At the moment she cannot write any letter as she don’t know anything about that (how to get rent guarantor).
Caseworker: … like this la … because I can only transfer the case after she writes the letter … so if you cannot find any friend, anyone to write the letter then the case is stuck and (ISS-HK) cannot pay money … you understand right?
Caseworker OK, so please tell her and the roommate to try to find anyone who can help her with the extra money … and then you call me back, OK?
Friend: OK, so I will talk to her
Caseworker: Yeah, yeah and then if she can find another friend, the she can come to Prince Edward (ISS-HK branch) to write the letter again, OK?
Vision First is outraged that ISS-HK is blatantly demanding that vulnerable refugees “find anyone who can help with the extra rent money” as a precondition to release the government assistance that the refugee community desperately relies upon.
Like many others, Elisa is a displaced refugee unfamiliar with Hong Kong and has no resident friends. It is shameful that the contractor of the Social Welfare Department presumes that Elisa can raise money for rent when she has no money, has no support network and is barred from working under threat of 15 to 22 months imprisonment.
It is highly regrettable that Elisa escaped trafficking in China only to be abused by the welfare system in Hong Kong. Here is a link to Vision First’s letter of 23 November 2016 to the Security Bureau on the disturbing problem of “Rent Guarantors”. We have a legal and moral obligation to treat refugees with respect and clearly certain caseworkers at ISS-HK fail abysmally in this respect.
Link to Audio Recording between a refugee and ISS-HK caseworker
Asylum seekers in Hong Kong forced onto the streets over demand they find rent guarantor
Dec 12th, 2016 | Government, Housing, Legal, Media, Personal Experiences, Welfare | Comment