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STOP DISCRIMINATION: COMMUNITY CALLS FOR CALM ON REFUGEE DEBATE

11 Apr

STOP DISCRIMINATION: COMMUNITY CALLS FOR CALM ON REFUGEE DEBATE

We, the undersigned individuals and organizations, are increasingly concerned that recent inaccurate and irresponsible comments made regarding the refugee issue in Hong Kong are divisive and inflammatory. These comments are fueling a climate of fear and hostility towards both refugees and ethnic minorities alike, and run the risk of fracturing Hong Kong’s diverse and vibrant community. If negative stereotyping and hostile attitudes are repeatedly placed in the public eye in this way, xenophobia and discrimination against both refugees and ethnic minorities will continue to increase.

For this reason we cannot in good conscience allow this to continue – it is undermining Hong Kong’s social harmony. Instead, care must be taken not to exaggerate the refugee situation, nor to legitimize any form of discrimination. In shared concern, we are joined together to send out a call for calm. The politics of fear do not belong in Hong Kong. It is time for a sober and more reasoned approach.

We acknowledge that concerns have been raised following an increase in the number of protection claimants in Hong Kong and apparent abuses of the system. These concerns must be listened to, but matters must be kept in perspective, and international law should be upheld. In fact, Hong Kong actually has low levels of refugees. There is nothing remotely like a crisis and there is no need to search for dramatic measures – instead we must face up to the need to reduce delays, and to address the obvious inefficiencies in the Unified Screening Mechanism (‘USM’) system. These are complex problems, and so require nuanced approaches as well as constructive and informed dialogue, rather than resorting to divisions and blame.

Some of the proposals that have been put forward – such as Hong Kong’s withdrawal from UN Convention Against Torture (‘UNCAT’) or closed detention camps – are ill-advised, disproportionate and rash; and some are in breach of international law. Not only would withdrawal from UNCAT fail to address the concerns raised about the refugee situation, but it would roll back the rights and protections of every resident of Hong Kong against being tortured, or exposed to other abuse. This would affect us all, and we should therefore resolutely defend the continued respect for international law. At present, Hong Kong rightly enjoys a reputation as a responsible and valued member of the modern international community. But withdrawal from UNCAT would be an embarrassing step backwards for a forward-looking city. Put simply, Hong Kong is better than this.

Equally, the mass detention of those seeking sanctuary is a draconian measure and which may violate principals of international law. It cannot be the answer. Not only would it be an expensive use of public funds and an extreme overreaction, it would merely warehouse the issue, and likely cause significant harm to those who are already highly vulnerable. There are plenty of international examples to highlight the failures and problems of detention. The UNHCR have repeatedly expressed their concern over the detention of people seeking international protection.  

We are therefore now calling upon all parties, including the Hong Kong Government, to work together collaboratively in ensuring that a message goes out that is loud and clear – discrimination has no place in our society. We must not allow fear-mongering and short-sighted politics to erode human rights and the rule of law in Hong Kong. We can no longer be complacent about the negative portrayal of ethnic minorities and refugees.

 

List of Signatories (In alphabetical order):

Organizations and Parties

    1. 617 Citizen Charter 六一七民間約章
    2. Act Voice 精算思政
    3. Action Q 大專同志行動
    4. African Community of Hong Kong
    5. Amnesty International Hong Kong 國際特赦組織香港分會
    6. Amnesty International Club @ HKU
    7. Artists Action 藝界起動
    8. Asian Migrants Coordinating Body AMCB
    9. Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants
    10. Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network 亞太地區難民權利組織
    11. Association concerning sexual violence against women 關注婦女性暴力協會
    12. Basel Mission Hong Kong
    13. Cameroon Solidarity Union HK
    14. Centre for Comparative and Public Law (CCPL), Faculty of Law, HKU
    15. Chosen Power (People First Hong Kong) 卓新力量
    16. Christian Action 基督教勵行會
    17. Church Refugee Ministry
    18. City Concern of Christians Fellowship 基督徒社關團契
    19. Civil Human Rights Front 民間人權陣線
    20. Civic Party 公民黨
    21. Cultural Outings 文化交遊
    22. Comma Press
    23. Daly & Associates 帝理律師行
    24. Filguys Association Hong Kong
    25. Free to Run
    26. Frontline Tech Workers 前線科技人員
    27. Franciscan Order Hong Kong JPIC Group 方濟會正義和平組
    28. Friends of Conscience 良心之友
    29. Football for Life Charity
    30. Global Youth Connect
    31. Grassroot Cultural Centre
    32. Health in Action 醫護行者
    33. Helpers for Domestic Helpers
    34. Hong Kong Buildings Management and Security Workers General Union 香港物業管理及保安職工總會
    35. Hong Kong Christian Institute 香港基督徒學會
    36. Hong Kong Christian Council Justice and Social Concern Committee 香港基督教協進會社會公義與民生關注委員會
    37. Hong Kong Christian Service 香港基督教服務處
    38. Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions 香港職工會聯盟
    39. Hong Kong Federation of Asian Domestic Workers Unions 香港亞洲家務工工會聯會
    40. Hong Kong Federation of Women’s Centres 香港婦女中心協會
    41. Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor 香港人權監察
    42. Hong Kong Labour Party 工黨
    43. Hong Kong Policy Viewers 香港政策透視
    44. Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union 香港教育專業人員協會
    45. Hong Kong Psychologists Concern 良心理政  
    46. Hong Kong Social Workers’ General Union 香港社會工作者總工會
    47. Hong Kong Unison 香港融樂會
    48. Hong Kong Women Workers’ Association 香港婦女勞工協會
    49. Hiu Lai Campaigning 曉麗關注Plus
    50. Inter-Agency Forum, Members of
    51. Interfaith Cooperation Forum
    52. International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims
    53. The Italian Women’s Association
    54. IT Voice IT 呼聲
    55. Justice and Peace Commission of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese 香港天主教正義和平委員會
    56. Justice Centre Hong Kong
    57. KELY Support Group 啟勵扶青會
    58. Kowloon Union Church 九龍佑寧堂
    59. Labour Party 工黨
    60. League in Defense of Hong Kong’s Freedoms 保衛香港自由聯盟
    61. League of Social Democrats 社會民主連線
    62. Left 21 左翼21
    63. Love and Peace Ministry 仁愛和平事工
    64. Methodist International Church 循道衛理會國際禮拜堂
    65. Mission for Migrant Workers
    66. Mission to New Arrivals Ltd 新福事工協會
    67. One Body in Christ 基督眾樂教會
    68. Open Door 家.傭同行
    69. PIME Missionaries Social Concern Group
    70. Pink Alliance 粉紅同盟
    71. Progressive Lawyers Group 法政匯思
    72. Progressive Teachers’ Alliance 進步教師聯盟
    73. Queer Theology Academy 性神學社
    74. Reclaiming Social Work Movement 社工復興運動
    75. Refugee Concern Network 關注難民網絡
    76. Right of Abode University 居留權大學
    77. RiverGrace International Christian Fellowship
    78. Social Justice Alliance
    79. Society for Community Organization 香港社區組織協會
    80. Society of St. Vincent De Paul, St. Teresa’s Parish Conference 聖德肋撒堂聖雲先會
    81. Solomon’s Porch
    82. Special educational needs rights Association 特殊學習需要權益聯會
    83. St Andrew’s Church 聖公會聖安德烈堂
    84. St John’s Cathedral 聖公會聖約翰座堂
    85. Thai Migrant Worker’s Union  泰國移工工會
    86. The Association for the Advancement of Feminism 新婦女協進會
    87. The Department of Anthropology, CUHK
    88. The Hong Kong Society for Asylum-seekers and Refugees 香港尋求庇護者及難民協會
    89. The India Association Hong Kong 印度協會
    90. The Italian Women’s Association
    91. The Professional Commons 公共專業聯盟
    92. The Zubain Foundation 小彬紀念基金會
    93. Transgender Resource Center 跨性別資源中心
    94. Union Church HK 香港佑寧堂
    95. Union of Nepalese Domestic Workers in Hong Kong 香港尼泊爾家務勞動者工會
    96. Umbrella Blossom 撐傘落區行動
    97. Urban Refugees
    98. Vidler & Co. Solicitors 韋智達律師行
    99. Women Coalition of HKSAR 香港女同盟會
    100. Women’s Studies Research Centre HKU
    101. World Organisation Against Torture 世界禁止酷刑組織
    102. 民生議政
    103. 黃傘街頭基督徒基層團體

 

Individuals

    1. Azan MARWAH, Barrister at Law
    2. Billy R. LEUNG, Open University of Hong Kong
    3. Bill Lay, Secretary General of Civic Party, member of Election Committee ( Social Welfare Sector) 賴仁彪, 公民黨秘書長, 選舉委員會委員(社會福利界)
    4. CHAN, Anson, former chief secretary of HKSAR
    5. CHAN Billy Shiu Yeung, Sha Tin District Council Member 陳兆陽,沙田區議員
    6. CHAN Chu Fung, Thomas, Hong Kong Community College 陳曙峰
    7. CHAN Lih Shing, Alex, Hong Kong Institute of Education 章力行
    8. CHAN M M Johannes
    9. CHAN Yee May, Hong Kong Baptist University
    10. CHEUK Ka Kin, Leiden University
    11. CHENG Tat-hung, Eastern District Council Member 鄭達鴻,東區區議員
    12. Connie KWOK, Registered Social Worker
    13. Daniel LAM 林天祐傳道
    14. Dr. Carmen TONG, Department of Sociology, HKU
    15. Dr. HO Sik Ying, Petula, Department of Social Work and Social Administration, HKU 何式凝
    16. Dr. Hon Fernando CHEUNG Chiu-hung, Legislative Councilor 立法會議員張超雄
    17. Dr Hon KWOK Ka-ki, Legislative Councilor 立法會議員郭家麒議員
    18. Dr. Barbara E. HARRELL-BOND, OBE
    19. Dr. Lisa LIM, School of English, HKU
    20. Dr. Mirana SZETO, Comparative Literature, HKU 司徒薇
    21. Earl DENG, Barrister-at-Law 鄧鈞堤大律師
    22. Farzana ASLAM, Faculty of Law, HKU
    23. Father Franco MELLA 甘浩望神父
    24. HO Wai Yip, Department of Social Sciences, Hong Kong Institute of Education 何偉業
    25. Hon Alvin YEUNG Ngok-kiu, Legislative Councilor 立法會議員楊岳橋
    26. Hon Claudia MO, Legislative Councillor 立法會議員毛孟靜
    27. Hon Charles Peter MOK, JP 立法會議員莫乃光, JP
    28. Hon CHEUNG Kwok Che, Legislative Councilor 立法會議員張國柱
    29. Hon Dennis KWOK, Legislative Councilor 立法會議員郭榮鏗
    30. Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing, JP, Legislative Councilor 立法會議員劉慧卿, JP
    31. Hon Kenneth LEUNG, Legislative Councilor 立法會議員梁繼昌
    32. Hon LEE Cheuk-yan, Legislative Councilor 立法會議員李卓人
    33. Hon LEUNG Kwok-hung, Legislative Councilor 立法會議員梁國雄
    34. Hon Albert HO Chun-yan, Legislative Councilor 立法會議員何俊仁
    35. Hon IP Kin-yuen立法會議員葉建源
    36. Jeffrey TAM, Barrister-at-Law 譚俊傑大律師
    37. Joe Y.F. LAU, Philosophy Department, HKU
    38. Jonathan MAN, Solicitor 文浩正律師
    39. Karen KONG, Faculty of Law, HKU
    40. Kelley LOPER, Faculty of Law, HKU
    41. Ken, TSANG Kin Chiu, Civic Party & Social Worker 曾健超
    42. Kevin YAM, Solicitor 任建峰律師
    43. Kim KWOK, Caritas Institute of Higher Education
    44. LAU Shu Wai Carl, Hong Kong Institute of Education 劉樹偉
    45. LEE Kim Ming, Community College City University of Hong Kong 李劍明
    46. LIONG Chan Ching, Mario, Centennial College
    47. Lisa LEUNG, Associate Professor, Department of Cultural Studies, Lingnan University
    48. LO Kai Chung, Registered Social Worker, Community College of City University
    49. LUI Ching Wu, Lake, Hong Kong Institute of Education 呂青湖
    50. Margaret NG, Barrister at Law 吳靄儀大律師
    51. Martin JONES, Lecturer in International Human Rights Law, University of York /Adjunct Professor at HKU
    52. MOK KIN SHING KUNG KONG DISTRICT COUNILLOR 莫建成,觀塘區議員
    53. NG Fung Sheung, Isabella, Hong Kong Institute of Education 伍鳳嫦
    54. Paul ZIMMERMAN, Pokfulam District Councillor 司馬文, 薄扶林區議員
    55. Philip J DYKES, Senior Counsel
    56. Professor Johannes M M CHAN
    57. Professor Noam CHOMSKY.
    58. Oscar LAI Man Lok, Demosistō 黎汶洛
    59. POON Wing-Lok, The University of Hong Kong 潘永樂
    60. Professor Gordon MATTHEWS, Department of Anthropology, CUHK
    61. Puja KAPAI, Faculty of Law, HKU
    62. Randy SHEK, Barrister-at-Law 石書銘大律師
    63. Rev. Paul CHAN 陳啟興牧師
    64. Rob CONNELLY, Barrister-at-law
    65. Robert TIBBO, Barrister at Law, Member of HK Bar Association
    66. Sarah HOWE, Poet, Harvard Fellow, (Winner of the 2016 T.S. Eliot Prize).
    67. Shaphan MARWAH, Barrister at Law
    68. SHIU Ka Chun, Lecturer, Department of Social Work, Hong Kong Baptist University 邵家臻
    69. Simon YOUNG, Faculty of Law, HKU
    70. Stephen FISHER, 余志穩
    71. Tim PARKER, Barrister-at-Law
    72. Timothy O’LEARY, Head, School of Humanities, HKU
    73. TO Ho Pong, Community College City University of Hong Kong
    74. Vivek MAHBUBANI, Award winning bi-lingual stand up comedian
    75. Wendy KWAN, Solicitor 關穎怡律師
    76. Wilson LEUNG, Barrister-at-Law 梁允信大律師
    77. WONG Wai Man, Natalie, HKUSPACE
    78. Yantl SZE, Barrister-at-Law
    79. Zachary WONG, Yuen Long District Councillor 黃偉賢,元朗區議員
    80. Zoran POPOSKI,  Hong Kong Institute of Education
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