Resources資源

Who is a Refugee?

A refugee is some one who has fled their country due to persecution due to race, religion, social group or political opinions. Refugees may be at risk of unfair imprisonment, torture, death or slavery from their country of origin.

The United Nations define refugees as “person who, owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.”

http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/pdf/refugees.pdf

 

Who is an Asylum Seeker?

An asylum seeker is someone who is looking to claim refugee status, but whose status as a refugee has not yet been verified. An asylum seeker is someone who is looking for refugee status due to conflict or persecution from his or her country of origin.

 

Who is a Stateless Person?

A stateless person is a person who is not considered as a national under their state. A stateless person can be granted refugee status, however being a stateless person does not necessarily mean you are a refugee.

A stateless person is expected to conform to the laws of their place of residence and are given appropriate help and support, however a stateless person with refugee status is already privy to the rights from the refugee convention and cannot benefit from the rights of the stateless person convention.

http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/pdf/stateless.pdf

 

What is the UN Refugee Convention? 

The 1951 Convention:

UN policy towards refugees was defined in the 1951 Convention; the convention defines who is a refugee, their rights and the legal obligation of the state towards refugees.

The UN Policy states that a refugee is someone who is looking for asylum from persecution due to race, religion, nationality or their membership of a social or political group. A refugee can expect help, safety and asylum from countries that have signed and agreed to the terms of the 1951 convention.

http://www.unhcr.org/3b66c2aa10.html

 

The 1957 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees in terms of the 1951 Convention:

The 1967 protocol removed the deadline and geographical restrictions from the 1951 Convention as the convention’s policies were only relevant to people suffering from events before 1951. With the consideration that new circumstances have arisen that create refugees the 1967 protocol was introduced, re-establishing the terms of the 1951 convention to apply to people suffering from events extending 1951.

http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/pdf/protocolrefugees.pdf

 

Convention relating to the Status of Refugees – signatory states:

A list concerning the status of state parties that are a part of either the 1954 Convention or the 1967 Protocol.

http://www.unhcr.org/protect/PROTECTION/3b73b0d63.pdf

 

UNHCR Activity:

For anyone interested in learning more about UNHCR action in recent events the UNHCR regularly releases papers and articles regarding their activity around the world.

http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/alerts.html

 

What is the responsibility of a state regarding asylum seekers who fear torture?
The 1987 Convention against Torture (CAT):

The legal definition of torture and a description of UN attitude towards torture. Outlining that a responsibility of a state is to prevent acts of torture and to ensure that refugees are not sent back to a place where they are being tortured.

Article 1 – (edited) the term “torture” means any act by which severe pain, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person to obtain information or a confession, to punish him for an act he has committed or is suspected of having committed, or to intimidate him for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain is inflicted by a public official.

http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/pdf/cat.pdf

 

Convention Against Torture in Hong Kong

China signed the CAT, acknowledging in 1997 that the effects of CAT policies also apply to Hong Kong, meaning that Hong Kong has a responsibility not to send claimants back to a country where they are being tortured.

Note 6 – On 10 June 1997, the Secretary-General received communications concerning the status of Hong Kong from the Governments of China and the United. Upon resuming the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong, China notified the Secretary-General that the Convention with the reservation made by China will also apply to the Hong Kong special Administrative Region

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights – China & Hong Kong

Despite this responsibility there are 6 730 pending torture claims and only on recorded successful case. Because Hong Kong did not sign the Refugee Convention they have no responsibility to provide asylum or the rights outlined in the convention, so even if an applicant is proven to have fled to Hong Kong because of torture the SAR doesn’t not offer citizenship to refugees and it’s Immigration Department doesn’t always have the ability to transfer refugees to other countries.

http://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/MTDSG/Volume%20I/Chapter%20IV/IV-9.en.pdf

 

What is the situation for refugees in Hong Kong? 

There is no refugee law in Hong Kong meaning that refugees are left without any adequate safeguards against deportation or detention, have no legal protection or access to legal representation. Also, there is no financial support or adequate access to health care.

Hong Kong has not signed the Refugee Convention, meaning that the process of confirming the refugee status of asylum seekers in Hong Kong is often long, arduous and uneventful.

The Hong Kong government maintains a “firm policy not to grant asylum” According to the Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor, “There is no law or policy in Hong Kong offering protected status for refugees or asylum seekers. Neither the Immigration Ordinance nor immigration guidelines provide for any different treatment for asylum seekers or refugees from other persons seeking entry to Hong Kong. The Government does not have a [refugee determination procedure] but instead relies on the UNHCR’s Hong Kong sub-office to process asylum applications. The UNHCR communicates its decision on the status of the asylum seeker to the Director of Immigration, who has unfettered discretion to decide whether or not to abide by the decision or choose to ignore it in making its immigration decision”.

Asylum seekers are generally treated as unauthorized immigrants in Hong Kong, they are vulnerable to detention and deportation. According to the Hong Kong Human Rights Commission, asylum seekers “are denied access to health care, education, welfare, and housing, and are furthermore subject to detention. … If they approach the Immigration Department to extend visas or get recognizance they are often rejected and will be asked to leave Hong Kong”

 

What are the rights of refugees in Hong Kong?

Currently there is no refugee law in Hong Kong thus refugees have no access to legal protection or representation, medication or education. Refugees in Hong Kong don’t have the right to work and no financial support thus no way to secure housing due to the incredible prices of housing in Hong Kong.

 

Lack of Education

Asylum seeker children are not eligible to study in the public schools in Hong Kong given their legal status, this is a problem as the majority of asylum seekers do not get affirmed refugee status for as long as one to five years. The Government does not recognize the right to education of children migrants and there is in lack of a clear policy or guidelines to offer school placements to these children.

 

Lack of Housing

The lack of any policies to deal with the various problems met by asylum seekers means that government does not support asylum seekers in any way. Social security or special funds are not available. With no financial support in addition to not legally being allowed to work many asylum seekers are homeless, living on the street. There are no hostels that accept asylum seekers because of their lack of any Hong Kong Identity Cards. At the same time, because the government does not recognize the status of asylum seekers, staying illegally in Hong Kong means that many are in detention while waiting for their status determination by UNHCR. In a specific case, a Pakistani asylum seeker spent two years in administrative detention before being granted refugee status.

 

Lack of Medical Care

The new hospital policy means that asylum seekers without valid travel documents cannot get equal access to hospital services and that they may be detained. In the past all asylum seekers and refugees could gain access to medical treatment in Hong Kong government public hospitals when they could show a referral letter from the UNHCR and that they were asylum seekers or refugees.


No Work

Asylum seekers are not legally allowed to work in Hong Kong, as most of them are illegally staying in Hong Kong or have visitor’s visas. Refugees thus don’t have any social security or the permission to work, and are left without any means of supporting themselves or their family.

 

Statistics

According to government statistics, in 2007, more than 5,000 people were arrested on charges related to illegal immigration—3,007 immigrants from Mainland China, and 2,041 Vietnamese illegal immigrants and other non-ethnic Chinese illegal immigrants. However, the Immigration Department reports that during 2007-2008, it detained 12,374 people and arrested 11,937. In addition, during this period the department prosecuted 11,316 people, repatriated 13,404, removed 451, and 727 deported.

On 18 July 2008, the government reported that 387 persons were in immigration detention, 139 of whom were torture claimants. This compares to the single-day total of 23,203  illegal Vietnamese immigrants held in detention camps as of 1 April 1993.

As of mid-2009, Hong Kong Regulations listed 20 immigration detention sites. The Global Detention Project confirmed that only 12 sites qualified as in use sites.

As May 2012 there are in Hong Kong: 5,800 CAT claimants, 680 UNHCR asylum-seekers and 154 UNHCR recognized refugees.

Out of over 11,000 CAT claims received since 2004, only one Srilankan male had his case accepted in May 2008.

The current UNHCR refugee recognition rate (RRR) is less than 3%

The current CAT success rate is a staggering 1 to 11,000 …

 

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights – China & Hong Kong

A list of human rights related activity in China and Hong Kong.

 

The 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness

The convention describes the circumstances in how and when a stateless individual can be granted a nationality.

 

The 1976 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

A list of the human rights that are available and accessible to every human being on the planet.

Article 1 – All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely
determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

To learn more about UNHCR policy towards providing refugee status and the rights or refugees you can refer to -


UNHCR Self Study Modules

Self-Study Module – Resettlement Learning Programme
Self-Study Module – An Introduction to International Protection
Self-Study Module – Refugee Status Determination: identifying who is a refugee
Self-Study Module – Interpreting in a Refugee Context
Self-Study Module – Human Rights and Refugee Protection (Vol. I)

 

Movies

The Lost Boy’s of Sudan

The Lost Boys of Sudan is a film documentary following the stories of groups of over 20 000 boys of Nuer and Dinka ethnic groups who were displaced by the Second Sudanese Civil War.

Part 1 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndg6kxCNFPQ

Part 2 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwuUfkGB2c4

Part 3 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4J4h4ILR-Y

Part 4 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XR440ekoSLk

 

Johnny Mad Dog 

Based on the novel Johnny Chien Mechant, the film follows a group of child soldiers fighting in 2003, towards the end of the second Liberian Civil War. The actors are mostly aged 10 to 15, all unknowns when cast; some were themselves child soldiers. The film follows their march towards the capital Monrovia, and follows them in a gritty realistic manner as they move though a series of towns and villages where they terrify and often execute the populace.

Part 1 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4Ds0SpvrTU

Part 2 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HZ5EDvkRAw

Part 3 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRRY2IJbMUI

Part 4 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBz_kl58EjQ

Part 5 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9D4dBea2IY

 

The Devil Came on Horseback

A documentary that exposes the genocide raging in Darfur, Sudan as seen through the eyes of a former U.S. marine who returns home to make the story public. As an official military observer Steidle has access to parts of the country that journalists don’t, showing the viewer a more intimate view of Darfur, Sudan.

http://stagevu.com/video/gdwsfvbwgtwa

 

Sergio

A look at the life and work of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Sergio Vieira de Mello, and the rescue operation when he was trapped and injured by a bomb explosion at UN headquarters in Baghdad.

http://www.putlocker.com/file/997EF270482B7350

 

War Child

Emmanuel Jal returns to Sudan where he served as a child soldier.

http://stagevu.com/video/dmmdgqjatbvk

 

War Dance 

The children live in a displacement camp in northern Uganda and compete in their country’s national music and dance festival.

http://www.novamov.com/video/iifp4bxo8cg19

 

Truth Talking: Rebuilding Hope 

The journey of a community in rebuilding their home after an earthquake

Part 1 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FF6lCBO2kqo

Part 2 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIQ1amJwe9M

Part 3 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VieI1pLmw-g

Part 4 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-EIMPn2kWA

 

The Buddha Collapsed out of Shame 

The story takes place in modern Afghanistan following the removal of the Taliban and revolves around a 5-year-old Afghan girl who wants to attend a newly opened school. The girl Bakhtay, lives in the caves under the remains of the Buddhas of Bamyan which were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. Bakhtay becomes obsessed with the idea of going to school but must fight against a society influenced by conditions suffered during the strict Taliban rule including male domination, war, poverty and dire children’s games.

Part 1 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAGd9BSWdvQ

Part 2 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84zqhnaMA3g

Part 3 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVGxpIGgQWw

Part 4 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHKw96Sp97g

Part 5 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jrz7hDb4Xb4

Part 6 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0C-b9bjq2Uc

Part 7 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PU8WCu9hq98

Part 8 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cMCwCCTju8

 

The Kite Runner 

It tells the story of Amir, a well-to-do boy from the Wazir Akbar Khan district of Kabul, who is tormented by the guilt of abandoning his friend Hassan, the son of his father’s Hazara servant. The story is set against a backdrop of tumultuous events, from the fall of the monarchy in Afghanistan through the Soviet invasion, the mass exodus of Afghan refugees to Pakistan and the United States, and the Taliban regime.

http://www.putlocker.com/file/8U1BV8ZHDVK0WGO

 

The Visitor 

A college professor travels the New York City to attend a conference and finds a young couple living in his apartment.

http://www.putlocker.com/file/D50F3462F00EB1E0

 

I am Slave 

Based on the real life experiences of Mende Nazer the story follows Malia’s experiences as she is abducted from her Sudanese village and sold into slavery to a woman in Khartoum.

http://www.putlocker.com/file/B03E53DA8A87961A

 

UN convention

The 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/pdf/refugees.pdf

Article 1 – (edited) the term “refugee” applies to any person who, owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.

The 1957 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/pdf/protocolrefugees.pdf

UNHCR notifications of papers, guidelines and related issues.
http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/alerts.html

Convention relating to the Status of Refugees – signatory states
http://www.unhcr.org/protect/PROTECTION/3b73b0d63.pdf

 

The 1987 Convention against Torture (CAT)
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/pdf/cat.pdf

Article 1 – (edited) the term “torture” means any act by which severe pain, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person to obtain information or a confession, to punish him for an act he has committed or is suspected of having committed, or to intimidate him for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain is inflicted by a public official.

Convention against Torture – signatory states
http://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/MTDSG/Volume%20I/Chapter%20IV/IV-9.en.pdf

Note 6 – On 10 June 1997, the Secretary-General received communications concerning the status of Hong Kong from the Governments of China and the United. Upon resuming the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong, China notified the Secretary-General that the Convention with the reservation made by China will also apply to the Hong Kong special Administrative Region

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights – China & Hong Kong
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/CNIndex.aspx

 

The 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/pdf/stateless.pdf

The 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/pdf/statelessness.pdf

The 1976 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/pdf/ccpr.pdf

Article 1 – All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely
determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/cescr.htm

 

UNHCR Self Study Modules
Self-Study Module – Resettlement Learning Programme
Self-Study Module – An Introduction to International Protection
Self-Study Module – Refugee Status Determination: identifying who is a refugee
Self-Study Module – Interpreting in a Refugee Context
Self-Study Module – Human Rights and Refugee Protection (Vol. I)