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Dear friends,

Happy International Women’s Day! The theme this year is Be Bold For Change, calling on all to work towards a more gender inclusive world. I think it is also important on this day to celebrate the many strong refugee women that come through our doors on a weekly basis, whose unique experiences are often forgotten or overlooked. These are women like any other - they might be professionals or students, mothers, sisters or daughters. They are ordinary women who overcome extraordinary circumstances in pursuit of safety and hope; in pursuit of peace.

Hong Kong continues to have one of the lowest rates of non-refoulement protection acceptance in the developed world. We are working hard to expand our legal services, both for our clients and for the legal community, to provide greater access to justice for the most vulnerable refugees. You can read more below about our new legal outreach clinics, our upcoming legal trainings and our new ‘USM Legal Group’ for lawyers representing protection claimants. Seeking protection through the Unified Screening Mechanism (USM) is arduous and distressing, complicated even further by the unfortunate rhetoric and anti-refugee policies arising worldwide. Thank you for joining us in standing up against this rhetoric, standing with refugees in Hong Kong and around the world, and particularly standing with refugee women today.

Please use your voices and platforms to share their stories, dispel myths and share messages of support. Together we can Be Bold for Change and work towards fairer and more inclusive policies towards refugees in Hong Kong.

Warmly,

Piya Muqit
Executive Director




We have a new home! We are up and running at our new offices, based primarily at The Good Lab, in Cheung Sha Wan, where we have a private space. Check out our website for more information on our new locations.


Quick links

Highlights in February

Upcoming Events

Farewell, Richard and Betsey

What You Can Do


Vacancies

FEBRUARY HIGHLIGHTS

New Legal Outreach Clinics

We are excited to launch our new legal outreach clinics, bringing our legal expertise to protection claimants who have not yet accessed our services. Thank you to our community partners, Christian Action's Centre for Refugees and VCSL, who will host these clinics twice a month. Our first session was last Friday at Christian Action where we met 11 protection claimants.

If you are a USM protection claimant who would like to attend our legal clinics, please call or whatsapp us on 6575 8245 to make an appointment or contact your caseworker at Christian Action or VCSL. To find future clinic dates, click here.
Representing Refugee Children

"The lack of child-specific policies in Hong Kong for refugee children is a source of real concern, and probably unlawful. More must be done," said our Executive Director, Piya Muqit, at our seminar on 'Representing Refugee Children' on February 17.

The audience learned about the unique challenges of representing children within the Unified Screening Mechanism (USM) and the importance of a child-centred approach in ensuring procedural fairness. We had a full house, a very diverse audience and a good discussion!


 
Community Business Event

On February 28, we were at Community Business’ Responsible Business Network meeting. Our Legal Officer, Lynette Nam, set out what businesses need to know about refugees in Hong Kong, followed by some great discussions with the group. The audience also included refugee advocates who shared their experiences and insights. Thanks to Community Business for having us and to Freshfields for hosting.  
Thank you, Renaissance College!

We are so grateful to the wonderful Year 4 students of Renaissance College who organised a Market Day to raise funds for our lifesaving work with vulnerable forced migrants. The students worked hard to make items that they could sell at the event and raised almost $9000!

Thank you Year 4s for your incredible effort and support! (Photo credit: Kelly Yuen, Renaissance College)
Legal Training
 
Are you a pro bono lawyer at one of our partner firms? Sign up to attend one of our legal trainings, designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to provide legal support to protection claimants in Hong Kong. We conduct these intensive trainings twice a year. More details are below. Contact Lynette Nam at lynette@justicecentre.org.hk or your pro bono coordinator for further information. Last chance to RSVP by Friday, March 10.

If you are not with one of our partner firms but would like to attend this training, please contact Melanie McLaren at melanie@justicecentre.org.hk.

Part I (Human Rights & Refugee Law) Training
Date and time: Saturday, 18 March 2017, 9am-5pm

Part I covers the relevant international and domestic human rights law that apply to Hong Kong to protect refugees and victims of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. (6 CPD points available; total CLE TBC).
 

Part II (Protection in Practice) Training
Date and time: Sunday, 19 March 2017, 9am-2pm

Part II provides an overview of the procedure and prepares pro bono lawyers to take on client facing work with victims of trauma. Lawyers will be trained on the practical aspects of taking testimony and preparing supporting documentation, and briefed on how to recognize and deal with manifestations of trauma. (Total CPD and CLE points TBC). Completion of Part I is recommended, prior to attending Part II.

We are sad to say goodbye to one of our favourite couples, Richard and Betsey Hawkins, who will be leaving Hong Kong for Saudi Arabia. Richard is one of our most longstanding pro bono lawyers, having engaged with us for almost 7 years, and provided valuable legal support to many of our clients. Betsey is a former volunteer who ran our Voices for Protection refugee advocacy traineeship (and who makes the world’s best brownies, voted unanimously by our team!).

Richard and Betsey, thank you for your dedicated support over the years. We will miss you! Best of luck in your next adventure!

Join our NEW 'USM Legal Group'

Calling all lawyers who undertake protection claimant work in Hong Kong! We will be creating a (free) group mailing list to provide an opportunity for participants to rapidly ask questions amongst like-minded lawyers, share best practice, update each other on legal and country developments, and provide mutual support, collaboration and guidance. Our experienced legal team will also periodically circulate information via the group to support your work, such as updates on upcoming seminars, updated Country of Origin memos, summaries on key cases, and other research relating to the USM.

If you are a lawyer representing protection claimants in the USM, and would like to participate in the USM Legal Group, please contact Isaac Shaffer at isaac@justicecentre.org.hk.
We currently have numerous exciting opportunities to work with our team. Check out our website for information on working and volunteering with us!
Now, more than ever, we need your help. Please support our work today.
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Justice Centre Hong Kong
L1, The Sparkle
500 Tung Chau Street
West Kowloon
Hong Kong

Telephone: (+852) 3109 7359
Email: info@justicecentre.org.hk






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