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Dear friends,

Not long ago, we were wishing you a happy 2017 and we’re already past the Chinese New Year holidays - how time flies! I hope you and your families had a wonderful long weekend, and wish you prosperity, health and wealth for the Year of the Rooster.

The last few weeks have also seen developments that have sent shockwaves worldwide; changes that threaten to affect the safety and future of vulnerable refugees, asylum seekers and victims of torture worldwide. Yes, the Trump Administration’s controversial travel ban has been a source of concern for us and our clients too - even halfway across the world. Despite the recent suspension, the ban still affects refugees in Hong Kong (including those from the 7 listed countries) who have been successful in their protection claims and are waiting to begin the (already very stringent) vetting process of resettlement. This adds yet another devastating obstacle to a journey that is already arduous, emotional and complex - with never a guarantee of success or safety. We continue to monitor the situation, provide support to those affected and hope that justice, rule of law and compassion prevail in this difficult time. 

However, I am pleased to be able to provide you with some positive news; three of our clients, a family from East Africa, recently received positive decisions in their protection claims with the Immigration Department! You can read more details about this case below. With a less than 1% recognition rate at first instance in Hong Kong, this is no small feat, and successes like these encourage us on our mission to enable our clients to access their rights.

But it is more urgent than ever that we work together to defend the rights of vulnerable forced migrants, and we need your help. Please support us, so that we can continue to provide our lifesaving services to people seeking protection in our city and advocate for the rights of forced migrants. 

A little bit at a time, we can make a difference together.

Warmly,

Piya Muqit
Executive Director






Our new year brought with it a new home! We are now up and running in 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 January

Justice Centre in the News

Upcoming Events

What You Can Do

JANUARY HIGHLIGHTS

Success story!

We’re very pleased to announce that three clients who have benefited from intensive legal and psychosocial support from our team have received successful decisions from the Immigration Department on their protection claims! This family of three from East Africa are torture survivors and are recovering from the trauma of their experiences. Our team worked extensively with them from their arrival; taking testimonies, compiling research, preparing them for interviews, ensuring they received counselling and that their health needs were met.

Although the success rate remains at less than 1%, every case matters. We are able to achieve this significant impact – one case at a time – with the help of our diverse contributors. Thank you for making this possible.

Panel discussion on LGBTI refugees

“I just want to find a place where I am safe and free,” said 'A', a refugee in Hong Kong who is seeking protection from persecution due to his sexuality. 'A' was part of our panel discussion on January 11, entitled ‘Persecuted at home, marginalised abroad; shining the light on LGBTI refugees’.

'A' was joined by a panel of experts and activists including Sumiya Hemsi (Senior UK asylum lawyer), Justin Murgai (Manager of Humanitarian Services, Centre for Refugees) and Billy Leung (Vice-chair, Pink Alliance). Thank you to all who came and who contributed to the fantastic discussion!

Pro Bono Lunch and Learn Sessions

We’re excited to have been rolling out Lunch and Learn sessions with each of our law firm partners to present updates on refugee law and policy, and meet lawyers and staff who are interested in working with us. The support of our law firm partners is vital to what we do and we look forward to building stronger partnerships in 2017. To find out about upcoming sessions, or to learn more about pro bono opportunities, please contact your pro bono coordinator or email Lynette Nam at lynette@justicecentre.org.hk
 
Refugee Law Seminars

Thank you to all who attended our last refugee law seminar, ‘Working with Victims of Trauma: Strategies for Legal Professionals’. This session was led by our Psychosocial Programme Manager, Chloe Martin, who is an expert in trauma and trauma-based behaviours.

If you’re interested in attending future sessions, find out about our upcoming seminars.

 

Our Protection Claimant Services Manager, Isaac, spoke to the South China Morning Post about President Trump’s executive order that temporarily bans refugees for 120 days and halves the number of refugees to be resettled to the US afterwards.

Thank you to Ming Pao Weekly for featuring us in the edition on refugees in Hong Kong! The publication carried comprehensive, balanced articles and interviews with immigration officials, lawyers, refugees and frontline workers. Our staff highlighted the challenges facing our clients, many of whom are vulnerable victims of torture and persecution. Grab a copy of Ming Pao Weekly this week, or read our feature here.

In the last quarter of 2016, the Immigration Department determined about 1,000 non-refoulement claims and accepted 7 - making the success rate 0.72%. This is still significantly lower than the global average of 30%. Recently, the first Syrian refugee was successful in their protection claim. Our Protection Claimant Services Manager, Isaac, also commented in the SCMP about this development.

Refugee Law Seminars

Sign up to attend our upcoming seminars for legal professionals working with vulnerable clients.

‘Challenging Immigration Detention’

Date: Friday, 10 Feb 2017  (7:00 – 8:00)
Location: theDesk, 511 Queen’s Road West, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong
Speakers: Peter Barnes (Barrister-at-law) and Isaac Shaffer (Justice Centre Hong Kong).

‘Representing Refugee Children’

Date: 17 Feb 2017 (6:30-8:00)
Location: theDesk, 511 Queen’s Road West, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong
Speakers: Piya Muqit (Executive Director of Justice Centre Hong Kong, UK Barrister, Child Expert).

These seminars are free to attend and are open to all who are interested in the topic, but are especially useful for legal professionals representing protection claimants within the Unified Screening Mechanism (USM).

Please RSVP by emailing Isaac Shaffer at isaac@justicecentre.org.hk. Spaces are limited.

Support our work!

Whether you are running a sponsored race, organizing a fundraising event or even asking for birthday donations, please consider making a contribution towards our lifesaving work with forced migrants in Hong Kong.

Your gift will ensure that we can continue to provide legal information and support to the most vulnerable. Thank you.
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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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