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November 2016 Newsletter

Dear Friends

As we draw towards the end of 2016, we reflect on the achievements and challenges we have overcome over the past year, and look forward to what lies ahead in 2017.

With your support, we were able to offer intense and individual assistance to 122 refugees for their protection claims in the USM (Unified Screening Mechanism - the system through which protection claims are processed). We are pleased that of the 20 who have received decisions so far, 14 have been successful! As a result, they are now awaiting resettlement to a third country - a process which can also take many years - where they will eventually be able to rebuild their lives in safety.
We continue to support those who have yet to receive an outcome on their protection claim. 
Without vital legal and psychosocial support from Justice Centre, refugees have a 0.6% chance of their protection claim being accepted. This is why our advocacy is so important in ensuring that refugees who have suffered persecution, torture and other human rights violations have access to justice.

A highlight of our advocacy work in the area of human trafficking and forced labour this year has been the launch of our report “Coming Clean” - providing evidence-based research as to the extent of human trafficking and forced labour amongst migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong. The findings from the report have been used in our subsequent advocacy work as well as by the wider civil society community to push for legislative and policy changes in Hong Kong.

There are a number of things you can do to support or get involved in our work which are highlighted in this month’s newsletter:

  1. Join our unmissable Comedy Night with Vivek Mahbubani on the evening of December 6 - just a few tickets remaining! 

  2. Find out about our Young Advocates Programme 

  3. Spread the word about volunteer opportunities in our Protection Claimant Services team 

Your support will enable us to continue to provide essential legal and psychosocial assistance to the most vulnerable people seeking protection and to advocate for the rights of forced migrants in Hong Kong.

In early 2017 we will be moving from our centre in Sai Ying Pun due to crippling rent hikes in the neighbourhood.This move will enable us to continue to deliver our services and work to a excellent standard and in an environment that is comfortable and welcoming for the people we work with. We will update you with our new contact details in the new year!

Have a wonderful start to the festive season - enjoy being with your loved ones in the freedom and safety we so often take for granted.


Piya and the Justice Centre team

Quick links

Highlights in November

Justice Centre in the News

Upcoming Events

What You Can Do

Job Vacancies


Public talk with Amanda Weston 

On November 24, we held a joint event event with Centre for Comparative and Public Law, HKU. UK barrister Amanda Weston spoke at Hong Kong University about detention of asylum seekers in the UK lessons learnt for Governments in ensuring efficiency in the determination process without undermining fair treatment, procedural fairness and human rights of those seeking protection. This talk was the fourth in our series on comparative refugee law.

The CIS Free Clinic 

A free clinic day for organisations that work with underprivileged groups was held on November 12 with Dr Lauren Bramley & Partners Hong Kong, organised by students of the Chinese International School. Some of our service-users (12 adults and 13 children) were able to see a doctor through The CIS Free Clinic and receive vital medicines for free, thanks to the dedication and generosity of Dr Lauren Bramley, her colleagues and the students of CIS. Thank you to all involved!

#SharedPasts at Clifford Chance

In November, our #SharedPasts refugee story-telling project was exhibited over several weeks at Clifford Chance, one of our pro bono partners. Spread over three floors, the exhibition enabled legal and non-legal Clifford Chance employees to learn about the stories of refugees past and present seeking protection in Hong Kong, including some assisted by pro bono lawyers at the firm.
UN Support for Victims of Torture

We are pleased that the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture will be supporting our work in 2017 to provide essential rehabilitation services to people seeking protection in Hong Kong on account of the torture they were subject to in their countries of origin. Under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), torture victims have a right to full redress, reparation and remedy, and our legal and psychosocial services are an essential part of this provision, particularly as the Hong Kong Government is not fulfilling its obligation under CAT to ensure this.

Celeste and her two children have had their protection claim accepted, thanks to support from Justice Centre and funding from Operation Santa Claus. Celeste spoke to SCMP about how she strives to give herself and her children a better life despite discrimination in Hong Kong.

She recalls, “When I came new, I didn’t know that I was sick. I didn’t talk to anybody. I [kept everything] to myself and thought I did not need to talk my problems.” She was assessed and found to be suffering anxiety and depression, but has recovered. Celeste is now seeking to give her two children better education and a better life.

Jade Anderson, anti-human trafficking coordinator and co-author of our report Coming Clean, spoke to The New York Times about the legal protections for domestic workers compared to other places in Asia:

“Being the best amongst a series of poor choices doesn’t say much for Hong Kong.”

Victoria Wisniewski Otero, our Advocacy and Campaigns Manager was quoted in Hong Kong Free Press regarding a proposed LegCo motion to “stop bogus refugees”:

“Charged and inaccurate language like ‘bogus refugees’ is wholly unacceptable and should not have any place in policy-making. This kind of rhetoric may only increase public misunderstanding, negative stereotyping and xenophobia.
Comedy Night with Vivek Mahbubani on December 8

Don't miss out on the opportunity to see the award-winning Vivek Mahbubani perform at La Viola on December 8

Enjoy drinks, canapes and laughs whilst raising much needed funds to support our work to support refugees, and victims of torture, human trafficking and forced labour in Hong Kong.

Date:Thursday December 8, 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Venue: La Viola Restaurant and Bar, Second Street, Sai Ying Pun

Tickets are HK$520.25 (incl. handling) and are available here.

Be a Young Advocate!

Applications for our Young Advocates Programme 2017 are now open for high school students aged 14-18 years old. The programme is ideal for students who are interested in subjects like law, human rights, social policy or politics and are exploring future study options. Go to or email to request an information pack and sign up to attend one of our open evenings on December 7 and 12.
Volunteer with us

We have multiple volunteer opportunities for legal case-workers and administration support.  These roles offer an opportunity to gain experience of client facing legal work under close supervision from our expert team of refugee lawyers; the chance to learn more about refugees in Hong Kong, and to contribute to rewarding human rights work.

Please check out our Volunteer page for more details about each role and how to apply. Closing dates are coming up soon, so please help us spread the word!


We currently have exciting opportunities for Protection Claimant Services Coordinator and a Protection Claimant Services Legal Caseworker in our Protection Claimant Services team. Please spread the word in your networks!
Copyright © 2016, Justice Centre Hong Kong Ltd, All rights reserved.
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Contact us
Justice Centre Hong Kong
18/F, 202 Centre
202-204 Des Voeux Road West
Sai Ying Pun
Hong Kong

Telephone: (+852) 3109 7359

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Justice Centre Hong Kong Ltd. · Justice Centre Hong Kong · 1st Floor, Eaton House, 380 Nathan Road, · Kowloon · Hong Kong