Begona Blanco Munoz
Hong Kong Economic Journal
9 May 2016
Hong Kong needs to rethink its policy towards asylum seekers. People waiting for refugee status recognition for more than six months should be allowed to work, for the good of both the government and asylum seekers.
The current situation is unsustainable, and the problem could get worse amid calls to create a refugee camp off Shenzhen. If there’s a lesson that Hong Kong can learn from Europe, it is how not to treat people fleeing a conflict. Holding them at the border and trying to push them back will not only not work, it will also be morally unacceptable.
Although Hong Kong hasn’t signed the United Nations’ 1951 Refugee Convention, it wouldn’t be necessary to ratify that for the region to change the attitude towards refugees.
What kind of society thinks that it’s a solution to confine people fleeing war or torture in a closed camp? Shouldn’t Hong Kong take note of the barbaric and unsustainable situation in Europe with thousands of refugees stranded at its borders?
As if asylum seekers didn’t have enough problems with the long wait for screening and the inability to work to sustain themselves, now some legislators want to build detention camps to prevent fraudulent asylum-seeking claims.
Although it is not a signatory to the Refugee Convention, Hong Kong still has obligations under international law. As Kelley Loper, an associate professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Hong Kong, says, the principle of non-refoulment has to be respected... Click here to read the full article.