Refugees Still Trapped in 'Legal Limbo' in Hong Kong
Jan 21, 2016 04:37 AM EST
More than 10,000 desperate refugees are trapped in Hong Kong in hopes of seeking political asylum. However, a protected rule prevents them for doing so, trapping them in the country as a result. The refugees are considered to be in "legal limbo" because of certain acts that Hong Kong is involved in.
Refugees continue to be stuck in Hong Kong due to a glitch of a political rule. While Hong Kong did not sign to the 1951 Refugee Convention that establishes refugee rights and the power to grant asylums. However, Hong Kong is bound by the Convention Against Torture act, which is an international treaty that prevents the country from kicking people out when they are in risk of torture.
These acts can affect refugee claims, and can take up to a decade to settle. Not only do the refugees need to think about these acts, but they have to keep in mind that since 1992, only 31 people have gotten protection from Hong Kong.
Some of Hong Kong's refugees are from Vietnam, Indonesia, Africa and India, and live in less-fortunate areas located in slums and in farms.
"They still don't have any legal status here in Hongkong," states Victoria Wisniewski about the refugees, an advocate, in a report by AMES Australia. Wisniewski is an activist at the Justice Centre, a local NGO that fights for refugee rights.
Wisnewski added that it could be difficult for refugees to begin a life in Hong Kong since they are not treated as citizens who are entitled to benefits and employment status.
"Technically they are treated as illegal over-stayers. They have no right to work. They have no income," added the refugee advocate.
The high influx of asylum seekers who head to Hong Kong has paved the way for racketeering and black market in unofficial asylum approvals. Hong Kong's local media states that claims are used by asylum seekers to get illegal working status.
"It's legal limbo," added Wisniewski, in a separate report by Fusion.net.