The Refugee Union Hong Kong marched to the International Social Services’ (ISS) office on Monday to present a petition demanding more funding for food, housing and transport. Protesters chanted “stop racism” and held banners that read “justice for refugees” to voice their outrage. Chief Executive hopeful, Leung Kwok-hung, was present to show his support for the Refugee Union.
“We can’t live on HK$40 a day,” said a protester who refused to disclose her name, she added that refugees are forced to “commit crime” because they do not have “proper social services.”
In the past seven years, the government has approved 72 asylum seekers. During this period, Hong Kong has a 0.6 percent refugee acceptance rate, which is far below Europe’s 60 percent acceptance rate and the global average of about 30 percent. After the lengthy screening process, recognized asylum seekers neither get the right of abode nor the right to work, instead, they have to wait years to be resettled in a third country.
Dozens of asylum seekers gathered outside Southern Playground in Wan Chai for the protest. Many of them fled from countries in economic and political turmoil such as Togo, Pakistan, and Indonesia. Protesters chanted “no more guarantors” in reaction to a recent rent policy, which requires a guarantor to help cover rent expenses if asylum seekers are unable to find housing within the $1500 government allowance designated to them. However, refugees come to the city as complete strangers. They have no friends or family nor do they know people that could afford to pay their rent.
Writer & Photo: Amrita Mangho
Editor: Yu Lynn Tan
Copy Editor: Gene Lin
Online Team: Zoe Law