In Hong Kong, refugees are not given the basic human right that any human should be given.
- Refugees in Hong Kong are denied the right to work
- Refugees in Hong Kong are permanently considered as illegal immigrants despite being approved by the government the right to stay in Hong Kong (asylum claim)
- Refugees in Hong Kong are only provided less than HKD$3200 a month, which subjects them to a destitute living condition in Hong Kong
- Refugees in Hong Kong are not under the protection of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention because Hong Kong is not a signatories
- Refugees in Hong Kong face daily discrimination and deep-rooted stigmas in society (e.g. seeking housing, seeking services from the private sector, and on the streets)
Refugee Union Hong Kong was founded in 2014 with visions to safeguard protection claimants’ rights and ameliorate their prospects. Since our commencement of service, we have been working closely with our partners in the community and organizing diversified programs to actualize members’ psychological and social well-being.
Shelter, food, education, training, legal support, and gainful livelihood are some of the most essential needs that refugees and asylum seekers have in Hong Kong. The scale of these needs is highlighted by the high cost of living in the territory, xenophobic and racist attitudes among the local population, and employment prohibitions on asylum seekers imposed by the Hong Kong government.
Effect of COVID-19 to Refugee Union’s Members
It is very sad to realise that the poor and marginalised will be the people that receive the hardest hit from this ongoing COVID-19 situation. The only supermarkets that the refugees can spend their food/necessity allowance on are unfortunately all empty due to the recent panic buying situation. The community is left deprived of essential needs during these times such as masks, sanitising equipment, and hygiene products. It is very sad because lacking resources to prepare and protect against the COVID-19, many of these individuals face a higher risk of contracting—and subsequently spreading—the virus.
On 27 February 2020, the Refugee Union issued a letter to the Social Welfare Department of Hong Kong asking for material and financial support during this tough time but sadly the reply left them with not much expectation for any government intervention.
As for now, the Refugee Union is just relying on the donations (masks, hand sanitiser, given by the kind donors to be continuously passed on to its members who need them the most (elderly, mothers, children). Some of us are very lucky to have the privilege to do social distancing and work from home and taking on other methods to stay away from crowds, but sadly, most people are not so lucky and they live in a densely populated neighbourhood where they have to go out each day to make a living for their family, although it means exposing themself to the spread of the virus
Where The Funds Will Go To
100% of the funds received will be used to support the 3000 refugees under Refugee Union. This includes daily spending for primary needs such as food, house rent, hygiene products, baby diapers, and education.
From HK$ 3200 allowance, HK$ 1200 of it is food coupons that can only be used to buy food from Park n Shop, a well- known supermarket in Hong Kong. Considering the food can only be bought from this supermarket, this amount of money is not going to be enough to cover a whole month's meals. Especially with Hong Kong's current economy, inflation is high and food product’s prices have significantly increased. For instance, the price of 3 piece tomatoes is around $HK 20 while 0.3 kg of chicken breast cost around $HK 50.
Even with being refugees in Hong Kong, the children still need proper education and education is highly expensive without the support of the government. Luckily, some university students have come to teach our children in the past. However, this is not a continuing program and we need a more sustainable education to equip our children with knowledge so they can work and survive when they grow up. Hence, funds received will also be used to invite teachers or tutors to teach our children.
3. House Rent
With the increasing price of Hong Kong’s subsidised housings, it is very hard for refugees to find a place to stay.
15000 HKD per month (transportation for 11 volunteers, food for volunteers, and emergencies.
Activities are necessary to keep the refugees’ positive attitudes. Our people wanted and needed to learn in order to prepare ourselves in joining the workforce once allowed. Especially in learning the Cantonese language is very important to support our lives in Hong Kong.
In addition, we need these activities to keep the refugees faithful that they can go through this tough time without having to do bad things.
You may learn more here: http://www.refugeeunion.org/support/
Please support our fundraising and learn more below: