We, the undersigned individuals and organizations, are increasingly concerned that recent inaccurate and irresponsible comments made regarding the refugee issue in Hong Kong are divisive and inflammatory. These comments are fueling a climate of fear and hostility towards both refugees and ethnic minorities alike, and run the risk of fracturing Hong Kong’s diverse and vibrant community. If negative stereotyping and hostile attitudes are repeatedly placed in the public eye in this way, xenophobia and discrimination against both refugees and ethnic minorities will continue to increase.

For this reason we cannot in good conscience allow this to continue – it is undermining Hong Kong’s social harmony. Instead, care must be taken not to exaggerate the refugee situation, nor to legitimize any form of discrimination. In shared concern, we are joined together to send out a call for calm. The politics of fear do not belong in Hong Kong. It is time for a sober and more reasoned approach.

We acknowledge that concerns have been raised following an increase in the number of protection claimants in Hong Kong and apparent abuses of the system. These concerns must be listened to, but matters must be kept in perspective, and international law should be upheld. In fact, Hong Kong actually has low levels of refugees. There is nothing remotely like a crisis and there is no need to search for dramatic measures – instead we must face up to the need to reduce delays, and to address the obvious inefficiencies in the Unified Screening Mechanism (‘USM’) system. These are complex problems, and so require nuanced approaches as well as constructive and informed dialogue, rather than resorting to divisions and blame.

Some of the proposals that have been put forward – such as Hong Kong’s withdrawal from UN Convention Against Torture (‘UNCAT’) or closed detention camps – are ill-advised, disproportionate and rash; and some are in breach of international law. Not only would withdrawal from UNCAT fail to address the concerns raised about the refugee situation, but it would roll back the rights and protections of every resident of Hong Kong against being tortured, or exposed to other abuse. This would affect us all, and we should therefore resolutely defend the continued respect for international law. At present, Hong Kong rightly enjoys a reputation as a responsible and valued member of the modern international community. But withdrawal from UNCAT would be an embarrassing step backwards for a forward-looking city. Put simply, Hong Kong is better than this.

Equally, the mass detention of those seeking sanctuary is a draconian measure and which may violate principals of international law. It cannot be the answer. Not only would it be an expensive use of public funds and an extreme overreaction, it would merely warehouse the issue, and likely cause significant harm to those who are already highly vulnerable. There are plenty of international examples to highlight the failures and problems of detention. The UNHCR have repeatedly expressed their concern over the detention of people seeking international protection.

We are therefore now calling upon all parties, including the Hong Kong Government, to work together collaboratively in ensuring that a message goes out that is loud and clear – discrimination has no place in our society. We must not allow fear-mongering and short-sighted politics to erode human rights and the rule of law in Hong Kong. We can no longer be complacent about the negative portrayal of ethnic minorities and refugees.


List of Signatories (In alphabetical order):

Organizations and Parties

  1. 617 Citizen Charter 六一七民間約章
  2. Act Voice 精算思政
  3. Action Q 大專同志行動
  4. African Community of Hong Kong
  5. Amnesty International Hong Kong 國際特赦組織香港分會
  6. Amnesty International Club @ HKU
  7. Artists Action 藝界起動
  8. Asian Migrants Coordinating Body AMCB
  9. Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants
  10. Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network 亞太地區難民權利組織
  11. Basel Mission Hong Kong
  12. Cameroon Solidarity Union HK
  13. Centre for Comparative and Public Law (CCPL), Faculty of Law, HKU
  14. Chosen Power (People First Hong Kong) 卓新力量
  15. Christian Action 基督教勵行會
  16. Church Refugee Ministry
  17. City Concern of Christians Fellowship 基督徒社關團契
  18. Civil Human Rights Front 民間人權陣線
  19. Civic Party 公民黨
  20. Cultural Outings 文化交遊
  21. Comma Press
  22. Daly & Associates 帝理律師行
  23. Filguys Association Hong Kong
  24. Free to Run
  25. Frontline Tech Workers 前線科技人員
  26. Franciscan Order Hong Kong JPIC Group 方濟會正義和平組
  27. Friends of Conscience 良心之友
  28. Global Youth Connect
  29. Grassroot Cultural Centre
  30. Health in Action 醫護行者
  31. Helpers for Domestic Helpers
  32. Hong Kong Buildings Management and Security Workers General Union 香港物業管理及保安職工總會
  33. Hong Kong Christian Institute 香港基督徒教會
  34. Hong Kong Christian Council Justice and Social Concern Committee 香港基督教協進會社會公義與民生關注委員會
  35. Hong Kong Christian Service 香港基督教服務處
  36. Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions 香港職工會聯盟
  37. Hong Kong Federation of Asian Domestic Workers Unions 香港亞洲家務工工會聯會
  38. Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor 香港人權監察
  39. Hong Kong Labour Party 工黨
  40. Hong Kong Policy Viewers 香港政策透視
  41. Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union 香港教育專業人員協會
  42. Hong Kong Psychologists Concern 良心理政
  43. Hong Kong Social Workers’ General Union 香港社會工作者總工會
  44. Hong Kong Unison 香港融樂會
  45. Hong Kong Women Workers’ Association 香港婦女勞工協會
  46. Hiu Lai Campaigning 曉麗關注Plus
  47. Inter-Agency Forum, Members of
  48. Interfaith Cooperation Forum
  49. International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims
  50. The Italian Women’s Association
  51. IT Voice IT 呼聲
  52. Justice and Peace Commission of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese 香港天主教正義和平委員會
  53. Justice Centre Hong Kong
  54. KELY Support Group 啟勵扶青會
  55. Kowloon Union Church 九龍佑寧堂
  56. Labour Party 工黨
  57. League in Defense of Hong Kong’s Freedoms 保衛香港自由聯盟
  58. League of Social Democrats 社會民主連線
  59. Left 21 左翼21
  60. Love and Peace Ministry 仁愛和平事工
  61. Methodist International Church 循道衛理會國際禮拜堂
  62. Mission for Migrant Workers
  63. Mission to New Arrivals Ltd 新福事工協會
  64. Open Door 家.傭同行
  65. PIME Missionaries Social Concern Group
  66. Pink Alliance 粉紅同盟
  67. Progressive Lawyers Group 法政匯思
  68. Progressive Teachers’ Alliance 進步教師聯盟
  69. Queer Theology Academy 性神學社
  70. Reclaiming Social Work Movement 社工復興運動
  71. Refugee Concern Network 關注難民網絡
  72. Right of Abode University 居留權大學
  73. RiverGrace International Christian Fellowship
  74. Social Justice Alliance
  75. Society for Community Organization 香港社區組織協會
  76. Society of St. Vincent De Paul, St. Teresa’s Parish Conference 聖德肋撒堂聖雲先會
  77. Solomon’s Porch
  78. St Andrew’s Church 聖公會聖安德烈堂
  79. St John’s Cathedral 聖公會聖約翰座堂
  80. Thai Migrant Worker’s Union  泰國移工工會
  81. The Association for the Advancement of Feminism 新婦女協進會
  82. The Department of Anthropology, CUHK
  83. The Hong Kong Society for Asylum-seekers and Refugees 香港尋求庇護者及難民協會
  84. The India Association Hong Kong 印度協會
  85. The Italian Women’s Association
  86. The Professional Commons 公共專業聯盟
  87. The Zubain Foundation 小彬紀念基金會
  88. Transgender Resource Center 跨性別資源中心
  89. Union Church HK 香港佑寧堂
  90. Union of Nepalese Domestic Workers in Hong Kong 香港尼泊爾家務勞動者工會
  91. Umbrella Blossom 撐傘落區行動
  92. Urban Refugees
  93. Vidler & Co. Solicitors 韋智達律師行
  94. Women Coalition of HKSAR 香港女同盟會
  95. Women’s Studies Research Centre HKU
  96. 民生議政
  97. 黃傘街頭基督徒基層團體


  1. Azan MARWAH, Barrister at Law
  2. Billy R. LEUNG, Open University of Hong Kong
  3. CHAN Billy Shiu Yeung, Sha Tin District Council Member 陳兆陽,沙田區議員
  4. CHAN Chu Fung, Thomas, Hong Kong Community College 陳曙峰
  5. CHAN Lih Shing, Alex, Hong Kong Institute of Education 章力行
  6. CHAN M M Johannes
  7. CHAN Yee May, Hong Kong Baptist University
  8. CHEUK Ka Kin, Leiden University
  9. Connie KWOK, Registered Social Worker
  10. Daniel LAM 林天祐傳道
  11. Dr. Carmen TONG, Department of Sociology, HKU
  12. Dr. HO Sik Ying, Petula, Department of Social Work and Social Administration, HKU 何式凝
  13. Dr. Hon Fernando CHEUNG Chiu-hung, Legislative Councilor 立法會議員張超雄
  14. Dr. Barbara E. HARRELL-BOND, OBE
  15. Dr. Lisa LIM, School of English, HKU
  16. Dr. Mirana SZETO, Comparative Literature, HKU 司徒薇
  17. Earl DENG, Barrister-at-Law 鄧鈞堤大律師
  18. Farzana ASLAM, Faculty of Law, HKU
  19. Father Franco MELLA 甘浩望神父
  20. HO Wai Yip, Department of Social Sciences, Hong Kong Institute of Education 何偉業
  21. Hon Alvin YEUNG Ngok-kiu, Legislative Councilor 立法會議員楊岳橋
  22. Hon Claudia MO, Legislative Councillor 立法會議員毛孟靜
  23. Hon Charles Peter MOK, JP 立法會議員莫乃光, JP
  24. Hon CHEUNG Kwok Che, Legislative Councilor 立法會議員張國柱
  25. Hon Dennis KWOK, Legislative Councilor 立法會議員郭榮鏗
  26. Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing, JP, Legislative Councilor 立法會議員劉慧卿, JP
  27. Hon Kenneth LEUNG, Legislative Councilor 立法會議員梁繼昌
  28. Hon LEE Cheuk-yan, Legislative Councilor 立法會議員李卓人
  29. Hon LEUNG Kwok-hung, Legislative Councilor 立法會議員梁國雄
  30. Hon Albert HO Chun-yan, Legislative Councilor 立法會議員何俊仁
  31. Hon IP Kin-yuen立法會議員葉建源
  32. Jeffrey TAM, Barrister-at-Law 譚俊傑大律師
  33. Joe Y.F. LAU, Philosophy Department, HKU
  34. Jonathan MAN, Solicitor 文浩正律師
  35. Karen KONG, Faculty of Law, HKU
  36. Kelley LOPER, Faculty of Law, HKU
  37. Ken, TSANG Kin Chiu, Civic Party & Social Worker 曾健超
  38. Kevin YAM, Solicitor 任建峰律師
  39. Kim KWOK, Caritas Institute of Higher Education
  40. LAU Shu Wai Carl, Hong Kong Institute of Education 劉樹偉
  41. LEE Kim Ming, Community College City University of Hong Kong 李劍明
  42. LIONG Chan Ching, Mario, Centennial College
  43. Lisa LEUNG, Associate Professor, Department of Cultural Studies, Lingnan University
  44. LO Kai Chung, Registered Social Worker, Community College of City University
  45. LUI Ching Wu, Lake, Hong Kong Institute of Education 呂青湖
  46. Margaret NG, Barrister at Law 吳靄儀大律師
  47. Martin JONES, Lecturer in International Human Rights Law, University of York /Adjunct Professor at HKU
  49. NG Fung Sheung, Isabella, Hong Kong Institute of Education 伍鳳嫦
  50. Paul ZIMMERMAN, Pokfulam District Councillor 司馬文, 薄扶林區議員
  51. Philip J DYKES, Senior Counsel
  52. Professor Johannes M M CHAN
  53. Professor Noam CHOMSKY.
  54. Oscar LAI Man Lok, Demosistō 黎汶洛
  55. POON Wing-Lok, The University of Hong Kong 潘永樂
  56. Professor Gordon MATTHEWS, Department of Anthropology, CUHK
  57. Puja KAPAI, Faculty of Law, HKU
  58. Randy SHEK, Barrister-at-Law 石書銘大律師
  59. Rev. Paul CHAN 陳啟興牧師
  60. Rob CONNELLY, Barrister-at-law
  61. Robert TIBBO, Barrister at Law, Member of HK Bar Association
  62. Shaphan MARWAH, Barrister at Law
  63. SHIU Ka Chun, Lecturer, Department of Social Work, Hong Kong Baptist University 邵家臻
  64. Simon YOUNG, Faculty of Law, HKU
  65. Stephen FISHER 余志穩
  66. Tim PARKER, Barrister-at-Law
  67. Timothy O’LEARY, Head, School of Humanities, HKU
  68. TO Ho Pong, Community College City University of Hong Kong
  69. Vivek MAHBUBANI, Award winning bi-lingual stand up comedian
  70. Wendy KWAN, Solicitor 關穎怡律師
  71. Wilson LEUNG, Barrister-at-Law 梁允信大律師
  72. WONG Wai Man, Natalie, HKUSPACE
  73. Yantl SZE, Barrister-at-Law
  74. Zachary WONG, Yuen Long District Councillor 黃偉賢,元朗區議員
  75. Zoran POPOSKI,  Hong Kong Institute of Education

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