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28 Feb 2017

Hong Kong’s Refugee Challenge - What Businesses Need to Know

An overview of the refugee situation in Hong Kong and a closer look at what businesses can do to help

Description

There has been a concerning increase in people seeking asylum around the world, including in Hong Kong where it is estimated that there are around 11,000 asylum seekers.    

Hong Kong is not a signatory of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and does not officially recognise anyone as a ‘refugee’.  Asylum seekers can spend years waiting to be resettled to another country.  While they are waiting for their claims to be screened, they are in limbo – unable to work, do not receive any protection, and need to survive on a HK$3,000 monthly allowance.  Under Hong Kong’s Unified Screening Mechanism, asylum seekers are rarely given adjudication of their asylum claims as refugees. In the last few years, there has been a backlash in the local media and by politicians against them, referring to Hong Kong’s “fake” refugee problem.

The refugee issue dramatically escalated in 2017 with US President Trump’s executive order denying entry to all refugees, plus people from 7 Muslim-majority countries. This reverberated worldwide causing chaos and confusion at US borders and in other countries, including Hong Kong, where refugees are awaiting resettlement to the US.
 

Key Takeaways: 

  • Understand the challenges that refugees / asylum seekers are facing
  • Understand the landscape – which organisations or public bodies are involved, as well as legal and social issues
  • Reflect on how different stakeholders, including the business community, can improve the situation
  • Explore ways for businesses to take action

Event Speakers

  • Justin Murgai

    Justin Murgai

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    Department Head, Christian Action
  • Lynette Nam

    Lynette Nam

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    Legal Officer, Justice Centre Hong Kong
  • Fern Ngai

    Fern Ngai

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    CEO, Community Business

Department Head, Christian Action

Justin Murgai

Justin Murgai is a humanitarian welfare specialist with 10 years’ experience in research, development and implementation of initiatives benefiting marginalized communities including victims of war, torture, persecution, exploitation, as well as at-risk youth and other minorities. He is presently the Department Head at Christian Action—an agency committed to serve the disadvantaged regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity or religion—where he oversees the Centres and Shelters for Refugees and Migrant Domestic Workers.

Legal Officer, Justice Centre Hong Kong

Lynette Nam

Lynette is an Australian qualified lawyer and holds a dual degree in Bachelor of Arts/Laws (Hon) from the University of Queensland. Before joining Justice Centre, Lynette worked at Fragomen Worldwide, an international law firm specialising in immigration law, in Australia and Hong Kong. Previous to this, Lynette was a human rights trainer on the Thai-Burma border, where she developed and implemented a curriculum on non-violent social change for young Karenni refugees. Lynette has also worked with Refugees International Japan in Tokyo, and various community legal centres in Brisbane, Australia in a volunteer capacity.

CEO, Community Business

Fern Ngai

Fern Ngai is Chief Executive Officer of Community Business, a Hong Kong based not-for-profit organisation dedicated to advancing responsible and inclusive business practices in Asia. Fern joined Community Business in October 2012 and is responsible for leading the organisation into its next stage of growth.
Under Fern’s leadership, Community Business has expanded its products and services, established a subsidiary in India, and has launched the LGBT+ Workplace Inclusion Index, the first and only benchmark for workplace inclusion practices and initiatives for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees in Asia.
Fern has been actively involved in and passionate about corporate social responsibility and diversity and inclusion, in her voluntary role as Board Director of KELY Support Group, a Hong Kong charity dedicated to supporting young people, and in her previous roles at Standard Chartered Bank.

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