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2014 Home & Away Charity Football Tournament

September 15, 2014

Guess What? The 3rd annual Home & Away 2014 Charity Football Tournament will be happening again this year on November 1st 2014. This year it will be sponsored by Vine Community Services Limited (VCSL)Affinity Education Limited, & YMCA of Hong Kong Christian College

As the world’s most popular sport, football has the power to shape and build communities. For the over 5,000 refugees, asylum seekers, and torture claimants who have fled their home countries seeking protection and safety in Hong Kong, having a community is vital in restoring a sense of normalcy, identity, and belonging.

There are 3 ways for you to support this cause: 

  1. Participate in this tournament by putting a team together: Corporate, social, and individual teams are welcomed. 
  2. Donate to this cause: https://www.justgiving.com/Affinityed/
  3. Join us on November 1st to cheer and support the teams and share this awareness. 

Tournament Details

LOCATION: YMCA of Hong Kong Christian College

DIRECTIONS: Take a cab from Tung Chung MTR station. The ride is only 5 mins. If you plan to drive, there is a car park right opposite the school. Other options, please check out: http://www.ymcacc.edu.hk/en/contact_us/location/index.php

DATE: Saturday, 1 November 2014 

TIME: 8:30-6pm

MINIMUM DONATION: HK$20,000 per team

TEAMS: are encouraged to carry out their individual fundraising campaign for the event

TOURNAMENT CHAMPION GRAND PRIZE: a phenomenal dining experience (15 guests)

To enter the tournament, please complete and return the attached form, along with your donation, by Friday, 26 September 2014.

Please feel free to send further enquiries to Lolly Law at lolly.law@vcsl.org or 2573 0796.

Who are refugees?

The 1951 Refugee Convention establishing the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spells out that a refugee is someone who “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.”

Who are asylum seekers?

The terms “asylum seeker” and “refugee” are often confused: an asylum seeker is someone who says he or she is a refugee, but whose claim has not yet been definitively evaluated under the law. Refugee status determination is primarily a State’s responsibility. National asylum systems are there to decide which asylum seekers actually qualify for international protection. Those judged through proper procedures not to be refugees, nor to be in need of any other form of international protection, can be sent back to their home countries. In States where the government has not set up its own national asylum system – like Hong Kong – UNHCR often steps in to fill the gap. 

Who are torture claimants?

A torture claimant is a person who has lodged a torture claim to the Director of Immigration for non-refoulement (“no return”) protection in Hong Kong under Article 3 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Hong Kong has signed this international convention, whereas it has not signed the Convention Related to the Status of Refugees. 

Why are refugees in Hong Kong?

Hong Kong has always had a rich history of helping refugees. In fact, many locals are descendants of refugees who fled Communist rule in China in the 1950s. Refugees have to move if they are to save their lives or preserve their freedom. They have no protection from their own state and in fact, it is often their own government that is threatening to persecute them. They flee their countries in whatever way they can and often pay people to take them to any country where they will be safe. Many do not know where they are going when they leave their countries and are simply taken to a country, any country, by agents who they have paid to take them to safety. If other countries do not let refugees in, and do not help them once they are in, then they may be condemning them to death – or to an intolerable life in the shadows, without sustenance and without rights.

Where are refugees, asylum seekers and torture claimants in Hong Kong from?

There are currently refugees, asylum seekers and torture claimants from a variety of countries that include countries in Africa, South and Southeast Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East.

How do they live?

Refugees, asylum seekers and torture claimants are entitled to apply for assistance provided by the Hong Kong Government’s Social Welfare Department (SWD) through a non-governmental organization named International Social Service Hong Kong Branch (ISS). This assistance plan is very basic and includes rental and utilities support up to a certain budget, basic food and toiletry items for collection, reimbursement of basic transportation expenses related to attending appointments at ISS, Immigration Department, UNHCR, public health facilities, Hong Kong courts and sometimes to other government agencies. For more information on the assistance program, please contact the SWD or ISS. 

How long do refugees stay in Hong Kong?

UNHCR will try to resettle recognized refugees unless UNHCR believes that there is a more suitable durable solution for them. However, after submission of the resettlement application by UNHCR, the resettlement process is entirely controlled by the resettlement country. This means that the ultimate decision making power lies solely with the resettlement country and the length of processing time is dictated by each resettlement country’s internal immigration processes. The resettlement process will be different for each individual given that each case is different and considered individually by resettlement countries. Different resettlement countries also have different resettlement procedures and therefore, processing times vary greatly between countries also. It is, therefore, difficult to say how long refugees typically have to stay in Hong Kong as each case is different, depending on the facts of the case and where UNHCR strategically decides to submit them for resettlement. However, it can be said that overall, resettlement takes a long time. 

What are the main challenges of asylum seekers and refugees in Hong Kong?

All asylum seekers and refugees face great challenges. Refugees in Hong Kong do not have lawful access to employment. Under the Hong Kong Immigration Ordinance, any person taking up illegal employment in Hong Kong will be subject to arrest and prosecution. As a result, refugees remain idle and reliant on the government assistance program, which is insufficient. Refugees have a very difficult time finding adequate housing, and many families feel that they do not get enough good quality and nutritious food. As refugees are unable to achieve any form of self-reliance, there are often heightened frustrations and it is common among the refugee population to feel a loss of dignity. Refugees, therefore, face a situation in Hong Kong where they are highly marginalized and are in effect in a state of limbo. 

Though the Hong Kong government has an assistance program for asylum seekers and refugees, the Hong Kong government has made clear that permission to settle permanently in Hong Kong will not be given to refugees and that only a temporary stay pending resettlement to a third country or return to their country of origin is tolerated. The lack of local integration prospects, inability to work, lack of activities in which to engage themselves because of the cost involved, the constant feeling of being in a state of limbo, the extended length of time the resettlement process takes and the difficulties for refugees in finding adequate housing is having an increasingly serious impact on the refugees awaiting a durable solution in Hong Kong. High levels of stress, anxiety and frustration are becoming increasingly familiar problems for this population and are often compounded by the fact that the majority of refugees have language difficulties and no family support here.

Tagged: affinity education, VCSL


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