DAB turns up heat on asylum-seekers

Local | Yupina Ng 30 Nov 2016

Asylum-seekers convicted of crimes in Hong Kong should be deported back to their home countries after serving their sentences in the SAR, according to a survey of 600 Hongkongers conducted in October.

The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong released the results of its October 14-20 survey on the eve of a Legislative Council motion debate today on combating "bogus refugees."

But a human rights group said deportations would violate the United Nations Convention against Torture, which has been extended to Hong Kong since 1992.

As of October, Hong Kong had 10,675 non-refoulement claims pending screening. Non-refoulement is an international legal principle that refers to the practice of not sending refugees or asylum-seekers to a country where they are liable to be persecuted.

The poll showed that 91 percent of respondents want criminals to be deported to their home countries and that the government should ignore their claims.

It also found 78.6 percent take a view that asylum-seekers allegedly involved in illegal activities pose a threat to society.

Nearly half of the respondents said Hong Kong should set up a detention center for asylum-seekers.

"DAB is concerned about the issue of fake asylum-seekers because we think the problem is getting more serious," lawmaker Elizabeth Quat Pui- fan said, adding some illegal immigrants have been abusing the system.

But Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor director Law Yuk-kai said non- refoulement claims and criminal cases should be treated separately.

Law said criminal convictions do not mean asylum-seekers should lose their right to see through their refugee claims.

"Human rights are not determined by other people's opinion," he said. "Exaggerating illegal actions of a certain community is unnecessary."

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