Hundreds took to the streets of Hong Kong on Saturday to campaign for greater rights for refugees and asylum seekers, both here and overseas.
The Refugee Solidarity March, organised by the Refugee Union and political party Socialist Action, saw demonstrators march from Chater Garden to the offices of the European Union in the hope of urging Europe to be more welcoming to the recent influx of migrants and apply pressure for local policy change.
Many of those demonstrating said they were in attendance to show solidarity with refugees fleeing the Middle East and Africa for asylum in Europe.
“The refugees fleeing Syria and Iraq [are] just a fraction of the millions who have been displaced by these wars. [The] majority of them are in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. Therefore it’s hypocritical for the West to erect barbed wire fences and walls to stop the refugees from entering their borders,” the Refugee Union said in a statement.
Also calling for refugees to be allowed to work in Hong Kong and accusing the International Social Services of corruption, the crowd was stopped from entering to the building by EU staff and did not receive a comment either from them or the Hong Kong government.
“Here in Hong Kong we cannot over emphasise how the refugees are suffering. We urge the government to treat refugees fairly, accord them protection and restoring their dignity by giving them rights as human beings,” the release read.
“The government should also allow refugees to work so that they can support themselves fully instead of offering them inadequate welfare assistance that dehumanises and leaves them in a life of total destitution.”
The group finished by asking the people of Hong Kong “not to look far away in Europe but here at home where refugees are discriminated against, profiled and mistreated with equal measure without consideration for their human rights and the rule of law”.
As of August this year, there were around 9,900 asylum seekers, mostly from South Asia, waiting to see if their claims will be accepted in Hong Kong.
Take a look at the Coconuts TV report on the living conditions of some of Hong Kong’s refugees.