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Non-refoulement review needed

January 27, 2016

A comprehensive review of the strategy of handling non-refoulement claims is needed, as the number of claimants has increased significantly, Secretary for Security TK Lai says.


Replying to lawmakers' questions today, Mr Lai said since the Government implemented the Unified Screening Mechanism to screen non-refoulement claims in one go, the number of claimants increased 330% to 440 per month, and the number of claimants pending screening reached almost 11,000 at the end of 2015.


The increase in claims and abuses of screening procedures have caused  concern over the social and public order issues brought about by the prolonged presence of a large and growing number of claimants in Hong Kong.


As the Government's top priority is to intercept illegal immigrants at source and to expedite the screening process to remove unsubstantiated claimants to their country of origin as soon as possible, the review will consider the areas of pre-arrival controls, screening procedures, detention, removal and enforcement.


The Government will actively consider all feasible options during the review, but having regard to the legal requirement, there is no plan to assess halting the application of the United Nations Convention Against Torture at present, Mr Lai added.

2016 Policy Address