2002-01-11
Response of NGOs to the Judgement of the CFA on the Right of Abode Cases

Response of NGOs to the Judgement of the CFA on the Right of Abode Cases

                   
We are very disappointed that most of the applicants lost their appeals as a result of the judgement of the Court of Final Appeal (CFA) and thus cannot enjoy right of abode in Hong Kong. We cannot be sure if the judgement was affected by the gloomy atmosphere created by the interpretation of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC) that does not allow people who came to Hong Kong at different times to benefit from the concession policy or the discretionary power of the director of immigration in consideration of their legitimate expectations. However, it is very clear that the judgement of the CFA has led to the loss of opportunity of the children of Hong Kong citizens born in mainland China who came after 29 January 1999 to stay in Hong Kong. They are the majority of the applicants. This implies that up to 10,000 families will face the tragedy of separation.
 
To use the date 29 January 1999 as a dividing line is a very harsh decision. These sons and daughters came to Hong Kong because of the judgement of the CFA on 29 January 1999. At that time, there was no interpretation by the NPCSC. Therefore, they have a legitimate expectation to be entitled to right of abode. In fact, many of them had been applying to come to stay in Hong Kong for many years. However, there is no effective and reasonable mechanism in mainland China for such an application. When they came to Hong Kong after the judgement of the CFA on 29 January 1999, they were filled with hope. However, the present judgement does not take into consideration their legitimate expectations and takes away their hope.
 
We reassert that the union of a family is a human right. The government has the responsibility to protect this right through various measures. We must point out that the children of Hong Kong citizens born in mainland China who cannot enjoy right of abode under the judgement of the CFA are simply unqualified to apply in mainland China to come to stay in Hong Kong after the interpretation of the NPCSC. Therefore, they cannot do as some people have said, that is, to make an application to come and stay in Hong Kong after returning to mainland China. Many of them have given up their career and studies in mainland China in order to be united with their families in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong government should sympathetically consider their situation and state of mind in seeking effective measures to resolve the problem of the separation of families in Hong Kong and mainland China.
 
Thus, we call upon the government to: 
(1)   Ask the director of immigration to exercise his discretionary power, as noted by one of the judges of the CFA, Mr. Justice Bokhary, PJ, to enable all of the applicants to have right of abode in Hong Kong and to refrain from making a removal order against any of them; 
(2)   Immediately discuss with the central government to establish a fair, reasonable and effective mechanism to allow all children of Hong Kong citizens born in mainland China to be united with their families in Hong Kong, especially those children already in Hong Kong.


Co-signed Organizations:

Justice and Peace Commission of the Hong Kong Diocese 她他中學
Kwai Chung District Basic Christians Community 現象研究室
Hong Kong Catholic Institution Staff Association Rainbow Cell
Hong Kong Catholic Commission For Labour Affairs Rainbow Action
Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee Noisebox
Hong Kong Federation of Catholic Students
Video Power
Amnesty International Hong Kong Section Organizers Network
Hong Kong Women Christian Council 勞資關係協進會
Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor Labour Rights Coaltion
Asian Human Rights Commission Hong Kong Christian Institute
Grassroots Development Centre PIME Social Concern Group
Women Workers’ Cooperative Church Workers Association