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Vietnamese Refugees

Volume 164: debated on Friday 12 January 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many Vietnamese children classified as having family members in Hong Kong live in separate camps from their relations.

We do not have figures for the number of children who fall into this category. The policy in Hong Kong is to ensure that families are not divided. As soon as any case comes to notice in which children are separated from family members they are wherever possible transferred between camps so that they can be reunited.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will convene an international conference to seek co-operation in providing third country settlement for those Vietnamese currently in camps in Hong Kong.

An international conference on Indo-China refugees was held in Geneva in June last year. At that conference the international community pledged sufficient places to resettle all Vietnamese refugees in the South-East Asian region, including Hong Kong. It was also agreed that those who were not refugees should return to their country of origin.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will give the reasons why no legal advice is available to Vietnamese refugees before screening in Hong Kong; and why no representatives from independent bodies are allowed to accompany refugees to the screening interview.

The UNHCR is permitted access to Vietnamese asylum-seekers and may provide legal advice to them both before and after screening. The UNHCR is also permitted to attend any screening interview for monitoring purposes.Under Hong Kong law there is no provision for Government legal aid to be provided for Vietnamese asylum-seekers for screening and review procedures.