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Vietnamese Boat People

Volume 173: debated on Thursday 24 May 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the suspending of the screening process for Vietnamese boat people at the Upper and Lower Chi Ma Wan detention centres in November 1989.

Screening was suspended at the Chi Ma Wan centres in November 1989 because the boat people refused to attend the screening interviews.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the average length of time between arrival in Hong Kong and a screening interview for a Vietnamese refugee at each detention centre.

Drawing on recent experience, we estimate that the average length of time between arrival in Hong Kong and a screening interview for a Vietnamese refugee is nine months.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is numbers and percentages of Vietnamese boat people screened in Hong Kong have (a) served in the armed forces of the former Government of South Vietnam, (b) been involved in political organisations opposed to the present Vietnamese Government, (c) recorded participation in religious activities in Vietnam, (d) complained of deprivation of economic and social rights and (e) been prosecuted or disciplined by the present regime in Vietnam.

The information is not available in the form requested. However, the categories of people identified in this question are likely to have a strong case for refugee status. The composite screening-in rate (ie the combined total of those screened-in at the first instance and at appeal stages) is about 16 per cent.

To ask the Secretary of State for Fore:ign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the average length of a screening interview for Vietnamese refugees at detention camps in Hong Kong.

Most screening interviews take about half a day, but it is not uncommon for interviewing to take up to two days.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the number of Vietnamese boat people who have had their refugee status confirmed on the principle of family reunification.

A total of 663 people have been granted refugee status on family reunification grounds.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what percentage of Vietnamese boat people who have not been granted refugee status after the first screening interview have applied for review of their cases; and with what results.

Ninety-nine per cent. of those screened-out at the first stage have applied for review by the refugee status review board. Of the reviews completed so far, 8·5 per cent. have been successful and in 91·5 per cent. of cases the board has upheld the director of immigration's initial decision.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will place a copy of the rules for the conduct of refugee status review boards for Vietnamese boat people in the Library.