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Hong Kong

Volume 173: debated on Tuesday 5 June 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list all the recommendations made by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to the Hong Kong authorities in respect of (a) minimum internal space for asylum seekers, (b) food and nutrition standards and (c) water and sanitation standards in Hong Kong; and what progress has been made in implementing each recommendation.

UNHCR has recommended:

  • (a) A living space standard of 3·5 square metres per person;
  • (b) A minimum of 2,000 kilo-calories and 50 grams of protein per adult per day;
  • (c) A water supply standard of 15 to 20 litres of water per day plus sanitation;
  • (d)Toilet provision on the basis of one for every 20 persons.
  • Wherever possible UNHCR's recommendations have been accepted. Dietary scales have been drawn up by Hong Kong Government dietitians in consultation with UNHCR technical advisers, with supplementary feeding programmes for vulnerable groups, such as children, pregnant women and the sick. In 1989 the per capita water consumption was about 235 litres per day.It has not been possible to meet UNHCR's recommendations on space standards and the provision of toilets. Hong Kong's high population density makes the 3·5 square metres per person difficult to achieve. On toi]let provision the current standard is 50 people per toilet, which is the standard used in the design of temporary housing for Hong Kong residents.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the present number of Vietnamese boat people held in detention in Hong Kong.

    On 1 June 1990 there were 54,725 Vietnamese boat people in Hong Kong. Of these, 10,681 have refugee status and are accommodated in open centres. The remainder are held in detention and consist of 8,956 people determined after the full screening procedure not to be refugees, and 35,088 either awaiting screening or the screening results.