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新民黨「假難民」單張 誤導公眾 妖魔化酷刑聲請人

2016/5/14 — 11:52

新民黨以「假難民 危害治安」為題的宣傳單張

新民黨以「假難民 危害治安」為題的宣傳單張

【法政匯思短評:關於新民黨對酷刑聲請人的看法】
The Progressive Lawyers Group short commentary in relation to the the New People's Party's position on torture claimants

法政匯思近日留意到,新民黨在以「假難民危害治安」為題的宣傳單張上,稱滯留在港的酷刑聲請人為「假難民」,並指斥他們涉及多種刑事罪行,「嚴重影響香港治安」。新民黨並提出包括修訂入境條例和設立緊閉式難民營的建議。

上述的說法和建議,不但誤導公眾及妖魔化酷刑聲請人,更忽略了香港政府保障酷刑聲請人的國際責任。法政匯思對此深感遺憾。

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首先,部份酷刑聲請人或涉及刑事案件,但這和其身分是否難民並沒有必然的關係,本港亦有行之有效的執法和司法系統,有能力打擊和處理相關的罪案。如果僅僅因為有部份酷刑聲請人涉及刑事案件,就妖魔化所有酷刑聲請人,不但對奉公守法的酷刑聲請人不公平,如妖魔化集中於某幾個國家的人士,更有種族歧視之嫌。

誠如新民黨的單張所言,《禁止酷刑和其他殘忍、不人道或有辱人格的待遇或處罰公約》(下稱《禁止酷刑公約》)第3條規定:「如有充分理由相信任何人在另一國家將有遭受酷刑的危險,任何締約國不得將該人驅逐、遣返或引渡至該國家。」《禁止酷刑公約》的規定建基於《公民權利及政治權利國際公約》(下稱《公約》)第7條。而《公約》第7條早已通過《香港人權法案條例》成為本港法律。基本法第39條亦規定《公約》適用於香港的有關規定繼續有效。

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此外,終審法院在 2012年的Ubamaka*一案中裁定,《香港人權法案條例》第3條下的權利是不可減損以及是絕對的。因此,香港政府在行使遣送或遞解權力之前,一定要審慎評估,確認被遣返的酷刑聲請人不會有遭受酷刑或不人道對待的實際風險。

是以,香港政府同時負有憲法和人道責任,為酷刑聲請人提供完善有效率的審核機制,並在等待審核結果期間,為他們提供基本的生活條件。如酷刑聲請人,最終無法通過審核,自然會被港府遣返,而無法以「難民」的身分繼續滯留在港;如該酷刑聲請人通過審核,而獲得港府庇護,「假難民」的說法亦不能成立。如我們在審核完成以前,也就是在酷刑聲請人的難民資格尚未確定以前,就以「假難民」的負面標籤加諸在酷刑聲請人,是未審先判、嚴重違反法治精神,同時亦只會引起社會大眾對這些人士無理的怨氣甚至敵意。

新民黨提出在深圳設立緊閉式難民營,以安置酷刑聲請人士。事實上,不管難民營設在境內還是境外,這都是漠視了只要香港政府能夠對羈留人士行使控制權,香港政府就必須受到《公民權利及政治權利國際公約》制約的事實。**

而緊閉式難民營極有可能違反《公約》第9條:「人人有權享有人身自由和安全。任何人不得加以任意逮捕或拘禁。除非依照法律所確定的根據和程序,任何人不得被剝奪自由。」任何非法或不合理的拘留更有可能違反公權法中歷史最悠久的一種濟助,就是賦予法院頒布「人身保護令」(Habeas Corpus) 的權力。

事實上,澳洲政府曾經通過在境外設立羈留中心安置難民,但就被聯合國多次批評,認為澳洲政府的做法違反了《公民權利和政治權利國際公約》第9條,部份羈留中心最後亦被關閉。

《禁止酷刑公約》、《公民權利及政治權利國際公約》、《香港人權法案條例》和《基本法》等國際人權法和憲法連結成的這道保護網,可說是任何修讀法律的人士耳熟能詳的,在此,我們呼籲新民黨就酷刑聲請人議題不要再誤導市民大眾了。

法政匯思

2016年5月14日

*Ubamaka, Edward Wilson v Secretary for Security & Director of Immigration (2012) 15 HKCFAR 743
**Human Rights Committee commented in General Comment No.31.


The PLG recently noted that the New People's Party (the "NPP") has alleged in its information leaflet titled “Fake Refugees Endanger Public Order” that torture claimants stranded in Hong Kong are “fake refugees". It further criticised torture claimants for being involved in various criminal activities and “severely affecting the public order of Hong Kong”. The NPP also suggested amending the Immigration Ordinance and setting up closed refugee camps.

The above allegations and suggestions do not only mislead the public and demonise torture claimants, they also neglect that the Hong Kong government had a duty under international law to protecting torture claimants. PLG considers this as being most unfortunate.

First, while some torture claimants may have been involved in criminal cases, there is no inevitable correlation between this and their refugee status or otherwise. Hong Kong also has an effective legal enforcement and judicial system with sufficient capacity to tackle and handle the criminal activities concerned. It would be unfair to those law-abiding torture claimants for one to demonise all torture claimants solely because of the criminal activities that may have been committed by some of them, and it would even be discriminatory if such demonisation were targeted at particular nationals.

As conceded in the NPP's leaflet, Article 3 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (“the Convention against Torture”) provides that “No State Party shall expel, return or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.” The Convention against Torture is based on Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (“ICCPR”). Article 7 has been incorporated through the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance and become the Laws of Hong Kong. Article 39 of the Basic Law also provides that the provisions of ICCPR as applied to Hong Kong shall remain in force.

In addition, the Court of Final Appeal held in the case of Ubamaka* in 2012 that the right under Article 3 of the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance is non-derogable and absolute. Therefore, before the Hong Kong government exercises its power to deport, it has to make a careful assessment to make sure that a tortcure claimant being deported will not be exposed to a real risk of being tortured or subject to inhuman treatment.

As such, the Hong Kong government bears the constitutional and moral responsibility to provide torture claimants with a well-established and efficient assessment mechanism, as well as providing them with a basic living standard while their assessment result is pending. If the torture claimant cannot pass the assessment in the end, he would be deported by the government and thus cannot stay in Hong Kong as a “refugee”. If the torture claimant satisfies the test and gets protection from the Hong Kong government, the label “fake refugees” would then have no basis in fact. Labeling torture claimants with the negative label of “fake refugees” before the assessment is completed (ie before the confirmation of the identity of the torture claimants) constitute condemnation of claimants before their claims have been determined, and is strongly against the sprit of the rule of law. It will inevitably cause hostility or unjustified resentment towards claimants amongst members of the public.

The NPP proposed to establish closed refugee camps in Shenzhen to house tortured claimants. In fact, whether the refugee camp is located in or out of Hong Kong, this has disregarded the fact that as long as the Hong Kong government is able to exercise control over a detained person, the Hong Kong government must be subject to the ICCPR.**

Further, closed refugee camps is highly likely to contravene Article 9 of the ICCPR, which provides that "Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law." Any unlawful or unreasonable detention may contravene one of the oldest type of remedy in history - the power of the court to grant habeas corpus.

In fact, the Australian government had set up overseas detention centres to house refugees. However, it was criticised by the United Nations on numerous occasions. The United Nations considered the Australian government to have contravened Article 9 of the ICCPR. Some of these detention centres were subsequently shut down.

Anyone with familiarity with the law ought to be familiar with the protection offered by international human rights law and constitutional law such as the Convention against Torture, the ICCPR, the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance and the Basic Law. As such, we call on the NPP to cease misleading the public on the issue of torture claimants.

Progressive Lawyers Group
14 May 2016


*Ubamaka, Edward Wilson v Secretary for Security & Director of Immigration (2012) 15 HKCFAR 743
**Human Rights Committee commented in General Comment No.31.

 

 

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