Durable Solutions

Voices for Protection

  • SAR China


Justice Centre Hong Kong

Date program started:



  • Provide capacity-building and community empowerment to equip refugees with the skills, information and platform to claim their rights and be their own advocates for the refugee community


  • To provide training to refugees on human rights and advocacy so that they can advocate confidently, safely and effectively and claim their rights
  • To promote a positive image of the refugee community in Hong Kong to raise awareness and change public attitudes to be more favorable and understanding
  • To ensure that policy and legislative processes are informed by a credible refugee voice to ultimately make Hong Kong a more welcoming place for those seeking protection.

Targeted population:

  • People who are seeking protection in Hong Kong (people who are waiting a decision in the Hong Kong Government’s Unified Screening Mechanism, substantiated non-refoulement claimants and recognised refugees)
  • Active efforts are made to recruit participants for diversity (age, gender, nationality and length of time in Hong Kong)

Challenge addressed:

  • Hong Kong is one of the only well-developed jurisdiction in the world not to be bound to the Refugee Convention and protection offered is quite limited
  • Refugees have no right to work, no legal status and no ability to integrate in Hong Kong
  • Yet they are often here for years in legal limbo while they await a decision on their case and a durable solution
  • Public opinion is very negative towards refugees as there are many misconceptions about who they are and such few opportunities for the local public to meet refugees
  • At the same time, because they are so vulnerable, face security risks, language and cultural barriers and are thrust to the margins, refugees face many barriers in doing advocacy and do not know the channels to make their concerns heard
  • Without a refugee voice, however, policies and laws are unlikely to change to be more favourable
  • This program aims to amplify refugee voices within Hong Kong

Program description:

  • Refugees apply and go through a competitive recruitment process to be accepted into an intake of the 12-week human rights and advocacy traineeship programme
  • The programme includes sessions on how the Hong Kong Government works, media training, public speaking, community organizing, leadership, human rights education and more
  • After the 12-week programme, the graduates are then part of a pool of refugees that Justice Centre can engage in its advocacy and campaigns work
  • This work includes giving public talks to universities in schools, engaging in government lobbying processes, taking part in Justice Centre campaigns or meeting with journalists, for example
  • Many external organisations and partners can also then work with graduates for soft public engagement work, from community dinners, to yum cha gatherings, human libraries, workshops and more for refugees
  • So far there have been 4 intakes of a 12-week training programme in human rights and advocacy for new participants who hail from over 20 countries of origin, including a women’s-only intake
  • Many of the graduates of the programme have gone on to form their own community group, called Social Justice Alliance, which meets on a monthly basis.
  • The graduates from Voices for Protection have engaged in several opportunities, such as writing letters to government departments, making submissions to treaty bodies or the legislature, meeting government representatives or coining their own op-eds, for example

Impact on targeted population:

  • In a climate where refugees feel like they have very little sense of control and purpose, and feel at the whim of an opaque system, the program gives them a channel to take control over their situation in Hong Kong and gives them a lot more understanding and information
  • The programme has united the refugee community and given them an opportunity to trust one another more, work collaboratively and be able to have a peer network to share experiences and learn from each other
  • The programme gives them many soft skills that can be transferred to other aspects of their life in Hong Kong and beyond, such as confidence-building, assertiveness, team-building, critical thinking, messaging and public speaking

Impact on host community:

  • The programme has enabled refugees to be able to do public talks in ways not possible before, such as with organizations like Amnesty International
  • Many partners now come to Justice Centre because they know about the Voices for Protection graduates to request a public speaker
  • The programme has humanised refugees and broken down stereotypes for many law-makers and citizens

Conditions required:

  • Resilient participants able to advocate in an often hostile environment
  • The program requires a lot of mentoring and encouragement to be given to the participants
  • The program has been managed by the Justice Centre Hong Kong’s Advocacy and Campaigns Manager, with the assistance of a number of guest speakers in the training and volunteers


Justice Centre Hong Kong – Voices for Protection

Our impact

  • 3700

    refugees have better access to education and livelihood opportunities

  • 40

    countries in which our partner NGOs are implementing solutions

  • 490

    refugee children benefit from mathematics, english, art and sports classes

  • 700

    women can now support their families

  • 650

    refugees have access to critical healthcare and safety information

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We’ve accomplished so much, but the growing urgency of refugee issues in cities means we have a lot more to do and we can’t do it alone. Support the refugee communities that need it most.

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