§ Sir David Steel
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what measures he intends to take to ensure that immigration officials in Hong Kong are following correct immigration procedures for Vietnamese applicants; and if he will increase funding to the mission of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Hong Kong.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
The criteria applied by the Hong Kong immigration authorities to determine refugee status are those laid down in the 1951 convention and the 1967 protocol relating to the status of refugees. Their procedure follow UNHCR guidelines. The UNHCR is free to monitor these procedures as well as the appeals procedure which is to an independent refugee status review board headed by a former judge. UNHCR provides counselling and legal advice to all asylum seekers during the determination process. In addition, private lawyers are allowed access to the boat people centres to provide legal advice to individual clients.
Although we do not directly fund the mission of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Hong Kong, we are among the major contributors to UNHCR. In 1990 we contributed £19.9 million of which some £8.5 million was for the comprehensive plan of action for Indo-Chinese refugees. We expect our contribution in 1991 to be at least as high as our contribution in 1990.