The UNHCR Sub-Office Hong Kong (“SOHK”) reports to the Office in Beijing and covers both the Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions.
Established in 1979 to cope with the influx of Vietnamese boat people, SOHK’s mission evolved to include anyone seeking asylum in the HKSAR.
Because Hong Kong is not a signatory to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, and has no legal framework governing the granting of asylum, UNHCR has traditionally been responsible for RSD and for providing assistance to asylum-seekers and refugees.
Following a landmark court decision, the Hong Kong government introduced the Unified Screening Mechanism (USM) to screen non-refoulement, or protection, claims on 3 March 2014.
Since then, UNHCR is no longer involved in direct RSD in the territory, playing instead an advisory and capacity building role.
Despite this change, there are no plans to close SOHK, which continues to promote the cause of persons of concern and provide the legal and physical protection support needed to safeguard their rights throughout the adjudication process and beyond. Currently, SOHK focuses on three key areas: Protection, Comprehensive Solutions and Private Sector Partnerships.