就市建局疑種族歧視之公開聲明  要求全面保障各少數族裔社群基本權益(english version available)

轉自: 舊區街坊自主促進組

就市建局疑種族歧視之公開聲明  要求全面保障各少數族裔社群基本權益
old district autonomy advancement group (odaag)
Against ethnic discrimination from the Urban renewal authority Demend equal rights for ethnic minorities under urban renwal
(please scroll down for english)

市建局於2019年2月22日開展九龍城區新重建項目,並對項目居民進行人口凍結登記,舊區街坊自主促進組(下稱本組)隨即收到泰裔居民投訴,指市建局貼在重建區的通告,大部份為中文,少量英文,而區內居住了不少泰裔人士,是不諳中英文,但市建局卻沒有泰文通告及單張,去確保受影響人士明白自己的權益。本組成員其後於2月27日隨居民出席市建局舉辦的簡報會,會上有泰裔居民向市建局質詢為何通告和政策文件,均沒有詳盡的泰文譯本時,台上的市建局社區發展經理殷倩華竟表示對九龍城區有泰裔人士感意外:「我地都係落到黎做人口凍結(九龍城項目)先知有泰國人」,並指香港的法定語言是中、英文,聲稱會回去「研究下」有關翻譯的問題。本組對於市建局漠視保障少數族裔基本權益的做法及「詐傻扮懵」的回應,深表震驚,並有以下回應:

一. 官方報告早指少數族裔聚居九龍城 揭市建不知「無知」還是 「歧視」

早於2014年,由發展局成立的「九龍城市區更新地區諮詢平台」(諮詢平台)向政府呈交該區未來重建的「規劃研究報告」,已明確指出該區少數族裔的人口特徵及社群需要,而市建局執行董事亦是諮詢平台的官方成員之一,但現時市建局竟然聲稱對於九龍城重建項目有泰裔人士不知情,實在荒謬!本組現特意將有關報告的要點羅列如下,以正視聽:

「區內少數族裔佔人口的比率為9%,比率較全港(6.4%)為高……撇除多為外藉家庭傭工的菲律賓人和印尼人,以及相對富裕的白人及日本人這四個受市區更新影響較少的族裔,其餘的少數族裔人口最多的三個族群為印度人、巴基斯坦人及泰國人,並較集中於市區更新焦點範圍。」

(九龍城市區更新計劃規劃研究最終報告,p.18)

「區內現有一批巴基斯坦及印度裔的少數族裔人士聚居,區內亦設有一些少數族裔商店及兩所清真寺。從社會影響評估顧問與相關社會服務組織進行的訪談得知,少數族裔大多數與同鄉住得較接近,就業地點大多集中於市區,而小童亦大多於區內提供少數族裔教育服務的學校就讀,形成獨有的社區網絡。」

(九龍城市區更新計劃規劃研究最終報告,p.59)

根據《市區重建策略》,市建局於公佈項目前必須做一份第一階段的社會影響評估,而在市建局自己公佈的評估報告中第1.2項,便指市建局自己有參考上述諮詢平台的報告。加上,市建局執行董事亦是諮詢平台的官方成員之一。那麼市建局到底是「不知」?還是明知而「故意疏忽」?

二. 「社會影響評估」建議多項措施 市建局拖延五載未落實

諮詢平台亦曾委託城市大學進行「社會影響評估」,該報告指出未來九龍城區進行重建時,少數族裔的基本權益將因語言問題而未能獲得基本保障:

「因語言問題難以接觸市區更新資訊及理解自身權益:少數族裔居民由於語言不通,難以接觸與市區更新相關的資訊。少數族裔居民亦看不明白由中、英文信函、租約及法律文件,難以保障自身權益。」
(九龍城市區更新社會影響評估最終報告,p.30)

– 「社會影響評估」強調未來九龍城區重建時須「加強協助少數族裔居民接收資訊」,告知他們於面對重建時的權益,並曾建議多項具體紓緩措施,包括:宣傳品必須翻譯至他們本身熟悉的語言,例如泰文(泰裔居民),Punjabi(印裔居民)和 Urdu(巴裔居民)。

– 宣傳地點和手法亦應顧及少數族裔的特色。例如對泰裔居民的宣傳要集中在龍城區,宣傳的手法可以是透過區內一些服務泰國人的服務中心發放信息,或在泰國店舖門口張貼傳單。

– 考慮到少數族裔人士面對的溝通障礙及尊重他們的獨有文化,建議聘請懂得他們語言和文化的人士,以社工介入的手法去協助少數族裔面對市區更新對他們造成的影響。

– 設少數族裔的支援服務,如傳譯。

(九龍城地區諮詢平台-第一階段社會影響評估報告,p.140及145)
(九龍城市區更新社會影響評估最終報告,p.40)

諮詢平台早於2014年初已呈交該「社會影響評估」給發展局。但事隔五年,仍然沒有以上一項保障少數族裔知情權的措施是落實報行,而直至最近九龍城新重建項目開展,受影響的少數族裔居民提出翻譯問題時,市建局於簡介會上回應需要「再研究」,令人質疑由現時由官方主導成立的諮詢平台及其進行的「社會影響評估」,只是官樣文章,市建局竟然可以無視「社會影響評估」所建議的紓緩措施,繼續在新重建項目踐踏受影響居民的基本權益!

三. 公眾壓力下始亡羊補牢 市建局應全面保障各少數族裔基本權益

本組得悉,在過去半個月,除了我們外,有關九龍城新重建項目歧視泰裔居民的問題,當區泰國移工工會、立法會議員張超雄、職工盟及平機會等多個團體已去信,分別表示關注或譴責,事件亦經公眾和媒體廣泛傳播,市建局現時正在「亡羊補牢」,向泰裔居民聲稱將會在3月中另外安排一場給他們的簡介會及會製作泰文告示。

然而,本組必須強調,舊區裡居住著各類少數族裔,絕不止於泰裔居民。市建局進行重建將近廿載,過往在深水埗、大角咀等地區進行重建,亦居住了不少受影響的巴基斯坦及尼泊爾等族裔居民,但至今竟然沒有製作過任何本地常見少數族裔語言的政策資料翻譯本,枉稱「以人為先」!本組亦甚有理由相信市建局現時的行逕,很大可能違反政府《促進種族平等行政指引》的守則,隨函附上有關文件連結,以供市建局進行重建及制訂政策時參考。

最後,本組要求市建局應全面保障各少數族裔基本權益,並在現今及今後所有重建項目,實行以下具體措施:

1. 所有少數族裔因市區重建而須簽署的文件及表格,如人口凍結登記表格、簽收信件、法律協議文件等,市建局均應提供相關少數族裔語言的翻譯本,以確保不會有少數族裔居民因語言問題而誤簽或漏簽任何文件,失去本身應有權益。

2. 市建局的政策文件,包括巿區重建策略、受影響居民及商戶的賠償或安置政策、以及重建計劃的內容和時間表等等,均應提供本地常見少數族裔語言的翻譯本,包括但不限於:泰文(泰裔居民),Nepali(尼泊爾裔居民),Punjabi(印裔居民), Urdu(巴裔居民),和Bahasa Indonesia(印尼國語),並於局方網頁上以不同語言公開有關資訊,讓所有少數族裔的居民能瀏覽。

3. 市建局的重建政策甚為複雜艱澀,局方應聘請及培訓懂得少數族裔語言和文化的人士,向少數族裔居民解釋重建程序及相關權益,及由他們負責跟進居民在重建期間遇上的困難及安置問題。

4. 市建局如舉行任何與重建項目相關的會議或活動,應提供足夠的即時傳譯服務。

2019年3月12日

附件:

促進種族平等行政指引-
https://www.cmab.gov.hk/…/the_righ…/agpre/adm_guidelines.pdf

信件副本抄送至:
發展局、平等機會委員會、泰國移工工會、立法會張超雄議員、立法會邵家臻議員、天主教正義和平委員會、天主教勞工牧民中心、香港融樂會、基督教勵行會、土家、亞洲移住人士聯盟
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

old district autonomy advancement group (odaag)
Against ethnic discrimination from the Urban renewal authority Demend equal rights for ethnic minorities under urban renwal
On 22nd February, 2019, The Urban renewal authority (URA) has announced a new urban redevelopment project in Kowloon City, a district which has a vibrant Thai community. After the population freezing surveying date, we old district autonomy advancement group received complaints from thai residents that most announcements about the project were in chinese and a few of them in English. They told us that many of the thai residents are not fluent in either of the languages and no thai version were provided to inform thai residents of their rights. One of our member attended a briefing section organised by URA on 27th February, during which one thai resident raised the same issue with a lack of translated materials from URA. URA senior manager of community development Yun Sarah (殷倩華)  replied ‘We have only noticed the presence of thai people after we come to do population survey.’ Staff of URA also proclaimed that ‘the official languages of Hong Kong are Chinese and English.’ and they might ‘look into the matter.’ We are shocked by the preposterous responses from URA, which shows how the authority had been constantly overlooking the protection of ethnic minorities. We therefore want to point out that:

1. Is URA is “ignorant" or “discriminatory"?  As their earlier official report had already acknowledged the presence of ethnic minorities in Kowloon city.
In 2014, Kowloon City District Urban Renewal Forum, a consultation body set up by the development bureau, had submitted ‘The Urban Renewal Plan for Kowloon City’ to the government, concerning the future redevelopment plan of the area. The plan suggests that there are ethnic minorities in the area and will require assistance. We know that the executive director of URA had participated in the Forum as a official member. It is unacceptable that URA would claim that they do not know about the Thai community in the new renewal project. We quoted some lines from the report as to illustrate our points:

“The percentage of ethnic minority population in the district is 9%, which is higher than of the percentage in the overall Hong Kong population (6.4%). Excluding Filipino and Indonesian domestic workers and the relatively wealthy white people and Japanese, who are less impacted by urban renewal, Indian, Pakistani and Thai, are larger groups among the ethnic minorities of Hong Kong, affected in the zones targeted in urban renewal".

Translate from [Study on Urban Renewal Plan for Kowloon City – Final Report (in Chinese only), p.18]

There are a group of Pakistani and Indian living in this district. There are also shops catering for their needs and 2 mosques. From the interviews done by the SIA consultants and related social service groups, ethnic minorities usually live close to people of the same ethnicity, work in the urban districts, and their children go to schools that provide specialized education to ethnic minorities in the same district as they live. They form their community networks with their unique needs.

Translate from [Study on Urban Renewal Plan for Kowloon City – Final Report (in Chinese only), p.59]

According to the Urban Renewal Strategy, the URA is required to do a primary stage of Social Impact Assessment before the announcing the implementation of the project/scheme. In Item 1.2 of the SIA report published by the URA, it is said that the URA has referenced to the above “The Urban Renewal Plan for Kowloon City" by the Kowloon City District Urban Renewal Forum. Besides, the executive director of the URA is the official member of the Forum. We wonder if the URA is really “not knowing of the existence of ethnic minorities in the new project" or is “intentionally omitting these facts."

2. suggestions from social impact assessment report have been ignored for nearly five years

In the social impact assessment report conducted by The city university of Hong Kong and  commissioned by Kowloon City District Urban Forum, it has suggested that language barrier will be a major issue for the protection of ethnic minorities’ rights.

“Low accessibility to information and lack of right-awareness regarding urban renewal due to language issue: Due to language barrier, ethnic minorities’ access to information relating to urban renewal are highly restricted. Ethnic minority residents cannot read Chinese nor English letters, leases and legal documents, so they do not know how to protect their rights relating to urban renewal. “

Translate from [Study on Urban Renewal Plan for Kowloon City – Final Report (in Chinese only), p.30]

This SIA stresses the importance of “enhancing the accessibility of information of ethnic minority residents”, thus allowing them to understand the rights they have in urban renewal, in the future urban renewal of Kowloon City. Some of the substantial relieving measures includes:

  • Translation of promotional materials in languages familiar to the ethnic minorities, such as Thai for Thai, Punjabi for Indian, and Urdu for Pakistani.
  • Promotional practices and venues should match with the cultures of different ethnic minorities. For example, promotion to Thai residents should focus in the Kowloon City area (not the district), promotion through places in the area that serve Thai, or promotion through putting up posters on the outside of Thai shops.
  • Concerning the communication barriers faced by ethnic minorities and the respect to their cultures, the URA is recommended to hire staff that speak their languages and understand their cultures, and intervene in social worker’s ways to assist them when they are affected in the process of urban renewal.
  • Providing supportive service to ethnic minorities, such as interpretation service.

Translate from [Stage 1 Social Impact Assessment Report (in Chinese only), p.140 and 145]

Translate from [Social Impact Assessment – Final Report (in Chinese only),p.40]

This report has been submitted to the development bureau in 2014, 5 years before the announcement of the latest kowloon city project and none of the suggested practices were ever implemented. We argue that the social impact assessment procedure had not been given the appropriate attention by URA, rendering it as a mere ‘formality’ dominated by the government. We are shocked by URA’s lack of action to implement any if not all suggested practices from the report, which violate the basic rights of affected residents in the new redevelopment project.

3. Slow action of URA after huge public backlash
URA must safeguard ethnic minorities’ rights

We are aware that over the past two weeks, many organisations such as Thai Migrant Workers Union (TMWU) in Hong Kong, Fernando Cheung (Legislative Council members), Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Union, and Equal Opportunities Commission had raised similar concern to URA, or condemned the discriminatory practices in new development project. URA has finally decided to organise a meeting with interpretation service for the Thai community in March and prepare thai version documents after a public backlash.

However, we emphasize that there are various ethnic minority groups living in old districts targeted for redevelopment. For the last 20 years of its operation in area such as Sham Shui Po and Tai Kok Tsui where many Pakistani and Nepalese residents reside, URA had failed to design and distribute any materials in minority languages. We believe that such practice is possibly a violation of government’s Administrative Guidelines on Promotion of Racial Equality, and attach the Government’s guideline for URA reference.

Therefore, we ask that URA should implement these measures in all current and future redevelopment projects as ways of protecting the rights of ethnic minorities:

 

  • The Urban Renewal Authority should provide translated version in respective language of any documents that require signatures of residents, including the Freezing Survey Registration Form, receipts of notices or letters from URA, legal documents, etc, so to prevent them from being misinformed and therefore, losing their rights as affected residents under urban renewal.

 

  • The URA should provide translated versions of all policy documents, such as the Urban Renewal Strategy, rehousing and ex-gratia allowance policies for affected residents and business operators, details and timetable of the urban renewal project/scheme, etc, in languages used by the ethnic minorities, including but not limited to Thai, Nepali, Punjabi, Urdu and Bahasa Indonesia. These translated materials should become accessible on the URA website

 

  • URA should hire staff that are familiar with languages and cultures of different ethnic minorities in order to communicate the complicated process and policies of urban renewal and the basic rights of the affected community, and provide assistance to the affected ethnic minority residents when they encounter rehousing difficulties

 

  • URA should provide simultaneous interpretation service to any ethnic minority  participants in any of the urban renewal-related meetings or events held by the URA.

 

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