Hong Kong domestic workers lose residency case #Vaw #migrantworkers


Top court denies domestic workers from Philippines the same status that is available to other foreigners after seven years

Hong Kong's top court has denied residency to two maids from the Philippines

Hong Kong’s top court has denied permanent residency to two maids from the Philippines. Photograph: Alamy

Hong Kong‘s top court has denied permanent residency to two domestic helpers from the Philippines in the final decision of a legal case with implications for tens of thousands of other foreign maids in the southern Chinese financial hub.

The court of final appeal issued its unanimous 5-0 ruling on Monday. The two had argued that an immigration provision barring domestic workers from permanent residency was unconstitutional.

The ruling sided with the government’s position that domestic helpers are not the same as other foreign residents.

The decision means Evangeline Banao Vallejos and Daniel Domingo are not allowed to apply to settle permanently after living for at least seven years in Hong Kong.

The case has split the city, home to nearly 300,000 maids from mainly south-east Asian countries. Some argue that barring maids from applying for residency amounts to ethnic discrimination. But other groups have raised fears that the case would result in a massive influx of maids’ family members to Hong Kong, straining the densely populated city’s social services and health and education systems. Supporters of the maids say those fears are overblown.

Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China and permanent residency is the closest thing it has to citizenship.

Foreigners who work in other professions are eligible for permanent residency after living in Hong Kong for seven years. Those who have it can vote and work without needing a visa.

Government figures cited by a lower court in this case said an estimated 117,000 foreign maids had been in Hong Kong for that length of time as of 2010.

 

#India- New guidelines for handling sexual assault cases in hospitals #Vaw #womenrights


GAURAV VIVEK BHATNAGAR

A new set of guidelines have been recently issued by the Department of Health and Family Welfare for “rapid response by hospitals in case of medico legal case (MLC) examination of sexual assault victims’’. These instructions have come in the wake of the December 16 gang-rape case in which the preparedness at a city hospital was found allegedly somewhat lacking while handling the victim.

As per these new guidelines, sent by the Department to all the directors and medical superintendents of Delhi Government hospitals on January 28, when the victims of sexual assault are brought to the hospitals by the police or otherwise for MLC and treatment then as per the provisions of Section 164 A (2) of the Criminal Procedure Code it should be done “promptly and without delay’’.

“As the victims of sexual assault are traumatised and their physical condition and state of mind are unstable, handling of their case required sensitivity, empathy and compassion,’’ the order noted adding that “therefore, the examining doctor must throughout remain re-assuring, empathetic and sensitive to the victim and should also provide due privacy.’’

Further, the order has noted that in consonance with the directions of the Delhi High Court on performing MLC, “in order to provide privacy to the victim, a separate room should be identified by the director/medical superintendent and marked in all hospitals where the victims can be examined by the attending doctor’’.

Stating that “the room number should be known to the doctors in emergency duty’’, the guidelines further state that “the room should have proper furniture required for medical examination’’ and “the basic equipments, adequate stock of sexual assault forensic evidence (SAFE) kit etc., should be kept available in the room for collection of the forensic evidence.’’

The guidelines also lay down that “the hospital should also provide clothing to the victim in case the victim’s clothes are taken as evidence or action otherwise required fresh clothes to be given’’.

“The hospital should also provide toiletries to the victim after the MLC examination has been concluded,’’ the guidelines note.

For better preparedness to deal with such cases, it has been stated that the director or medical superintendent will arrange periodic training sessions to the doctors on the protocols and guidelines on the MLC examinations/reporting in case of sexual assault victims.’’

These officials are now also required to “organise sensitisation workshop for hospital staff, and medical and paramedical staff in collaboration with the Delhi Commission for Women.’’

Further, it has been stated that “in case where counselling of the victim is required, the same should be provided by the hospital’s own pool of doctors and if that is not available, then the Crisis Intervention Centre, which provides counsellor should be informed’’.

 

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