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Archive for July, 2008

Sister Aida Casambre, member of the Justice for Vicky concern group and tireless worker for social justice with the Diocesan Pastoral Centre for Filipinos, will visit Vicky’s mother when she returns to the Philippines for a 6-month sabbatical next week.

Sr. Aida will explain the efforts of various groups seeking justice on Vicky’s behalf, the current state of the police investigation and any other matters of interest.

We wish Sr. Aida all the best and look forward to seeing her again when she returns to Hong Kong next year.

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In a letter responding to our request last month for more information about the early police investigation into Vicky’s disappearance and death, the Lantau District Commander has informed us that “a death inquest is very likely to be held”.

This, of course, is not the first time that the possibility of an inquest has been raised, but it is the first time that the District Commander has expressed the likelihood in writing.

The statement corroborates independent advice about the likelihood of an inquest that the Justice for Vicky concern group received recently.

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The Know Your Rights seminar for domestic helpers held in Discovery Bay today, 27 June, was very successful. Attracting 70 participants, the event covered rights in relation to employment, the police and the Immigration Department.

The participants were eager to ask questions, and presenter Holly Allan, Manger of Helpers for Domestic Helpers, offered very practical advice at all times.

The event concluded with a short talk by Sol Pilas, a representative of UNIFIL Hong Kong and member of the Justice for Vicky concern group, updating participants about the ongoing campaign to return domestic helper wages to the 2003 level and abolish the levy paid by employers.

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It is very encouraging to see the recent comments on the importance of knowing your rights, even though not having to defend them would be a much more hopeful scenario. Still, the reality of being a domestic helper in Hong Kong is not always promising.

For those of you who have the time, an easy to read academic study of how Filipino domestic helpers in particular are treated in Hong Kong Hong, including social attitudes towards them and how the justice system treats them, has recently been made available free online.

Estelle Kennelly’s ‘Culture of Indifference: Dilemmas of the Filipina Domestic Helpers in Hong Kong’ covers the situation until 2007, but mainly focuses on the period from mid-1999 to early 2001. Kennelly worked with and around migrant women’s shelters, including those associated with the Mission for Migrant Workers.

Her major finding, which is obvious to many but should be stated openly, is that a culture of indifference towards foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong fosters abuse. The study, a PhD thesis, is a very important document.

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The Know Your Rights seminar will be held on 27 July in Discovery Bay. The details are as follows:

  • Date: Sunday 27 July
  • Venue: Multi-Purpose Hall at the back of Park ‘N Shop
  • Time: 2.00 PM to 5.00 PM
  • Presenter: Mrs Holly Allan, Manager of Helpers for Domestic Helpers

As mentioned previously, Holly is very experienced in explaining legal rights for domestic helpers, and approached us to help her organise the event. She will be more than happy to answer all the questions she can during her talk.

The seminar is open to domestic helpers and their supporters of all nationalities.

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A note to all readers. Any comments that contain personal abuse will be deleted. That includes all comments from “chedycorum”, who should find something better to do with her life.

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Payout Now Banked

Irene has now managed to deposit the payout for Vicky’s salary and long service entitlements with Metrobank in the Philippines. In doing so she was aided by the Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong and the Department of Foreign Affairs in the Philippines.

The money will not be available to Vicky’s elderly mother for another month, but the situation has certainly improved since our last report.

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