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After the Oliver Stone film “Snowden” was released in September 2016, the world learned about Edward Snowden having been provided a safe haven and refuge in Hong Kong by the destitute “Snowden Refugees”.
Instead of being recognized as brave individuals who selflessly protected Mr Snowden, the Hong Kong government launched a systematic campaign to harass, oppress and punish the Snowden Refugees, with a view to deport them from Hong Kong as quickly as possible.
By October 2017, the Hong Kong government had utilized the Social Welfare Department, its Swiss based Contractor International Social Services, and the Immigration Department to target and punish the Snowden Refugees. These well-planned systemic efforts escalated with the Hong Kong police targeting the Snowden Refugees, instead of providing protection to them.
The Hong Kong government has been aggressively seeking to rapidly remove Vanessa and her stateless daughter to the Philippines under conditions of a nation-wide state of emergency, martial law in Mindanao and a recently catalyzed nation-wide civil war with the National People’s Army. In the name of a war on drugs, President Duterte directed the well-planned and systematic use of torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings of tens of thousands of innocent civilians including politicians, with no end in sight. His actions amount to crimes against humanity.
The Hong Kong government also seeks to deport the Sri Lankan Snowden Refugees to a country accused of having committed war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, with its current Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe accused of being complicit in war crimes and crimes against humanity. Today Sri Lanka is plagued by systemic use of torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings with no end in sight.
In the above context, the Hong Kong government has failed to protect the Snowden Refugees and in fact have taken steps to put them in harms’ way both in Hong Kong and their countries of origin.