Why Civil Society Must Step Up to Welcome Hong Kongers

On Thursday 11 February, UK Welcomes Refugees held an online panel discussion discussing the role civil society in the UK should play in building a welcoming country for Hong Kongers. Click here to watch the recording of this event.


The panel, chaired by Neil Jameson CBE, was made up of the following speakers:


Benedict Rogers – Human rights activist and writer, he is the co-founder and Chief Executive of Hong Kong Watch. He lived and worked in Hong Kong from 1997-2002 and has written extensively on Hong Kong in major international media. He also serves as a founding trustee of Hong Kong ARC and an advisor to the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC).

Debbie Weekes-Bernard – London Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility, Community Engagement. Debbie works to improve Londoners’ life chances and to boost social integration and community voice across the Mayor’s programmes. She leads the promotion of equalities and active citizenship across London and makes sure City Hall actively seeks to tackle poverty for Londoners across all groups.

Danny Kruger MBE MP – has been the Conservative MP for Devizes in Somerset since 2019. Prior to entering Parliament he set up and worked for the youth crime prevention charity, ‘Only Connect’. He was also Senior Fellow at the Legatum Institute, David Cameron’s Speech Writer, adviser to the Dept for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and in 2019 became Political Secretary to the Prime Minister. In 2020 he completed the formative ‘Levelling Up our Communities Report’ commissioned by Boris Johnson, commending Community Sponsorship of Refugees.

Stephen Kinnock MP – has been Labour MP for Aberavon since 2015 and is Shadow Minster for Asia and the Pacific. He leads on the issue of Hong Kong for the Labour party in Parliament He has in-depth experience of business and of working internationally, having spent over twenty years working in the private sector. He has lived and worked in Brussels, Russia, Sierra Leone and Switzerland and speaks five languages fluently.

Dr Krish Kandiah – Founding Director of ‘Home for Good’ a pioneering fostering and adoption agency and now Chairs the Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board at Department of Education; he is also a Baptist Minister and very recently launched the Hong Kong Welcome Churches movement to welcome HK BNO passport holders and others who have the right to come to the UK from February 1st.

Fred Wong – Operations Team, Hong Kong Assistance and Resettlement Community (HK ARC) to welcome and advise your Hong Kongers seeking a home and sanctuary in the UK.

Bekele Woyecha – Director of UK Welcomes Refugees, an organisation set up to strengthen the Community Sponsorship movement. Bekele is working with his local group to build a Community Sponsorship group and welcome a family through the scheme. Bekele is a former refugee from Ethiopia and will speak about his experience moving to the UK and on feeling welcomed.

Neil Jameson CBE (Chair) – Founder and Executive Director of Citizens UK from 1988 to 2018. He has been a consultant and supporter of Hong Kong Citizens and visited in 2017. Neil is an active member of two Community Sponsorship groups in London: West End Welcomes Refugees and Whitechapel Welcomes Refugees. He understands the importance of organised community to making new migrants feel welcome.


Click here to watch the recording of this event.


Read more

“The vast number of people who will be coming, will be coming legitimately, do need to be welcomed, do need ideally to have a trusted group to go to in the places they choose to settle.”
Neil Jameson, chair of our board, speaks to VOA News about the need to welcome Hongkongers to the UK. Read the full article here.