Illustration by former EOC youth programme mentor Tina Ko

  1. 2017 International Day for Eliminating Racial Discrimination public event

Banner of the United Nation’s “Let’s Fight Racism” campaign
Quiz time!
1) What was the nationality of the person who started Kowloon Ferry Company, which eventually became the Star Ferry?
2) How many households in Hong Kong employ foreign domestic workers?
3) What was the motto of the Nepalese Gurkhas, who helped to maintain law and order in Hong Kong as part of the British army during the colonial years?
(The answers can be found at the end of this issue)

Few may be aware of the contributions the EM inhabitants have made to the Hong Kong society. Though comprising only a small fraction (about 6.5%) of the population, they have been playing an important part in weaving the fabric of the city. Sadly, due to their differences from the majority, they are often seen as outsiders, their existence effaced from social and political life. Despite their identity as Hong Kong residents, they suffer from discrimination in employment, education, service provision, and many other aspects of public life.
Racial discrimination – which manifests itself not only in forms of physical violence but also in the deprivation of equal opportunities – should find no place in the 21st century. Over 50 years ago in 1966, the United Nations proclaimed International Day for Eliminating Racial Discrimination (IDERD), following the tragic end to a protest against apartheid in South Africa. This commemorative day, observed on 21 March every year, is a reminder of the irrational and inhumane nature of racism.
The EOC is a supporter of IDERD. Since 2013, it has been organising an annual event to celebrate the day and promote social inclusion. This year’s event will take place on 12 March at Kowloonbay International Trade & Exhibition Centre. The guests include Government officials, legislators, leaders of EM communities, and representatives from NGOs. Some of them will share their efforts in promoting racial harmony.
The event is open to public and the participants can enjoy cultural performances and take part in interactive games to learn about various EM cultures that can be found in Hong Kong. Do join us on 12 March and immerse yourself in the joy of racial diversity!
Join us at the EOC’s IDERD public event
Date: 12 March 2017 (Sunday)
Time: 2:30pm to 4:00pm
Venue: Atrium, G/F, E-max, Kowloonbay International Trade & Exhibition Centre (Shuttle bus service is available between Kowloon Bay MTR station and the venue)

Information about past IDERD public events organised by the EOC


  1. Further submission to the Legislative Council on EM employment

On 13 February, the EOC made another submission to the Legislative Council Subcommittee on Rights of Ethnic Minorities to supplement its 9 January submission regarding the employment of EMs. The paper urged the Government to take extra steps to ensure that the occupational safety and employment rights of EMs are not jeopardised by language barriers, such as by requiring information on these two areas to be available in English and EM languages if necessary. The EOC also recommended more resources be invested in community interpretation services which are currently in shortage.

Read the EOC’s two submissions on EM employment


  1. Upholding gender equality on 8 March, and every other day

The World Economic Forum predicts that the gender gap will not close until the year 2186. That sounds incredible, doesn’t it, especially in a place like Hong Kong where women have full access to education and employment opportunities. The truth is that a lot of women  in Hong Kong are still held back  by  gender  stereotypes, the  glass  ceiling  and  family
responsibilities. And by looking at the complaints handled by the EOC, sexual harassment, and pregnancy and breastfeeding discrimination are commonplace.

International Women’s Day (IWD, 8 March), therefore, serves as a good opportunity for us to review what is yet to be done to accelerate gender parity. Just last week (21 February), The Women’s Commission (WoC) organised the “Unleashing Women’s Potential for All-Round Development” conference to discuss the development of women in Hong Kong. Representatives from the EOC attended the event to exchange views with other stakeholders, including those of the Gender Focal Point Networks, set up by WoC to promote gender awareness in both the public and private sectors. The EOC will also support the programmes of other women’s rights groups.

Additionally, our radio programme on RTHK Radio 2, Equal Opportunities Diversity Project, is zooming in on issues related to gender (and race, riding on IDERD). The scheduled programmes are listed below.

Upcoming programmes of Equal Opportunities Diversity Project
Time: Thursdays, 2:05pm to 2:30pm
Channel: FM 94.8-96.9 (you can also listen to the archives)

Date Guest Topic
23 Feb Mr NG Chau-pei, Chairman of The Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions and The Hon HO Kai-ming, Member of Legislative Council The rights of pregnant women, IWD programmes
2 March Ms Connie CHEUNG, Senior Manager, The Women’s Foundation and Mr POON Kwai-choi, secondary school teacher Gender stereotypes in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education; IWD programmes
9 March Hong Kong TransLingual Services Interpretation services for EMs and people with hearing impairments
23 March TBC IDERD and racial equality
30 March TBC IDERD and racial equality


  1. Government’s Equal Opportunities (Sexual Orientation) Funding Scheme open for applications (deadline: 31 March 2017)

A balance against a rainbow backgroundThe Equal Opportunities (Sexual Orientation) Funding Scheme, run by the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau (CMAB), is inviting applications for the year 2017/18. The Scheme subsidises non-profit-making community projects that help to promote equal opportunities and/or provide support services for the sexual minorities, with the grant for each project up to HK$200,000. Application submissions should be made on or before 31 March 2017. To obtain the application form and details, please refer to the CMAB’s website.

View details of the Scheme

Answers for the quiz on page 1:
1) Indian, the man was called Dorabjee Naorojee Mithaiwala (Source: website of Star Ferry Company, Limited)
2) There are about 340,000 foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong, who are employed by one in every seven households (Source: Migration Policy Institute)
3) The motto of the Gurkhas was “Better to die than be a coward” (Source: BBC online)


Visit our website or download the EOC mobile app to stay updated on the EOC’s work and positions, and to review our blog, The Chairperson's Perspectives, press releases, speeches, media interviews, and calendar training. Also, stay tuned on other equal opportunities issues and community initiatives by visiting our community resources and community events pages for information from our community partners, including publications, survey reports, publicity campaigns, and upcoming conferences.