The EOC Reports on Work Plans and Progress
Members of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) met on 15 March 2012 (Thursday) at the 94th EOC Meeting and discussed various matters related to the Commission’s business.
In view of the challenges identified in a brainstorming session held in January 2012 for all EOC Members to discuss the future directions of the Commission in the 3-5 years ahead, Members agreed on a number of possible measures to tackle the challenges and suggested that the respective EOC committees should follow them up.
Members expressed that the EOC should play a more active role in advocating human right issues including those outside EOC’s jurisdiction. In addition, the EOC should also lead discussions on controversial issues in society and push the Government for more resources and attention.
Members proposed the EOC to focus more on strategic planning and to give priority to projects that are impactful on society and develop action plans based on desired outcomes. An important improvement measure is to step up promotional and educational efforts on various areas such as urging the Education Bureau to incorporate EO concepts in mainstream education as part of the school curriculum and to step up efforts in providing education for teachers and parents.
Members also suggested the EOC to create strategic partnerships with NGOs and concern groups to allow more efficient use of resources and to enhance media relations and manage public expectations through increased communications and regular liaison.
The Commission reviewed the work of the EOC in 2011. Members noted that the number of public enquiries had increased considerably, in particular for specific enquiries which jumped from 6,487 to 8,105 cases, or some 25%, compared with that of 2010. This reflects that the public is increasingly concerned with equal opportunities issues. Members also noticed that the EOC had been enhancing communications with ethnic minority communities by, among other work programmes, contributing monthly articles to an Indonesian newspaper, a Nepalese newspaper and a Thai newspaper. Starting in 2012, the EOC will take part in Thai Voice, a programme on Digital We Channel of the Digital Broadcasting Corporation Hong Kong Limited, to explain the anti-discrimination ordinances through some of our conciliated cases.
Members discussed the survey report of the “In-depth Study on Racial Encounters and Experience in Discrimination” and planned to release the important findings via a press briefing in late March 2012.
Members also noted a significant increase of 85% in the number of legal assistance granted by the EOC, from 13 cases in 2010 to 24 cases in 2011. The nature of these cases corresponded with the general pattern of complaints received by the EOC, with the majority of complaints on pregnancy discrimination, sexual harassment, disability discrimination and access to premises.
Media enquiries: Ms. Mariana LAW (Tel : 2106-2226)
Equal Opportunities Commission
15 March 2012