The EOC Reports on Work Plans and Progress
Members of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) met on 20 June 2013 (Thursday) at the 102th EOC Meeting. Dr. York CHOW, the EOC Chairperson, welcomed the new Members and expressed the Commission’s gratitude to the Members who had finished their terms in May 2013. At this meeting, Members discussed various matters related to the Commission’s business.
Since Dr. York CHOW assumed office as the EOC Chairperson in April 2013, he has met with over 130 different stakeholder groups to understand their needs and concerns and to solicit their views on the EOC’s work. After carefully considering the views of the stakeholders and the EOC Members, a three-year strategic plan has been mapped out with five priority areas : (1) Discrimination Law Review; (2) Legal protection for sexual minorities from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity; (3) Education and employment opportunities for ethnic minorities; (4) Integrated education for students with special educational needs (SEN) and its impact on employment opportunities and (5) Disability discrimination in the performance of government functions. Based on Members’ advice, the Commission would develop action plans and timelines for the new initiatives.
In addition to the above five priority areas, the EOC will also devote its resources to three ongoing major undertakings, namely the Anti-sexual Harassment Campaign, review of the Code of Practice on Employment under the Sex Discrimination Ordinance, and will continue to advocate accessibility in the built environment as well as information and communications technologies.
The EOC Board discussed the details and scopes of the Discrimination Law Review (DLR), which the Commission had committed to undertake since March this year. The EOC staff formed the DLR project taskforce to conduct an internal review and develop the strategy for the project. In meeting with the EOC Chairperson, a number of stakeholders indicated their support to simplify and consolidate the existing discrimination ordinances into a single ordinance, with strengthened protection on existing grounds as well as addition of new grounds such as sexual orientation and gender identity.
Members recommended the EOC to identify and consult the public on possible amendments of existing discrimination ordinances, as well as consultation on the addition of new grounds for sexual orientation and gender identity. Both consultations are preliminarily scheduled for 2014. After consultation with stakeholders and the public, the EOC would consider all the views gathered and prepare a final submission to the Government.
The EOC Members also discussed the plan of organizing the second EOC Forum in September this year. The aim of the Forum is to enhance the EOC’s transparency and to improve its governance by obtaining views from stakeholders. The Forum will be a platform for the EOC Board to highlight the EOC’s past performance and introduce new directions and initiatives to the public. The first EOC Forum was successfully conducted in 2012 and participants’ feedback was positive. Members agreed that a similar event should be considered for 2013. As such, all key stakeholders of the EOC such as concern groups from related constituencies, NGOs, members of the Legislative and District Councils, consulates, employer organizations, trade unions and government representatives, etc. will be invited.
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Equal Opportunities Commission
20 June 2013