The EOC Reports on Work Plans and Progress
Members of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) met on 19 September 2013 (Thursday) at the 103rd EOC Meeting and discussed various matters related to the Commission’s business.
With the appointment of new EOC Members, a strategic retreat was held for all EOC Members in September. Members discussed the role of the Commission in Hong Kong, the performance measurement of the EOC’s work and the key strategic areas for the next three years.
To achieve the mission of creating a pluralistic and inclusive society, Members agreed that the EOC should go against all forms of discrimination and advocate equality for all by going beyond the current remits of the four anti-discrimination ordinances. The public expects the EOC to play a proactive role in advocating human rights issues outside its jurisdiction and to lead discussions on controversial issues in the society at suitable times. Members suggested the EOC to enhance its engagement with the Government, concern groups and the business sector in order to perform its role effectively.
Members also identified and discussed new areas for consideration. There was consensus that discrimination legislation on sexual orientation and gender identity should be introduced. Other areas for consideration included the issue of age discrimination, discrimination against new migrants and mainlanders and discrimination against foreign domestic workers. The EOC office will form internal task groups to work on the agreed strategic work areas and also consider issues identified in the Retreat.
On the progress on the Discrimination Law Review, Members noted that the EOC’s working group had identified different areas for changes in the current law and proposed options for amendment. The EOC will then meet with representative stakeholders groups to obtain their feedback on the structure and contents of a consultation document and other related arrangements.
The Commission reviewed the work of the EOC in the first six months of 2013. Members noted that the EOC had completed a review of its internal operational procedures to streamline work and improve efficiency. By attempting the fast-track case handling arrangement, whereby early conciliation opportunities were offered before embarking on full investigation, the timing for concluded cases was shortened and the successful conciliation rate was enhanced. From January to June 2013, around 92% of the cases successfully conciliated were settled under the fast-track arrangement.
Members supported the EOC making prompt self-initiated investigations on suspected discriminatory acts related to accessibility, service provision, discriminatory recruitment practices, vilifying and harassing remarks on race and disability, as well as transport services. In light of investigation results, the EOC wrote to Government departments, transport operators and individual owners’ incorporations to advise them on practices that could be improved for persons with mobility disabilities.
Members also discussed the preparation work of the second EOC Forum to be held on 23 September 2013. The Forum would be a platform for the EOC Board to highlight the EOC’s past performance and introduce new directions and initiatives to the public.
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Equal Opportunities Commission
19 September 2013