In response to a newspaper advertisement by the Hong Kong Chinese Christian Churches Union (HKCCCU) today (6 February 2014), the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) issues the following statements :-
As a statutory body mandated to enforce the anti-discrimination ordinances, the EOC is committed to the elimination of all types of discrimination in society. The EOC has been playing a proactive role in advocating equal opportunities issues beyond its jurisdiction and taking lead in the discussions on controversial issues in society, which include discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation.
The EOC believes that every individual should have the right to live a life of dignity and an individual’s sexual orientation and gender identity should be respected. The EOC Chairperson, Dr. York CHOW’s participation in the Pride Parade on 9 November 2013 was to raise public awareness on the needs to safeguard the equal opportunities and basic rights of people of different sexual orientations.
In view of Hong Kong’s obligations under the international covenants to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) and increasing public demand for introducing relevant legislation to protect the rights of the sexual minorities, the EOC advocates for legislation against discrimination on the basis of SOGI. The EOC Board has also endorsed the work of seeking legal protection for sexual minorities from discrimination on the grounds of SOGI as one of the priority areas in the EOC’s 3-year strategic plan.
In order to consult public views on measures to tackle discrimination against sexual minorities, the EOC is undertaking a study on discrimination on the grounds of SOGI. The study is a systematic research to identify discrimination, harassment and vilification encountered by the sexual minorities in the public domain, including employment, education and training, social interaction, public access, services and facilities, and management of premises. The study will also solicit views from stakeholders on the feasibility of outlawing discrimination on the ground of SOGI.
The EOC fully respects the views of different religious groups and welcomes any further opportunities for exchanging views on the subject. The EOC has clearly presented its relevant stance in a meeting between the HKCCCU and the EOC Chairperson and staff on 28 November 2013.
For media enquiries, please contact Ms. Mariana LAW at 2106-2226.
Equal Opportunities Commission
6 February 2014