The EOC Reports on Work Plans and Progress
Members of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) met on 19 June 2014 (Thursday) at the 106th EOC Meeting and discussed various matters related to the Commission’s business.
The Commission welcomes the Government responding to the EOC’s recommendation of amending the Sex Discrimination Ordinance (SDO) to provide protection from sexual harassment for service providers by customers. EOC Members are pleased that the Government will introduce the Sex Discrimination (Amendment) Bill 2014 into the Legislative Council (LegCo) on June 25 to amend the SDO, which will render any sexual harassment by customers against providers of goods, facilities or services unlawful. The legislative amendment will provide important protection for hundreds of thousands of workers in the service sector.
Members noted that in response to the recent media reports on the stereotyping of racial groups in a primary school textbook, the EOC Chairperson had written a letter to the Secretary for Education, urging the Education Bureau to consider developing equal opportunities educational materials jointly with the Curriculum Development Institute so as to ensure the concepts related to equal opportunities, including racial integration, are presented in an accurate and appropriate manner. The EOC reiterated the significance of education in removing stereotypical perceptions and instilling the values of equality and inclusiveness in students.
Meanwhile, EOC Members discussed the major work projects that the Commission will embark on this summer, namely the launching of the public consultation on the Discrimination Law Review, holding an international symposium on sharing experiences of promoting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in Hong Kong and the European Union, conducting the Study on Discrimination in the Hong Kong Workplace and the Exploratory Study on Age Discrimination in Employment, as well as setting up a dedicated multi-ethnic Task Force to promote racial integration and advocating equal opportunities for ethnic minorities. The EOC will announce the details of the each of these projects in due course.
With a view to modernizing and harmonizing the four anti-discrimination Ordinances, the EOC has undertaken a comprehensive review of the legislation in light of the last 18 years of experience in Hong Kong as well as international developments. The Commission will release a Consultation Report and launch a three-month public consultation in July this year. Members of the public and all relevant stakeholders will be invited to submit their views to the EOC for analysis and consolidation. Based on the feedback and the operational experience of the EOC, recommendations for law amendments will be drawn up and put to the Government.
Additionally, with the objective to share experiences of overseas countries on promoting LGBTI rights and legislating against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, the EOC will partner with European Union Office to Hong Kong and Macao, the Gender Research Centre, Hong Kong Institute of Asia Pacific Studies of The Chinese University of Hong Kong to organize a symposium in Hong Kong on 28 and 29 August 2014. All major stakeholders in Hong Kong, namely Government officials, Legislative Council Members, academics, representatives from the concern groups and NGOs, business corporations and religious groups will be invited to the symposium.
Furthermore, the Gender Research Centre, Hong Kong Institute of Asia Pacific Studies of The Chinese University of Hong Kong will organize a number of public forums, as part of the EOC’s Feasibility Study on the Grounds of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status for relevant stakeholders to share their views and concerns on the subject matter on 29 June, 30 August and 27 September 2014 respectively. Interested parties can register for the public forums on the dedicated website at www.cuhk.edu.hk/research/sogistudy.
The Commission also reviewed the complaint statistics from January to May 2014. Members noted that the complaints received under the Sex Discrimination Ordinance (SDO) increased to 96, compared to 88 in the same period of last year. Under the Disability Discrimination Ordinance (DDO), up until May this year, 130 complaints were received, while 147 cases were received over the same period in 2013. Race Discrimination Ordinance (RDO) and Family Status Discrimination Ordinance (FSDO) complaints totaled 25 and 13 cases respectively in the first five months of 2014.
For media enquiries, please contact Ms. Mariana LAW at 2106-2226.
Equal Opportunities Commission
19 June 2014