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The EOC Reports on Work Plans and Progress

17/09/2015

Members of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) met today (Thursday, 17 September 2015) at the 111th EOC meeting and discussed various matters related to the Commission’s business.

Dr York CHOW, Chairperson of the EOC, reported on the progress of the Commission’s work plan and the major work items before the end of 2015, namely organising the EOC Public Forum on 24 November 2015 to engage stakeholders in discussing the Commission’s work, and other initiatives on equal opportunity issues in Hong Kong.

“As part of the EOC’s continuous effort and commitment to increasing transparency of our work, we have been organising the Public Forum annually since 2012,” said Dr Chow. “The occasion not only served to enhance the EOC’s communication with stakeholders, but also deepen their understanding of the Commission’s work, with a view to enlisting their support to the EOC’s endeavours.”

Tentatively scheduled for 24 November 2015 at the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups Building adjacent to the Quarry Bay MTR Station (Exit C), the Public Forum will feature report on the EOC’s work progress and achievements by the Convenors of the respective EOC Committees, and sharing of the Commission’s future work plan. This year, the EOC has chosen “Ethnic Minorities Education and Employment Challenges” as the special theme of the Public Forum.

Dr Chow explained: “The EOC has all along held great concerns about the systemic barriers faced by ethnic minorities in Hong Kong, and indeed named this issue one of our strategic priority work areas. Last year, we set up a dedicated ‘Ethnic Minorities Unit’ with additional recurrent funding from the Government. Adopting a multi-pronged approach, the Unit strives to strengthen the systemic support for ethnic minority students in learning Chinese, enhance the employment opportunities of ethnic minorities, and deepen social understanding and inclusion of ethnic minority communities by promoting greater cultural sensitivity across different sectors.”

At the Public Forum on 24 November, the EOC will introduce the strategies and work of the EOC’s Ethnic Minorities Unit. Arrangements are also being made to invite representatives from the Government and from both the public and private sectors to share their relevant policies and practices on enhancing the educational and employment opportunities of ethnic minorities in Hong Kong. “We are eager to hear from stakeholders at the Public Forum about how we may mobilise greater collaboration between different sectors, and provide more structured and systematic support to our ethnic minority communities.”

At the EOC meeting today, Members also noted the progress of the Discrimination Law Review and the Feasibility Study on Legislating against Discrimination on the Grounds of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status (the Study). In regard to the former, Members were informed that the EOC has almost completed the recording and analysis of the 130,000-plus submissions made by individuals and organisations, and is planning to submit a report, along with the Commission’s recommendations on the law reforms, to the Government in early 2016. As for the Study, the research team at the Gender Research Centre of the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies of The Chinese University of Hong Kong is currently refining the Study Report, which will be presented to the EOC Members for consideration and afterwards released to the public around the end of 2015.

In addition to the above work progress, Members reviewed the complaint statistics from January to June 2015, and noted that the number of complaints received by the EOC increased by 11% year-on-year to 342. Together with the complaints carried forward from last year and those initiated by the EOC, the Commission handled a total of 545 complaints in the first half of 2015, as compared to 530 in the same period of 2014. Complaints filed under the Disability Discrimination Ordinance continued to take up the largest share, which increased by 10% over the same period of last year to 312 cases.
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Equal Opportunities Commission
17 September 2015
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