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The EOC Issues Statement on Remarks made by a Legislative Councillor on Mental Illness

17/12/2015

In response to media enquiries about the remarks made by a Member of the Legislative Council on mental illness at the Council meeting yesterday (16 December 2015), the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) has issued the following statement today (17 December 2015):

“The EOC considers that the remarks, which included discriminatory wordings, were inappropriate. The description of mental illness would deepen the misunderstanding of mental illness among the general public and their negative perception of people with the illness. Furthermore, the remarks may discourage some patients from seeking help, thereby posing obstacles to their recovery.”

“Under the Disability Discrimination Ordinance, Cap. 487, it is unlawful to discriminate, harass or vilify a person on the ground of the person’s disability. Disability vilification is an activity in public which incites hatred towards, serious contempt for, or severe ridicule of people with a disability.”

“Through the years, the EOC has received and handled a number of complaints concerning discrimination faced by people with mental illness, which underlined the fact that there remain incorrect views of mental illness in the society. Indeed, such prejudice and discrimination prevent those with mental illness from integrating into the society and leading a life of dignity. In this respect, the views and remarks of Legislative Councillors do have significant impact on the public’s perception and understanding of the illness. As such, it is important for legislators to refrain from making negative and discriminatory remarks. Instead, they should take the lead and encourage the public to have greater understanding and acceptance of people with mental illness.”

“The EOC will continue to spread the messages of equality and inclusion to different sectors of the community, and encourage the public to avoid stereotyping thinking and prejudice against mental illness. Together we will strive to build a society of equality for all.”

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For media enquiries, please contact Mr. Sam HO at 2106-2187.

Equal Opportunities Commission
17 December 2015

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