LegCo Presidents & Members Join Leaders from the Government and Other Sectors to Celebrate the EOC’s 20th Anniversary
This evening (17 November 2016), at The Harbourview in Wan Chai, the current and four past Chairpersons of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) welcomed some 200 guests, including top Government officials, legislators, members of the consular corps, and heads of public organisations and NGOs, to an important occasion – the 20th Anniversary Reception of the EOC, which was established in 1996 and has been tirelessly advancing the equality frontiers in Hong Kong for two decades.
A lights-up ceremony was conducted at the event to symbolise the new milestone – both for the EOC and for Hong Kong. Performing the ceremony were the Honourable Jasper TSANG Yok-sing, GBM, GBS, JP, former President of the Legislative Council (LegCo) and the event’s Guest of Honour; The Honourable Andrew LEUNG Kwan-yuen, GBS, JP, current LegCo President; the Honourable Professor Anthony CHEUNG Bing-leung, GBS, JP, Secretary for Transport and Housing; The Honourable Matthew CHEUNG Kin-chung, GBS, JP, Secretary for Labour and Welfare; The Honourable Eddie NG Hak-kim, SBS, JP, Secretary for Education; and Mr Ronald CHAN Ngok-pang, JP, Acting Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs. Alongside were Professor Alfred CHAN Cheung-ming, SBS, JP, present EOC Chairperson; and four former EOC Chairpersons, namely Professor Fanny CHEUNG Mui-ching, SBS, OBE, JP, The Honourable Anna WU Hung-yuk, GBS, JP, Mrs Patricia CHU YEUNG Pak-yu, BBS, and Mr Raymond TANG Yee-bong.
Other guests attending the reception included senior government officials, Legislative Council Members, representatives from Consulates, former and current EOC Board Members, heads of NGOs and universities, and representatives from media organisations.
Speaking at the event’s opening, current EOC Chairperson Professor Alfred CHAN expressed his gratitude to those who have supported the EOC. He said, “On this special occasion, I would like to pay tribute to the pioneers and collaborators of the EOC who have walked along this journey to equality with us in the past two decades. With the support and collaboration of our allies and friends, the concept of equal opportunities is increasingly gaining recognition and awareness in our community.”
He also shared his vision for the future of the Commission, remarking, “Looking ahead, we believe it is time to take the work of the EOC to the next level. We will continue our effort to uphold and mainstream equal opportunities in society. We will facilitate greater and wider collaboration between the Government, public and private sectors, as well as the community. We will push for stronger legal framework, and drive further progress in having equal opportunity values embedded in the policies and agendas of organisations.”
The Honourable Jasper TSANG said, “I must commend the EOC on the good work it has done throughout the years. I have met Professor Chan and the two previous chairpersons of the EOC at a large number of functions promoting equal opportunities, and I am impressed by their commitment to building a compassionate society.”
In addition to speeches, the event featured sharing by the four former EOC Chairpersons. Founding Chairperson Professor Fanny CHEUNG stated: “Over the years, the EOC has become an institution that is part and parcel of a fair society in Hong Kong. The public looks to the EOC as their anti-discrimination champion, not only on the grounds of the existing legislation, but also on equal opportunities issues in general.” Echoing Professor Cheung’s remarks, The Honourable Anna WU said: “We should not have victims of any form of discrimination suffering in silence and not be given remedies. Equal opportunities is about people being different, it is not about sameness. Hence it is about not fearing difference and learning to respect all individuals however different we are.”
After members from the business sectors shared their best practices in fostering an inclusive workplace, a prize presentation ceremony was held, in which the winners of the EOC’s slogan competition and multi-media competition, two highlights of the anniversary initiatives, received prizes from the EOC Committee Convenors. Meanwhile, each guest received as souvenir a copy of 20 Years and Beyond: The Road to Equality, a commemorative publication showcasing the milestones and work of the EOC over the past two decades, with motivational messages from key stakeholders. The book is also available online at the EOC website www.eoc.org.hk.
The EOC was set up in 1996 as a statutory body following the enactment of the Sex Discrimination Ordinance. Today, it is tasked with implementing this ordinance together with the Disability Discrimination Ordinance, the Family Status Discrimination Ordinance, and the Race Discrimination Ordinance.
Further to enforcing the anti-discrimination laws, the Commission strives to help people facing discrimination seek redress through conciliation and legal actions whenever appropriate. It is also tasked with the significant mission to provide policy advocacy, training for companies and organisations from both the public and private sectors, and education to the general public, with a view to mainstreaming the values of equal opportunities.
Between September 1996 and August 2016, the EOC handled over 13,300 complaints and secured over HK$100 million in compensation for those who suffer from discrimination through conciliation or legal actions.
For details on the EOC’s work, please visit www.eoc.org.hk.
For media enquiries, please contact Mr Sam HO (Tel: 2106-2187).
Equal Opportunities Commission
17 November 2016