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The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC)’s response to the Policy Address 2017

11/10/2017

 

The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) today (11 October 2017) welcomes the new initiatives to promote equal opportunities in the Policy Address 2017, particularly the Government’s plan of submitting legislative amendment proposals to the Legislative Council in the 2017-18 legislative session for implementing nine priority recommendations under the Discrimination Law Review as proposed by the EOC in 2016.


The EOC Chairperson, Prof Alfred CHAN Cheung-ming, said, “The EOC is encouraged to learn about the Government’s affirmative response to some of the recommendations submitted last year by the EOC under the Discrimination Law Review, and that a clear timeline has been set for the legal reform. However, we hope that the Government will seriously consider and speed up the processing of other priority recommendations by the EOC as well, such as the introduction of a duty to provide reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities across multiple domains. Such reforms are essential, without which it will be difficult to eliminate systemic discrimination and promote equal opportunities for the protected individuals.


The EOC welcomes the Government’s initiatives to implement measures to provide assistance and facilitation for people with disabilities when they apply for government jobs and to review systematically the entry requirement relating to Chinese proficiency for all the grades of the civil service to increase government job opportunities for ethnic minorities. Prof CHAN said, “The EOC has always been very concerned about the equal rights of people with disabilities and the ethnic minorities, particularly in the field of employment. We have identified the promotion of equal opportunities in education, employment and provision of services for people with disabilities and the ethnic minorities as the EOC’s work priorities and organisation goals. In the last few years, we have reached out to the Government and various parties in the society to encourage them to improve the employment opportunities for people with disabilities and the ethnic minorities and undertaken research, advocacy and promotion work for the purpose. We will definitely stay closely in touch with the Government and other relevant institutions to advise on relevant policies and measures.”


Regarding the initiatives on education and social welfare in the Policy Address, Prof CHAN said, “The EOC is glad to see the Government respond actively to the voices in society, by putting forward measures such as the regularisation of the ‘Pilot Scheme on On-site Pre-school Rehabilitation Services’, the increase in the number of paternity leave from 3 days to 5 days and providing more assistance to patients with rare diseases. These measures would advance equal opportunities for the concerned individuals and contribute towards the creation of a caring and inclusive society.”


Prof CHAN mentioned that the EOC will continue to join hands with the Government in promoting equal opportunities and implementing the measures related to human rights and equal opportunities outlined in the Policy Agenda. “Regarding the promotion of equal opportunities for people with different sexual orientation and gender identity, the EOC hopes that the Government will speed up the implementation of public consultation and legislative work. As stated in the Policy Agenda, the promotion of equal opportunities for people of different sexual orientation and gender identity is essential in fostering the culture and values of inclusiveness and mutual respect in the community. Legislation would not only protect these people from discrimination, but also attract talents and consolidate Hong Kong’s status as an international city. The EOC will follow up with the Government and encourage stakeholders and different parties to discuss relevant issues and share their ideas with the Government.”
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For media enquiries, please contact Mr. Sam HO on 2106-2187.

The Equal Opportunities Commission

11 October 2017

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