Conference Held in Hong Kong to Promote Equality in the Asia Pacific
(Hong Kong, 20 September 2018) For two days on 20 and 21 September 2018, over 270 participants from Hong Kong and around the Asia-Pacific region are meeting for the “Conference on Equality in the Asia Pacific 2018: Progress and Challenges”. This Conference, co-organised by the city’s Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) and the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions (APF), will include some 70 leaders of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) from 25 countries and over 200 representatives from Consulates General, chambers of commerce, academic institutions, government departments, public bodies, NGOs and the legislature in Hong Kong. Together they will examine the progress and challenges of advancing equality in the region, especially in relation to women, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities.
Explaining the reason for co-organising the Conference with APF, EOC Chairperson Professor Alfred CHAN Cheung-ming said, “The EOC enjoys a longstanding affiliation with the APF, both organisations being founded in 1996. Over the years, the EOC has regularly attended the APF’s biennial conferences as an observer. The EOC also co-hosted a regional workshop with the APF in Hong Kong in 2001. Since the APF is holding its 23rd Annual General Meeting in Hong Kong from 18 to 19 September, the APF and EOC decided to partner together to facilitate a discussion amongst NHRIs and other stakeholders, with a view to further promoting an exchange of insights and expertise on significant issues of equality that are relevant across Asia and the Pacific.”
“The Conference is set to provide a platform for discussing the progress we have made on local and regional levels, our ongoing and future challenges, as well as best practices and policies in eliminating discrimination and inequality. It also showcases Hong Kong’s leading role among other Asian cities in promoting diverse, equal and inclusive policies,” Professor Chan continued. “We are hopeful that the experience and knowledge shared can have a positive impact on the equality landscape of the region.”
APF Chairperson Dr Sima SAMAR said, “The APF is delighted to partner with the EOC in organising this Conference. It is an important opportunity to bring together representatives from NHRIs and other equality bodies across the Asia Pacific and experts in Hong Kong to analyse issues of equality in the region. Although there are differences in social, cultural and political contexts across the region, common challenges on issues of equality remain and should be addressed.”
The Conference features an ensemble of respected and inspirational pioneers and advocates of equality from different places and sectors. At this afternoon’s session, Ms Katia CHIRIZZI, Deputy Regional Representative, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, South-East Asia Regional Office and Professor Fanny MC CHEUNG, Pro-Vice-Chancellor/Vice-President of The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Founding Chairperson of the EOC gave an overview of the progress of equality in Asia Pacific and Hong Kong.
Over the afternoon and tomorrow (21 September), the Conference will also address the progress and challenges of advancing equality for women, ethnic minorities and persons with disabilities. Specifically, panel discussions will look into gender equality in the workplace, the barriers to ethnic minorities, such as education and poverty, and the challenges faced by persons with disabilities in an ageing society.
In addition, a special session with inspirational leaders, namely Dr Sima SAMAR, APF Chairperson, who is also the Chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, and Ms Anna WU, Chairperson of Hong Kong Competition Commission and former Chairperson of the EOC, has been lined up for the morning of 21 September, when they will speak on their personal experiences, challenges and motivations in promoting equality.
EOC Chairperson Professor Alfred CHAN (centre) and Chief Operations Officer Mr Michael CHAN (third from right) posing for a group photo with APF Chairperson Dr Sima SAMAR (fourth from left), Chairperson-elect Professor Rosalind CROUCHER (fourth from right) and Deputy Director Ms Pip DARGAN (third from left).
Notes to editors:
About the APF
The APF was established in 1996 to strengthen regional cooperation in promoting and protecting human rights. Representing 25 NHRIs in the region, the APF provides practical support and advice to its members, and advice and expertise to governments and civil society groups in the region to support the establishment of independent NHRIs that meet the international standards as set out in the Paris Principles. The APF brings member institutions together to develop a shared vision and shared strategies to tackle many of the most serious and complex human rights challenges in the region.
About the EOC
The EOC is an independent statutory body established in 1996 to implement the anti-discrimination ordinances in Hong Kong. The EOC works towards the elimination of discrimination on the grounds of sex, marital status, pregnancy, disability, family status and race, as well as the elimination of sexual harassment, and harassment and vilification on the grounds of disability and race. Entrusted with a vision of creating a pluralistic and inclusive society where there is no barrier to equal opportunities, the EOC strives to promote diversity and inclusion, and mainstream the concepts of equality in society.
The EOC is a longstanding observer of the APF.