EOC Statement in Response to a Media Report
In response to a media report on Page A10 of Oriental Daily News on 20 November 2018, the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) issues the following statement:
1. The "Paris Principles" adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993 apply to national human rights institutions, and the EOC is not a national human rights institution. EOC Members are appointed by the Government. The EOC itself has no authority in appointing its board members.
2. The Paris Principles set out the six main criteria that national human rights institutions need to meet, including a broad human rights mandate, autonomy from Government, pluralism, adequate resources and adequate power of investigation. As the EOC’s structure and finances, etc. are not completely independent of the government, the Global Alliance of International Human Rights Institutions maintains the EOC rating as C status. This rating is based on the structure of the EOC and financial independence, and has nothing to do with the effectiveness of the EOC’s work.
3. The Sub-Committee on Accreditation (SCA) of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) assesses compliance with the Paris Principles in law and in practice. In accordance with the Paris Principles and the GANHRI SCA Rules of Procedure, the classifications for accreditation used by the SCA are:
A: Compliance with the Paris Principles;
B: Not fully in compliance with the Paris Principles or insufficient information provided to make a determination.
C: Non-compliance with the Paris Principles
“A” status institutions demonstrate compliance with the Paris Principles. They can participate fully in the international and regional work and meetings of national institutions, as voting members, and they can hold office in the Bureau of the International Coordinating Committee or any sub-committee the Bureau establishes. They are also able to participate in sessions of the Human Rights Council and take the floor under any agenda item, submit documentation and take up separate seating. “C” status institutions does not has the above-mentioned rights. This three-level classification does not reflect the effectiveness of the work of each human rights institution. For details on the classification standards, please refer to the following link:https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/NHRI/Pages/GANHRISSubCommitteeAccreditation.aspx
4. The Sub-Committee on Accreditation (SCA) of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) published a rating of 120 human rights institutions on 21 February 2018. 77 human rights institutions were classified as A status, 33 human rights institutions were classified as B status, and 10 human rights institutions were classified as C status.
5. In view of the nature of the work of the EOC and international practices, the EOC has proposed in the Discrimination Law Review conducted in 2014 that the EOC believes that independence from the government is important and necessary. Many elements of the work of the EOC require independence and are similar to the functioning of human rights institutions. For example, the EOC may conduct a formal investigation into the actions of a Government department or provide legal assistance to an individual who is claiming that a Government department discriminated against or harassed them. The EOC believes that it is advisable to have specific provisions in the legislation concerning the maintenance of independence of an Equality Body.
6. With regard to hate messages on social media targeting ethnic minorities, the EOC has an on-going discussion with a major social media operator on the roles and responsibilities of the operator to take down racial hate speech posts on its platform and provide data of users posting racial vilifying messages for our complaint investigation. The EOC has also requested social media operators to alert users of their liability in posting racial vilifying messages, publicize its anti-hate speech policies and ways to report hate speech messages through public education. The EOC is actively seeking solutions for enforcing the local laws on social media with its regulation department based abroad and data controlled by overseas branches.
Equal Opportunities Commission
20 November 2018
20 November 2018