Equal Opportunities Commission


Press Releases

Press Releases

The EOC Expressed Concerns over the Unfairness Faced by the Disadvantaged Communities in Recent Months


In recent months, continuous social conflicts in Hong Kong have caused serious inconvenience, grievances and even harm to various disadvantaged groups. The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) today (11 October 2019) calls on all sectors of the society to actively seek reconciliation and handle the current situation with mutual respect and empathy.
Yesterday, representatives of rehabilitation groups publicly stated that the series of violent incidents triggered by the anti-extradition law amendment bill movement had caused damages to many of MTR facilities including lifts and traffic lights, creating grave difficulties to people with disabilities (PWDs) when commuting. Wheelchair users can only reach MTR platforms from ground level by using lifts. If the lifts were damaged, PWDs would have difficulty reaching MTR platforms and using MTR services. Sources reveal that at least a few dozens of lifts have been damaged recently. In addition, people with visual impairment rely on the sound of the traffic lights to cross the road, and if the traffic lights and sound devices are damaged, they may not be able to cross the road. As such they will have to rely on passerby for help. The EOC opposes all forms of violence and strongly condemns the damaging behaviors that disregard the basic needs of PWDs. The EOC hopes that all parties would take into account the practical difficulties and safety issues PWDs may face, and consider these issues from a humanitarian angle. The EOC urges all parties concerned not to put PWDs in danger or create hardships for them so that they can access public facilities and have their daily needs met. 
On the other hand, the EOC also noted this week the strong sentiments from certain ethnic minorities that the words "Allah is the Greatest" were painted in Arabic on some roads. As vehicles will run over these words when passing by, and these words may even be trampled or contaminated by dirt, it could be disrespectful, offensive and insulting to the Muslim community. Hong Kong is a multi-racial society, and the EOC hopes that public sensitivity to different cultures and races can be enhanced. Members of the public should respect one another’s culture, and refrain from committing insulting acts. Additionally, it is not fair to make generalizations or wrong assumptions about others, or publicly make statements that offend others. One example is commenting that some ethnic minorities would not be affected by insulting remarks because they do not have enough of a grasp of Cantonese. The EOC calls on all parties to show empathy to others when expressing their views and opinions, and take into account the cultural diversity in our community. The EOC will further strengthen its efforts to enhance the public’s cultural sensitivity.
In the past few months, the EOC has also received enquiries from various channels. Some of the enquirers have expressed dissatisfaction with the Police Force, alleging that protestors were sexually harassed or even sexually assaulted by police officers during enforcement actions.  At the same time, there were also enquiries about protestors making obscene comments or sexual attacks verbally on individual female police officers, and whether these incidents constituted sexual harassment. Since allegations of sexual harassment can be of a wide range, namely from verbal conduct of a sexual nature to gross sexual violence, the EOC must obtain detailed information of the relevant cases before deciding on how to follow up. Therefore, if anyone believes that he or she was sexually harassed, the EOC appeals to them to provide detailed and specific information to enable the EOC to make appropriate follow-up actions or recommendations.
The EOC pledges to provide a reply to aggrieved persons after receiving their enquiries and taking appropriate follow-up actions. Calling upon different sectors of the society to bridge their differences, the EOC also appeals to the public to uphold the core values of Hong Kong, which include the principle of “Respecting Differences and Embracing Inclusion”, and to restore peace in the society in the very near future.
Equal Opportunities Commission
11 October 2019