EOC's Response to the "Hong Kong Report"
In response to the submission of the Report of the HKSAR Government on the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action (the Hong Kong Report) to the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, "Women 2000 : Gender Equality, Development and Peace for the Twenty-first Century," the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) Chairperson Ms. Anna WU highlighted a number of issues and urged Legislative Council members to review the Hong Kong Report.
At the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, many women helped to secure the commitment of 187 governments to implement measures to protect the rights of women. Since 1995, the EOC, many other non-government organizations, the Legislative Council and the HKSAR Government have worked for the improvement of the status of women in Hong Kong. "We are all partners in the process and we urge the Legislative Council and the public to fully participate in the discussion and monitoring of government programmes to achieve equality for women in Hong Kong," said Ms. WU.
Both in 1993 (at the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna) and 1995 (at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing), governments committed themselves to establish a mechanism on the right to petition under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (the Women's Convention). The Optional Protocol made available for signing since 10 December 1999, offers victims of violation of rights an international forum to seek determinations and short and long term remedial measures. This Protocol will help to expedite gender equality on the domestic front. The EOC now urges the HKSAR Government to demonstrate its willingness to be subject to the Optional Protocol through China.
Ms. WU said, "We are disappointed that the Hong Kong Report only depicts the HKSAR Government in the most favourable light and has omitted to mention matters which are material." In paragraph 21 of the Hong Kong Report, the HKSAR Government states that a formal investigation by the EOC found the Secondary School Places Allocation (the SSPA) may result in discrimination on the ground of sex. The findings of the EOC made clear that the SSPA is discriminatory on the ground of sex.
In paragraph 117 of the Hong Kong Report, the HKSAR Government has omitted to state that the courts in Hong Kong have invalidated results of village elections held under procedures which were discriminatory to women and others. One of the village election results had been approved by the HKSAR Government despite the requirement for gender equality under our law. The matter is now subject to further appeal by the HKSAR Government.
The EOC is a statutory body fully funded by the HKSAR Government to promote equal opportunities for men and women and to combat discrimination. In carrying out its functions, the EOC performs both a monitoring role and an advisory role to the HKSAR Government. The EOC urges the HKSAR Government to afford the EOC with the opportunity to provide its input to the drafting of any future reports on the status of women for submission to international bodies.
Enquiry: EOC Hotline 25118211