EOC organizes a seminar to review the impact of the Disability Discrimination Ordinance
The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) today (24 Jan 2008) hosted a one-day seminar titled, "Our Ten Years under the DDO – Moving Forward, Changing Cultures", to review the impact of the Disability Discrimination Ordinance (DDO) since its implementation and the way forward. The seminar was officiated by Mr. Stephen LAM, Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs.
In his welcoming remarks, Mr. Raymond TANG, Chairperson of the EOC, said, "The EOC has a statutory duty to eliminate discrimination and to promote equal opportunities for both men and women and for people with disabilities. Since September 1996, the Commission together with over 1,000 community partners have been working towards improving equal access to opportunities for all members of the society. In the past ten years, changes have been achieved, advances made, but more remains to be done."
Mr. TANG explained that there was an important paradigm shift in the approach to deal with disability issues in recent years. "A right-based approach is gaining increasing popularity in the community in Hong Kong and abroad. With the introduction of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), it seems timely to review the development of disability rights in Hong Kong in the last decade and to find the right way forward, especially on mainstreaming disability rights," Mr. TANG said.
An international human rights law expert, Prof. Andrew Byrnes, Associate Dean (Research) of the University of New South Wales, gave a keynote presentation at the seminar. Prof. Byrnes examined the implementation of the CRPD through the DDO, other legislation, disability policies and programmes in Hong Kong.
Experts and authorities from the Mainland attended the seminar and participated in the discussion of the various colloquium sessions. Professor ZHENG Gong Cheng, Deputy Dean of the School of Labour and Human Resources Renmin University of China, presented a paper on the social security system for people with disabilities in China. Mr. Eric Guozhong ZHANG, Director of China Disabled Persons' Federation, and representatives from Guangdong Disabled Persons’ Federation spoke on the key lessons and experiences in the context of future implementation of the UN Disability Convention in China.
Local experts and stakeholders including the Hon. Dr. Fernando CHEUNG, Legislative Councillor; Dr. Joseph KWOK, Chair of Rehabilitation Advisory Committee; Mr. HUI Chin-yim, Director of Education Service of the Hong Kong Council of Church of Christ in China; and Mr. Chong Chan-yau, EOC Co-opted Member, also spoke in different colloquium sessions to discuss the way forward to help building a level-playing field for people with disabilities in the areas of employment, integrated education, mental health services and barrier free community.
Over 270 international human rights academics, representatives of rehabilitation organizations, educators, human resources practitioners and government officials attended today's seminar and shared their views on promoting disability rights and equality in all areas of life in Hong Kong.
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