EOC Supports LegCo’s Motion on Social Welfare Land Use Planning
In support of the Legislative Council’s motion, passed on 16 February 2011, on “Social Welfare Land Use Planning”, the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) urges the Government to include social welfare use as an important consideration of land use planning, and expedite the provision of lands for welfare use by disadvantaged groups, including persons with disabilities and persons with mental illness.
“There is an unfortunate misconception among some members of the public that persons with mental illness are a threat to the community and have to be kept away. This is untrue and unfair. Persons with mental illness can lead a normal life with proper treatment and care. Stigmatization hampers recovery. Incessant delays to the setting up of rehabilitation institutions worsen the problem for the society as a whole,” said Mr. LAM Woon-kwong, Chairperson of the EOC.
The EOC appeals to the community to support the inclusion of persons with disabilities and persons with mental illness. The timely provision of Integrated Community Centres for Mental Wellness, for example, is essential to enable persons with mental illness to seek and receive help close to their place of residence, which would be a major step in helping their recovery.
“The EOC would like to work with the Government and NGOs in stepping up public education on equal opportunities for persons with mental illness,” Mr. Lam added.
Under the Disability Discrimination Ordinance (DDO), it is unlawful to discriminate against or harass a person on the basis of his/her disability. Furthermore, vilification – a public activity which incites hatred, severe contempt, or severe ridicule towards people with disability – contravenes the DDO. Activities such as posting banners with derogatory statements about people with disabilities may constitute vilification.
The EOC calls upon those who face discrimination on the basis of their disability, gender, family status, or race to seek redress with the EOC.
Equal Opportunities Commission
17 February 2011