EQUALITY AND THE LAW PROJECT

In mid-1995 the Hong Kong legislature enacted the territory's first detailed anti-discrimination legislation in the areas of sex and disability discrimination. This represents an important and innovative development in the protection of human rights in Hong Kong and poses considerable challenges to all those who will be affected by the legislation or who will have role in implementing or monitoring compliance with it.

 

The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) was established to oversee the legislation's implementation in May 1996 and the legislation entered into force in late 1996. The Family Status Discrimination Ordinance enacted in mid-1997 entered into force on 21 November 1997.  A Consultation Paper on legislation against racial discrimination was published in September 2004 by the Hong Kong SAR Home Affairs Bureau and a Race Discrimination Bill was tabled in the Legislative Council in December 2006.

 

Unfortunately the proposed Bill was not only confusing and inconsistent in its application with the mechanisms of both the Sex Discrimination Ordinance (SOD) and Disability Discrimination Ordinance (DDO), parts of it actually appeared to promote discrimination. Requests to the Government was met with a "take it or leave it" reply. Members of the Law Faculty, Ms. Vandana Rajwani and Ms. Kelley Loper, with Mr. Law Yuk Kai (Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor) and other activists turned to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in Geneva to persuade the Committee to review this issue even though Hong Kong/China was not on the agenda.

 

The Committee analysed the Bill and noted that it was potentially in violation of the UN CERD Convention. It then formally agreed to review the issue, which has been officially included in the agenda. The Hong Kong Government finally has agreed to amend several key provisions of the Bill. Documents in this effort to effect social change include:

 

Submission to the CERD Committee by Ms Kelley Loper

 

Press Release by Legislator Ms. Margaret Ng's office [English] [Chinese]

 

Letter to Hong Kong/China issued by the CERD Committee

 

CCPL houses a number of projects related to the development of non-discrimination law in Hong Kong.  It also organises conferences, seminars, and talks considering relevant international standards and comparative perspectives from other jurisdictions.

 

 

 

 

Principal Investigator:

 

Kelley Loper

 

 

Project Period:

 

April 2008 – December 2009

 

 

Funding Source:

 

Seed Funding Programme for Basic Research

 

 

 

 

 

Research Projects

 

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the Concept of Substantive Equality

Equality Law and Inclusive Education for Disabled Students

Ethnic Minorities and the Hong Kong Education System

Enforcing Equal Opportunities in Hong Kong

Equality and Law Project: Legislative Archive

 

Events

 

Conferences

 

Conference on Minority Language Education in China, 19 April 2008

Conference on Hong Kong's Race Discrimination Bill, 31 March 2007

Disability, equality and rights: changes in legislation, policy and practice in Ireland 1995-2005, 8 April 2005

Equal Opportunities, Disparate Impact, and Laws against Racial Discrimination, 26 January 2005 

Enforcing Equal Opportunities in Hong Kong: An Evaluation of Conciliation and Other Enforcement Powers of the Equal Opportunities Commission, 14 June 2003

Hong Kong Perspectives on Beijing Plus 5, 6 May 2000

Hong Kong's Equal Opportunities Law in International and Comparative Perspective, 10-12 November 1997

 

Seminar & Symposium

 

Interregional Seminar and Symposium on International Norms and Standards relating to Disability, 13-17 December 1999

 

Training

 

Training Programme on Advocacy and Human Rights for Practising Lawyers of Nepal, September 2000

 

 

This project is supported by the HKU Knowledge Exchange Fund granted by the University Grants Committee.