Hong Kong’s government has been put on call to introduce legislation against LGBTI discrimination.
The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) and the Gender Research Centre (GRC) of the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at The Chinese University of Hong Kong issued a joint statement calling on the Government to launch a public consultation and introduce the legislation.
The statement was supported by 75 wide-ranging organizations, academics, businesses and religious bodies.
Some of the supporting businesses include, Google, Goldman Sachs and law firm Linklaters.
‘Across the world, the plight of LGBTI communities has been gaining increasing concern. As human societies progress, governments are expected to take greater responsibility in defending the marginalised and vulnerable groups in society from discriminatory treatment,’ said EOC chairperson Professor Alfred Chan Cheung-ming.
‘Offering the LGBTI communities better legal protection is more than just a moral and human rights obligation.
‘It also makes business sense… by promoting a diverse and inclusive culture, Hong Kong will be able to retain and draw in talent, which is important in the competitive global environment.
‘Hong Kong should modernise its anti-discrimination legislation.’
Discrimination is rampant in Hong Kong
Last year the EOC and the GRC published a Study on Legislation against Discrimination on the Grounds of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status.
To this day it remains the most comprehensive research of its kind in Hong Kong.
The study revealed two major trends: LGBTI people in Hong Kong experience significant discrimination in all aspects of their public life, such as in employment, education and the provision of services.
Secondly, public opinion had visibly shifted in favour of the passing of legislation to protect LGBTI persons from discrimination.
Now more than 55% of the general public and more than 90% of 18 to 24 year olds support the introduction of legislation.
‘Such incidents of discrimination mean LGBTI people lose out on equal education and employment opportunities,’ GRC associate director Professor Suen Yiu-tung said.
‘The GRC is ready to work with different stakeholders including the Hong Kong Government and the EOC, and provide our expertise and assistance to inform the debate.’