On 31 October 2014, Justice Centre Hong Kong filed a written submission giving our views to the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC)’s public consultation document as part of its review of Hong Kong’s discrimination laws and work to promote equality for everyone in Hong Kong.
The current discrimination law covers sex, marital, disability, race and family status discrimination. Justice Centre’s report highlights the multiple forms of discrimination that refugees face in Hong Kong, not only due to their race, but due to the fact that existing immigration legislation does not distinguish them from “overstayers” for the whole duration of their stay in Hong Kong.
Justice Centre noted that the current protected characteristics of race in the existing Race Discrimination Ordinance (RDO) fail to take into account the specific situation of discrimination faced by protection claimants, and recommended that discrimination based on immigration status should not be automatically excluded from the ambit of the protective provisions of the RDO; rather any differential treatment must be justified as being pursuant to a legitimate aim, and proportionate. We look forward to following the EOC’s review as it takes civil society views in consideration.