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Hong Kong forced to act on racism November 30, 2006

Posted by C.A.R.D in Card, China, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, Civil Rights, Discrimination, ethnicity, Racism, Racist, Schools.
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Hong Kong – Hong Kong, bowing to pressure from civil rights groups, proposed new laws on racial discrimination on Wednesday to protect the rights of the city’s ethnic minorities.

Under the Race Discrimination Bill, which requires legislative approval, “racial discrimination and harassment” in certain areas and “vilification on the grounds of race” will become illegal and punishable by fines and jail terms of up to two years.

“We are introducing the bill because we have international obligations to do so (and) because we have now gained general community support for legislation,” said Carrie Lam, the government’s Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs.

Racism is not often explicit or violent in Hong Kong but the city’s many foreign migrant workers have often been denied jobs, accommodation or school places on the basis of their ethnicity.

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“We cautiously welcome this bill because without any legislation in our common-law system we were free to discriminate before,” said Law Yuk-kai, the director of Human Rights Monitor.

Since 1969, Hong Kong has abode by the “International Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Racial Discrimination,” but has lacked any laws to protect individuals from such abuse, despite widespread pressure from rights groups.

Around 5 percent of Hong Kong’s 7-million population are non-Chinese ethnic groups including around 250 000 Filipino and Indonesian domestic helpers, Indians, Nepalis and Pakistanis.

“For the ethnic minorities, most are taking up the unskilled jobs, or they’ve a lot of children who cannot break through into higher education,” said Fermi Wong, an activist with “Hong Kong Unison”, a civil rights advocacy group.

Experts say that since Britain returned Hong Kong to China in 1997, the city has become even more ethnically diverse with greater numbers of immigrants and migrant labourers arriving for work, bringing with this new social strains.

“This is a serious problem in Hong Kong” said Tang Kwong-leung, Chair Professor of Social Work at the Chinese University who conducted a survey last year that found 67 percent of ethnic minorities were “often” discriminated against.

C.a.r.d {Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination} Source: Iol.co.za

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