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20 Jul 2016

Hong Kong equality watchdog makes call for law to protect LGBT

Alfred Chan, chair of the city’s Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), made a public declaration in support of legislation to protect LGBT from discrimination.

Despite initial fears that Chan would be less of a champion for LGBT rights than his predecessor, the new EOC chairman has spoken out on the need for equality legislation.

“After meeting with at least 70 concern groups since I first joined [the commission], I have come to realise the issue is indeed very complex,” Chan said.

“Many sexual minority groups are still facing discrimination in Hong Kong today, and that’s precisely why they need legal protection. It is the most basic form of protection for their rights.”

The comments came as the commission released the results of the equal opportunities awareness survey on Monday.

According to the survey, 40 per cent of the 1,700 people questioned wrongly believed Hong Kong had laws protecting people on the ground of sexuality, age or immigration status. In fact, Hong Kong’s discrimination legislation only covers disability, race, sex and family status.

Chan also commented that in June the EOC had submitted a formal suggestion to the government to begin public consultation on the need for new legislation as soon as possible.

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