Friday, 9 December 2011

NGOs draw “wish list” to make HK fairer to ethnic minorities

Press Release 07 December 2011

For reference: Cynthia Tellez Elijah Fung Sr. Felicitas Nisperos

Tel. No.: 97409406, 9048-4645, 91832518

They have been relegated to the sidelines for far too long. Ethnic minorities deserve a fairer Hong Kong.

This was declared by the Coalition of Service Providers for Ethnic Minorities (CSPEM), at the conclusion of the National Consultation of Service Providers in Hong Kong held December 6 at the Fanny Li Hall of the St. John’s Cathedral.

“Ethnic minorities, including the more than 250,000 foreign domestic workers who are mostly Asian women, are active members of the society. In the economic, political, social and cultural spheres, ethnic minorities provide valuable contribution that improves Hong Kong. Unfortunately, there are policies and practices that show the unfair treatment of ethnic minorities,” she remarked.

The conference drew in 26 participants from major NGOs and faith-based groups that conduct advocacy and provide various kinds of direct services to ethnic minorities including counseling, education and information, shelter services and assistance for social integration.

According to CSPEM, the conference was held to discuss the issues and problems of ethnic minorities based on the actual experiences of the participants in service provision, and come up with a “wish list” that shall be presented to relevant HK government agencies. The said list will be the focus of advocacy and lobbying of the service providers to the Executive Committee, Legislative Council and various other government agencies including the Immigration Department, Police Department, Labour Department, Hospital Authority, Leisure and Cultural Services Department and the Food, Environment and Hygiene Department.

“We just want FDWs to get a fair deal in Hong Kong. They are integral parts of our lives and deserve equal and just treatment than they have been experiencing due to policies that expose them to abusive treatment and practices that have long been permitted.”

Some of the reforms that the participants wish to advance were: ensuring that the HK Police, interpreters and hospital personnel are culture and gender-sensitive in dealing with FDWs, instituting an anti-labor trafficking law in Hong Kong, relaxing stringent rules in public parks where FDWs congregate, exemption from visa fee for terminated FDWs, and allowing FDWs with ongoing cases to work and find an employer.

On December 18, participating service providers shall present the wish list to the government to also coincide with the global celebration of the United Nations’ International Migrants Day.

“A fairer Hong Kong shall show that our society upholds the rights of all people. A fairer Hong Kong shall show that we are respectful of others, inclusive and we recognize the importance and role of everyone in building our society. Ethnic minorities deserve better and it is high time that they are treated right,” the CSPEM concluded.

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