Education the key to ending discrimination

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 25 April, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 25 April, 1998, 12:00am

Amnesty International welcomes the Hong Kong SAR Home Affairs Bureau's decision to introduce a funding scheme for projects that seek to promote equal opportunity on the grounds of sexual orientation.

We are disappointed that some groups have raised objections because they believe the time is not right for such projects.

We believe that public money for this scheme will be well used. The best time to educate people in understanding and respecting the basic human rights of all members of society is now. Only through education will people have the information they need to make their own decisions and use their own judgment. Some members of society may not approve of the lifestyle of other members, but surely they can still accept them as equal members of the community.

The essence of Article 2 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is that everyone is entitled to the rights and freedoms enshrined in the UDHR, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion and politics and irrespective of their status.

This year is the 50th anniversary of the UDHR. It is important that we remind ourselves that human rights will not truly become universal until we all respect one another. Already, it is common for homosexuals to be subject to verbal abuse and some people have lost their jobs because of their sexual orientation.

This is bad enough. We need to educate people as soon as possible so that the situation does not deteriorate, as has happened in some countries (Mexico and Brazil, for example) where homosexuals have been murdered because of their sexual orientation.

ANGELA LEE NGA-KAM Human Rights Education Officer Amnesty International Hong Kong Section