Consultation backs anti-racism legislation

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 July, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 July, 2005, 12:00am

Most people believe there is a need for a law against racial discrimination, a government consultation has found.

Of the 240 written replies received in the year-long consultation, the Home Affairs Bureau found a large majority supported the proposed anti-racial discrimination bill.

'Some are of the view that non-legislative measures are not effective in dealing with racial discrimination as there are no legal remedies,' the bureau says in a paper that will be presented to lawmakers on Friday.

The consultation paper, 'Legislating Against Racial Discrimination', also found people believed the city had an obligation under international law to enact the bill.

It also notes that members of ethnic minorities said they faced prejudice and discrimination every day and they believed the bill would offer legal remedies.

However, a minority of the respondents were opposed to the proposed bill at this stage.

'Some have suggested we pursue non-legislation means and conduct public education to deal with racial prejudice and discrimination,' the paper says.

A few respondents said the legislation would lead to 'vexatious ligation and conflicts' between Chinese and ethnic minorities in the city and would harm the economy.

The Home Affairs Bureau said the government planned to introduce legislation to prohibit racial discrimination at the end of this year.

Meanwhile, the bureau said a hotline for inquiries and complaints on discrimination on the grounds of gender identity and sexual orientation would open on Thursday. The hotline (2835 1565) aims to promote equal opportunities for people of different sexual orientation.

'The government is committed to eliminating discrimination and to foster tolerance and mutual respect,' a bureau spokesman said.