Appalled by Government's silence

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 December, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 December, 1993, 12:00am

IN our letters to The Honourable Messrs. Michael M. Y. Suen, JP, Secretary for Home Affairs and Tony Eason, Secretary for Planning and Lands and Director of Buildings - on the ban on maids in the lift of Tregunter Tower, we said: That since 1976, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) have been extended to Hong Kong, and the 1984 Joint Declaration guarantees that the provisions of the two covenants, as applied to Hong Kong shall remain in force even after 1997.

The Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance as amended in 1991 gave effect in local law to the two international covenants.

The ICCPR categorically provides that the State party to it shall respect and ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction, rights without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, politicalor other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or status.

Under the ICESCR, the Declaration on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination states that ''all states shall take effective measures to revise governmental and other public policies and to rescind laws and regulations which have the effect and creating and perpetuating racial discrimination wherever it still exists''.

The consulate was prepared to consider the matter closed insofar as Tregunter Tower is concerned, in view of the apology from Protech Management and the removal of the sign - but not against another establishment which has similar discriminatory signs.

We were therefore appalled and shocked at the despicable action taken by some tenants in disseminating thereafter, the notice featured in the Post on December 5 which is full of arrogance and racism.

This is no different from the racism and xenophobia exhibited by Europe's Neo-Nazis or America's Ku Klux Klan.

Any man's full measure can be taken by his attitude, among other things, to those who are less privileged in life.

The problem now really is not so much the consulate's as it is that of the Hong Kong Government.

The display of such bigotry among some of the people it has accepted to come and live in its territory, or by some of its own nationals, demean Hong Kong's adherence to the enlightened tenets of international covenants, and can only harm Hong Kong's reputation.

We hope the authorities will do something about this, as we have not even had a reply to our earlier letters.

OFELIA B. CASTANO Consul General of the Philippines