Time to stop prevaricating

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 January, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 03 January, 1994, 12:00am

MR Michael Suen, Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, in commenting on the more than 500 submissions the Government has received in response to the government Green Paper on Equal Opportunities for Men and Women, stated that the overwhelming majority were in favour of extending the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) to Hong Kong. He went on to say ''it would be very difficult for the Government to find a credible argument against extending CEDAW''. The implication is, of course, that that is exactly what they have been trying to do.

Mr Patten, addressing the American Women's Association a few months ago, and responding to a question as to whether the Government had the political will to extend CEDAW to Hong Kong if the responses to the Green Paper were favourable, said ''this is a genuine consultation exercise''. He said he saw no reason why Hong Kong should not have CEDAW.

I hope Mr Suen does not mean that the Government will once again try to deprive Hong Kong of CEDAW and the legislation which will have to accompany it. Other international treaties have been extended to Hong Kong without the need for a Green Paper Consultation, two favourable votes of Legco and a survey on the public's perceptions. The time has come to stop prevaricating. I call on Mr Patten to state now that the Government will forthwith request the British Government to extend CEDAW to Hong Kong, in accordance with the Legco motion passed without dissent in December 1992.

ANNE GODFREY President, Hong Kong Association of Business and Professional Women