Appeals for equal rights

PRESSURE on the Government to set up a women's commission was stepped up yesterday when a group of influential councillors put their demands to the Government.

The Coalition of Councillors for the Equality of Women and Men said Hong Kong should also join the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) to achieve sexual equality.

Cheung Yuet-lan, convenor of the coalition and a Tuen Mun District Board member, said: ''The meeting was a positive one and we have been told that our demands will be set out in reports which will go to the Executive Council.'' The pressure group, backed by 143 Legislative Councillors, district board and municipal council members, said the Government must act on its first major document on sex discrimination, the Green Paper on equal opportunities for women and men, which was released in August.

The coalition argued that a women's commission was necessary in Hong Kong to protect women's rights and concentrate on policies concerning women, while CEDAW membership would force the Government to pass laws abolishing sex discrimination.

Susie Ho Shuk-yee, Principal Assistant Secretary for Home Affairs, said after the meeting: ''We understand the group's concerns regarding women's rights and we emphasised that the Government has an open mind to improvement measures.''