The absence of an equality law that protects Hongkongers against sexual orientation discrimination has raised concerns at a United Nations meeting.
Equal Opportunity Council representative John Tse Wing-ling spoke to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday. He said discrimination based on sexual orientation is still a very serious problem in the city.
Hong Kong lawmakers who were at the conference also reported problems including racial discrimination, housing shortage and freedom of the press.
Pro-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) rights activists, Tommy Jai and Andrew Leavitt from Hong Kong, also spoke at the meeting. They mentioned two worrying cases: a local Christian school that has banned gay teachers under a controversial "morality contract", and a lesbian woman who killed herself after being discriminated against.
The trio hope that the United Nations will help pressure the Hong Kong government to establish a relevant equality act.
The UN committee included this proposal on a list of high concern issues at the end of the meeting, which comes on the eve of the UN review of the Hong Kong government's report on its civil and political rights. This will be the third review since 1997 and will be attended by a Hong Kong government delegation led by Undersecretary for Constitutional Affairs, Lau Kong-wah.