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Hong Kong - Disability

Legally, there is legislation in place to protect those in Hong Kong who suffer from disabilities. The government has taken different measures and passed laws which make discrimination due to specific factors illegal. Theoretically, a disability should not leave anyone at a disadvantage when they are seeking employment.

The Disability Discrimination Ordinance is a law that was passed to protect those with disabilities from discrimination, harassment and vilification. The law itself applies to employment, sporting activities, education, access to management of premises, practicing as a barrister, and clubs.

The purpose of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) is to enforce those laws. Anyone who is subjected to discrimination, harassment or violence can issue a complaint with the EOC. The EOC will then open an investigation. In most cases, the EOC will attempt to resolve the conflict by conciliation where both parties converge and attempt to restitution. If the complaint is not resolved, however, legal assistance can be found with the EOC. Expats are also able to find assistance with the EOC.

Equal Opportunity Comission
19/F., CityPlaza Three, 14 Taikoo Wan Road
Taikoo Shing, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2511 8211
Email: eoc@eoc.org.hk
http://www.eoc.org.hk/EOC/GraphicsFolder/default.aspx

For more information on the Disability Discrimination Ordinance, visit: http://www.eoc.org.hk/eoc/graphicsfolder/showcontent.aspx?content=ordinance_ddo

Over the years, access for those with disabilities on the public transport system has greatly improved. The Transport Department has published a Guide to Public Transport for People with Disabilities to assist those in traveling by means of the MTR, light buses, ferries, trams, and other means of transportation through the city. The guide has a list of the MTR stations, too, and which ones have elevators and are accessible by wheelchair. To access the full guide, visit: http://www.td.gov.hk/mini_site/people_with_disabilities/2009/13-2.html In addition, the Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation offers a Rehabus service to provide accessible transportation for those with disabilities.

If a disabled person has passed the driving ability assessment, they may apply for a permit from the Transport Department for parking on designated disabled driver parking spaces. The permit also exempts the carriers from paying for on-street metered parking spaces and approves them for half-fare concession on monthly parking charges at the Transport Department’s multi-storeys car park.

Certain venues throughout the city offer various forms of assistance for the disabled. For instance, the Hong Kong Central Library has adjustable reading tables and special service counters for those who need special assistance. Some supermarkets in Hong Kong also offer free delivery service for those with disabilities if they fill out a form from the Health, Welfare and Food Bureau's website.

There are more than 18,000 LPG taxis that have Braille and tactile vehicle registration information number plates. Nearly 9,000 LPG taxis have talking taxi meters. Those in wheelchairs might find it difficult to use light buses. Although strides are being taken to make them more user friendly for wheelchairs and those with walking disabilities, the steps make them almost impossible to use. Ferries are more usable, however. There are helpers on board to assist with wheelchairs and others who might need assistance. Grooves on the planks make them more wheelchair accessible. Almost half of the franchised buses are wheelchair accessible. They also have automated voices alerting passengers to their stops. The MTR is striving to make their systems friendlier for the disabled, too. There are services for the visually and hearing impaired and most of the stations are wheelchair accessible.

The Hong Kong Joint Council for People with Disabilities covers the non-governmental organizations individuals with disabilities in Hong Kong. Its purpose is to improve the services and facilities for those with disabilities, participate in policy review and formulation, raise awareness, and develop new rehabilitation programs. More information can be found at: http://www.hkcss.org.hk/rh/index_e.htm

There are many organizations dedicated to those with disabilities throughout Hong Kong. A comprehensive list can be discovered at The University of Hong Kong’s website at:

http://oneclick.hku.hk/en/node/21

Some of these organizations include the Keep Hong Society which provides early intervention and education for children with disabilities; Autism Society which is a NGO in HK run by volunteers that promotes the awareness of autism; the Hong Kong Special Schools Council; and the Mental Health Association of Hong Kong which offers information on various mental health disorders and provides public awareness.



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