Email this article
SCMA speaks at opening of ethnic minorities' support service centre (English only) (with photos)

     Following are the main points of the speech delivered by the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, this (August 29) afternoon at the opening ceremony of the International Social Service's HOPE Support Service Centre for Ethnic Minorities:

Mr Ho (C. P. Ho, Chairperson of ISS-HK), Stephen (Yau, Chief Executive of ISS-HK), members of the Consular Corps, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Today marks an important milestone in the joint efforts of the Government and the community to promote racial equality and harmony in Hong Kong.  The opening of the HOPE Support Service Centre for Ethnic Minorities represents an important step in enhancing support services to members of ethnic minorities to facilitate their integration into the community.

     In Hong Kong, we pride ourselves on being an international and cosmopolitan centre.  This is the place where generations of Hong Kong people have risen from rags to riches, have raised their families and have secured a future for their descendants.  Our cultural diversity makes it possible to Hong Kong to tap into the markets of many different countries, whether it is Asia, Europe, the Americas, Africa or Australasia, we have people who know the lay of the land.  It is, therefore, the mission adopted by the Government that we should harness fully the resourcefulness of the different ethnic groups in Hong Kong.

     2009 is a year that witnesses significant progress in our efforts of building a more harmonious community among different races in Hong Kong.  The full implementation of the Race Discrimination Ordinance in July this year sends an important message to the community, namely people should enjoy equal opportunities irrespective of race.

     The Ordinance provides a legal framework to prohibit discrimination on the ground of race. The Equal Opportunities Commission is tasked to enforce the Ordinance and to promote racial equality. We have provided additional resources to the Commission for carrying out these tasks.

     We are fully aware that, apart from establishing a legal framework, it is important to strengthen our programmes in support of the ethnic minority community in Hong Kong. To this end, we have provided $8 million to sponsor non-government organisations (NGOs) to set up four support service centres and $16 million per year to fund their annual operating cost. We are fortunate to be able to tap on the wealth of expertise and experience from the four NGOs for running these centres.

     International Social Service (ISS) Hong Kong Branch's HOPE Centre is the first of the four centres to operate services. With the services to be provided, the four centres will provide focal points for, as the centre's motto says, "Harnessing Opportunities and Potentials for Ethnic Minorities". On top of this, the centres can serve as focal points for enhancing mutual understanding between different ethnic groups in Hong Kong.

     I am glad that a wide range of services are now being provided by the HOPE centre, including language classes, computer classes, vocational assistance, mutual support, counselling services, cross-cultural understanding, to name just a few, and the response from the ethnic minorities community has been enthusiastic.

Ends/Saturday, August 29, 2009
Issued at HKT 15:57


Photo Photo Photo
Print this page