Governance vs. Upwards Accessibility

Hong Kong proudly brands herself as Asia’s World City, where it highlights the city’s “vibrant and cosmopolitan lifestyle, its cultural fusion and diversity, as well as its versatile destination strengths”[1]. However, how strongly do individuals, companies, and government uphold these standards?

Although Hong Kong is part of “The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Hong Kong it is currently lagging behind many countries, and there is no substantial achievement on disabilities rights in the past 8 years. The basic needs of people with disabilities are severely unmet, and they are often subject to discrimination and diminishment of their rights. Learn more about Disabled rights in Hong Kong.

Through Project Accessibility, we wish to advocate for this issue and build a society with inclusion and diversity. Learn more about Project Accessibility.

[Two images – Disability rights, and Project Accessibility]

1.1 – Disabled rights in Hong Kong

The People’s Republic of China signed and ratified the “The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” in 31st August 2008, where “in accordance with the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China…, the Government of the People’s Republic of China decides that the Convention shall apply to the Hong Kong Special Administrative….”[2]  In other words, this Convention has entered into force in Hong Kong since 2008.

The Convention states “The purpose of the present Convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.”

However, even after eight years, little has been done in terms of the review of the disability law and practice. Where currently, countless of individuals are left with appalling disability rights in education, employment opportunities, accessibility, and legal protection.

Workforce Exclusion among people with disabilities in Hong Kong

Work exclusion for disability is a major concern for our project. In comparison with other countries, Hong Kong has a lower employment rate for people with disabilities. (Refer to Table 1.1[3]). We found out that although PWD have the same education and skill sets as others, they face substantial difficulty in finding a full-time job. In particular, according to the latest statistics, the rate of successful employment at the first year after graduating from Secondary education amongst PWD is 3.1%, which is believed to be worsened along with the worldwide economic downturn. As research showed that the experience of main first year activity is the key to successful pathway over the next 6 years, the unemployment of PWD will therefore hinder the individual’s sense of achievement, social identity and status, fundamental part of adult life.

In 2006 Hong Kong (except

people with ID)

Japan Canada
PWDs employment rate 11.8% 40.3%

 

53.5%

(Table 1.1 – PWDs employment rate in Hong Kong, Japan, Canada)

The situation seemed to have worsened in Hong Kong after the enactment of the minimum wage ordinance in May. A study conducted by CUHK stated that “22 % of workers with mental or physical disabilities have lost their jobs since the introduction of the minimum-wage law last.”[4] Furthermore, new employment opportunities for “mentally and physically handicapped people have dropped by around 20 %.”4 The worsened situation for PWDs in Hong Kong sparks up our concern.

With a society of exclusion and a façade of diversity, how can Project Unleash advocate for this issue?

1.2 – What is Project Accessibility?

Nelson & Associates positions himself as a professional accessibility consultancy

Through this project, we wish to advocate for disability rights and build a society with inclusion and diversity. Our aims of this project are to:

  • Enhance the disability rights through work inclusion
  • Raise cultural awareness of disabled rights in Hong Kong
  • Discover new employment opportunities for both disabled and employers.

We strive to achieve these aims through four phases in our project:

[1] http://www.discoverhongkong.com/au/about-hktb/our-brand.jsp#ixzz2yMsgeJi8

[2] http://www.lwb.gov.hk/UNCRPD/Publications/22072008_e.pdf

[3] http://disabilities.socialwork.hku.hk/UpLoadFiles/20120503/2012050315265937.pdf

[4] http://disabilities.socialwork.hku.hk/UpLoadFiles/20120503/2012050315265937.pdf