FDW group files complaint over testing, vaccination order

Image title

Sringatin and Dolores Balladares-Pelaez went to the Equal Opportunities Commission office on Monday morning to lodge a complaint against the Hong Kong government's order to test all helpers for Covid-19 and its plan to require vaccination before processing their employment documents. (PHOTO COURTESY: Sringatin)

A migrant workers’ group filed a complaint before the city’s equality watchdog to denounce requiring Covid-19 testing and vaccination for foreign domestic workers (FDWs).

Representatives from the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body went to the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) office in Wong Chuk Hang to file a letter of complaint on Monday.

The complaint comes amid local media reports of EOC chairman Ricky Chu stating that equality regulations will not apply to the order, since reasonable measures for public health are exempted.

The group, in its letter, said they do not oppose vaccination and mass testing of Hong Kong’s 370,000 FDWs.

“But to make it mandatory and to single out domestic workers connote racial discrimination, vilification, and stigmatization of one of the most vulnerable sections[s] of the Hong Kong Society,” the letter said.

AMCB cited the Race Discrimination Ordinance in its complaint, stating that the law prohibits “less favourable treatments based on race, racial harassment, and vilification.”

They also said Hong Kong is obliged to stop discrimination under two international treaties: the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).

Last Friday, Hong Kong officials required all foreign domestic workers to test for Covid-19 before May 9, in a bid to contain the spread of a mutated coronavirus strain found in a Filipina helper in Tung Chung. Hong Kong also bared plans to require FDWs to get vaccinated against Covid-19 before their visa applications will be processed.