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FDH group files complaint with EOC vs forced testing, vaccination

03 May 2021

By Daisy CL Mandap 

AMCB officers Sringatin and Balladares-Pelaez submit letter to an EOC officer

A multi-ethnic foreign domestic helpers group has submitted a complaint letter to the Equal Opportunities Commission against the Hong Kong government’s order for all FDHs to undergo testing for Covid-19, and get vaccinated when they apply for a new work visa.

The letter was personally handed earlier today, May 3, by two leaders of the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body, Dolores Balladares-Pelaez and Sringatin, at the EOC office in Tai Koo.

The letter partly reads, “We welcome the government’s proposal for Covid-19 vaccination and mass testing for 370,000 foreign domestic helpers. But to make it mandatory and single out domestic workers connote racial discrimination, vilification and stigmatization of one of the most vulnerable members of Hong Kong society.”

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The FDH leaders said an EOC representative accepted their letter, but said group complaints are not allowed under their mandate. So the two of them, along with two more officers of AMCB, will each fill in a complaint form, and submit these together with whatever evidence they might have.

One piece of evidence they plan to submit is a testimony from a FDH who reported being shunned by fellow passengers when she got on a bus on the day the government imposed the orders.

AMCB argues that by forcing FDHs to go for tests and vaccinations, they have been unfairly tagged as carrier of the virus, and must thus be avoided.

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“Domestic helpers are already accused by the Hong Kong government as ‘job-hoppers’, ‘virus carriers’ and ‘high risk’; now they are discriminated against, vilified and stigmatized by the same government,” said AMCB in its letter.

The group claims the mandatory testing and vaccination violate the Racial Discrimination Ordinance and international treaties that Hong Kong adheres to, including the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Pelaez said AMCB is also setting up an appointment with a human rights lawyer to seek help in possibly filing a judicial review against the government’s decision to issue the testing and vaccination orders.


In the meantime, the group is also complaining about the ambiguity of the vaccination order, the details of which are still being worked out, according to Labour Secretary Law Chi-kwong.

While no date has yet been set for its implementation, at least one AMCB member who went to Immigration today was reportedly asked by an officer if she had already received the Covid jab.

Mabuti na lang tapos na siyang magpabakuna, kasi hindi natin alam kung ano ang pwedeng mangyari sakaling hindi pa nakapagpabakuna ang nag apply ng visa,” said Pelaez. (Luckily, she had already completed her vaccination because we don’t know what could happen if someone who hasn’t received the vaccine is applying for visa extension).

AMCB says the shunning of FDHs began on the day the mandatory orders were issued

Former legislator Fernando Cheung has said in an AMCB online protest on May 1 that mandatory vaccination for FDHs who are already in Hong Kong is illegal because it targets only a particular group.

He also said making vaccination a pre-condition to the issuance of a work visa violates the terms of the standard employment contract for FDHs.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love.

Consul General Raly Tejada has said the same thing, questioning why other non-residents who are also on employment visas are not being subjected to the same order.

The Philippines’ top diplomat also said the vaccination order would amount to a legal loophole in the FDH contracts.

But CG Tejada said the Consulate is still in talks with Hong Kong officials on the possibility of revoking the mandatory vaccination order.

Kinakausap pa namin, baka hindi matuloy,” he said. (We are still in talks, hopefully it (mandatory vaccination) will not push through).
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