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形同虛設的語言歧視

香港立法會最近通過《種族歧視條例草案》﹐本來立法禁止種族歧視是好事﹐世界大多數先進國家也有相關法例。可是其中有關語言歧視的條文甚具爭議性﹐從報章上說該法例規定﹐各公私營機構要為少數族裔提供翻譯服務﹐否則便是語言歧視即屬違法。政府原先為安撫商界的不安﹐提出豁免語言歧視修訂條文。豈料竟然被立法會否決修訂﹐引起報章評論和各界的反彈。

其實政府提出的豁免語言歧視修訂條文﹐只不過是做場戲安撫商界的不安。若果細心閱讀種族歧視法例﹐就會發現法案根本不可能引起商界擔心的問題。法例只規定公私營機構要提供翻譯服務﹐但沒有規定翻譯服務必需是免費。其實各機構只需要設有應對少數種裔顧客的機制﹐如提供外判翻譯服務的連絡資料﹐就已經合乎法例的規定。

法案中對種族歧視的定義中﹐第三至五點中清楚例明﹐若果拒絕服務少數種裔的理由﹐是因為會引至成本上漲或影響作業流程﹐是可以豁免在種族歧視的定義之外。所有商界擔心要提供無理翻譯的情況﹐根本不足以構成種族歧視。當然這幾項並非自動豁免﹐需要經過法庭按個別情況作出判決。若果公私營機構真的被告上法庭﹐以他們的財力聘請資深大狀打官司﹐運用這幾項豁免條文免責不是難事。只要頭幾宗官司勝訴建立先例﹐要求供翻譯服務的語文歧視就形同虛設。政府提出修訂條文﹐只是把法案豁免得清楚明白﹐以免日後打官司浪費無謂的金錢罷了。

膚色種族是先天決定﹐是沒有人可以改變的事實﹐因此若以這些作為門檻標準﹐不乎合公平原則所以構成歧視。但語言是可以後天學習﹐在香港不懂中英文溝通困難生活不便﹐就只能怪自己為什麼不好好學習中英文﹐不能怪責人家不懂說你的土話。政府與其立法規管語文歧視﹐倒不如更改移民條例﹐來港居住的外國人必須接受語文評核﹐要懂得基本中文或英文才獲發簽證﹐徹底解決語文歧視的問題。在香港居住的少數族裔﹐若果不肯學習香港的語言﹐適應融入香港的生活﹐那他們留在香港做什麼﹐不如乾脆回老家算了。政府沒有責任為少數種裔提供翻譯服務﹐尤其那些不會為香港帶來經濟利益的少數語言﹐簡直是浪費納稅人的金錢。成日講民主不如搞次全民公投﹐看看香港有多少人願意支付少數種裔的翻譯費用﹖

參考資料﹕

Race Discrimination Bill – Part II – Section 4

Racial discrimination
(1) In any circumstances relevant for the purposes of any provision of this Ordinance, a person (“the discriminator”) discriminates against another erson if—
(a) on the ground of the race of that other person, the discriminator treats that other person less favourably than the discriminator reats or would treat other persons; or
(b) the discriminator applies to that other person a requirement or condition which the discriminator applies or would apply qually to persons not of the same racial group as that other person but—
(i) which is such that the proportion of persons of the same acial group as that other person who can comply with it is onsiderably smaller than the proportion of persons not of that racial group who can comply with it;
(ii) which the discriminator cannot show to be justifiable rrespective of the race of the person to whom it is applied; and
iii) which is to the detriment of the other person because that person cannot comply with it.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1)(b)(ii), a requirement or condition is justifiable either—
(a) if it serves a legitimate objective and bears a rational and proportionate connection to the objective; or
(b) if it is not reasonably practicable for the person who allegedly discriminates against another person not to apply the requirement or condition.
(3) In determining for the purposes of subsection (2)(b) whether it is reasonably practicable for a person who allegedly discriminates against another person not to apply a requirement or condition, any relevant circumstances of the particular case may be taken into account including those referred to in subsection (4).
(4) The circumstances that may be taken into account include, but are not limited to—
(a) the nature of the benefit or detriment likely to accrue to or be suffered by, or the likely impact on, all persons concerned;
(b) an estimate of the proportion of persons likely to benefit out of all the persons concerned, if the requirement or condition is not applied;
(c) whether any activities of the person who allegedly discriminates against another person will be disrupted if the requirement or condition is not applied and, if so, the extent of the disruption; and
(d ) whether the person who allegedly discriminates against another person will need to provide additional services or facilities or incur additional expenditure (including recurrent expenditure), if the requirement or condition is not applied.(5) Nothing in subsection (3) or (4) is to be construed as requiring the person who allegedly discriminates against another person or any other person concerned to confer any benefit, suffer any detriment, provide any services or facilities or incur any expenditure which the person or that other person (as the case may be) is not otherwise required to confer, suffer, provide or incur.
(6) It is declared that, for the purposes of this Ordinance, segregating a person from other persons on the ground of the race of that person is treating that person less favourably than the other persons are treated.

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