of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Hong Kong)
1. At its 1535th and 1536th meetings, held on 23 October 1996, the Human
Rights Committee considered a report submitted by the United Kingdom
of Great Britain and Northern Ireland relating to Hong Kong (CCPR/C/117)
in compliance with a special decision of the Committee (CCPR/C/79/Add.57).
The Committee subsequently adopted1/ the following observations:
2. The Committee welcomes the presence of a high-level delegation which
included a significant number of officials of the Hong Kong Government.
It expresses its appreciation to the representatives of the State party
for the high quality of the report, and the detailed and frank answers
provided by the delegation in response to the written and oral questions.
The Committee notes with satisfaction that this information enabled
it to engage in a highly constructive dialogue with the State party.
3. The Committee
also welcomes the presence of a significant number of non-governmental
organizations from Hong Kong. The information provided by these NGOs
greatly assisted the Committee in its understanding of the human rights
situation in Hong Kong.
4. At its 1553rd
meeting, on 20 October 1995, the Committee2/ envisaged issues in connection
with reporting obligations on the part of Hong Kong after the transfer
of sovereignty to the People's Republic of China on 1 July 1997. It
recalled that, in dealing with cases of dismemberment of States parties
to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, it had
taken the view that human rights treaties devolve with territory, and
that States continue to be bound by the obligations under the Covenant
entered into by the predecessor State. Once the people living in a territory
enjoy the protection of the rights under the International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights, such protection cannot be denied to them
merely by virtue of dismemberment of that territory or its coming under
the sovereignty of another State or of more than one State.3/
5. The Committee
reiterates that the existence and contents of the Joint Declaration
of the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern
Ireland and the Government of the People's Republic of China make it
unnecessary for the Committee to rely solely on the foregoing jurisprudence
as far as Hong Kong is concerned. In this regard, the Committee pointed
out that the parties to the Joint Declaration have agreed that all provisions
of the Covenant as applied to Hong Kong shall remain in force after
1 July 1997. These provisions include reporting procedures under article
40 since the reporting requirements under article 40 will thus continue
to apply, the Human Rights Committee expects that it will continue to
receive and review reports submitted in relation to Hong Kong.
the Committee is ready to give effect to the intention of the parties
to the Joint Declaration as far as Hong Kong is concerned, and to cooperate
fully with the parties to the Joint Declaration to work out the necessary
modalities to achieve these objectives.
C. Suggestions and recommendations
7. The Committee
urges the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Hong
Kong) Government to take all necessary steps to ensure effective and
continued application of the provisions of the Covenant in the territory
of Hong Kong in accordance with the Joint Declaration and the Basic
8. The Committee
reminds the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Government
of its continuing responsibility to ensure to the people of Hong Kong
the rights protected by the Covenant and to carry out its obligations
under the Covenant including in particular article 40; in that regard,
it requests the Government of the United Kingdom to report on the human
rights situation in the territory of Hong Kong up to 30 June 1997.
1/ At its 1556th
meeting (fifty-eighth session), on 6 November 1996.
Statement by the Chairperson on behalf of the Human Rights Committee
(read out by the Chairman at the Committee's 1453rd meeting on 20 October
1995) contained in document CCPR/C/79/Add.57.
3/ See document
CCPR/C/SR.1178/Add.1, CCPR/C/SR.1200, CCPR/C/SR.1201 and CCPR/C/SR.1202.