Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
1. The Committee considered
the fifth periodic report of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
(CCPR/C/HKSAR/99/1 and supplementary information CCPR/C/HKSAR/99/1/Add.1)
at its 1803rd to 1805th meetings (CCPR/C/SR.1803-SR.1805), held on 1 and
2 November 1999. This report is the first submitted by the People's Republic
of China after the return of HKSAR to Chinese sovereignty on 1 July 1997.
The Committee adopted, at its 1810th meeting (sixty-seventh session) held
on 4 November 1999, the following concluding observations.
2. The Committee expresses
appreciation to the delegation from HKSAR for the information it provided
and for its willingness to submit further information in writing. It further
welcomes the recognition given by the delegation to the contribution made
by NGOs to the consideration of the HKSAR report.
3. The Committee thanks the
People's Republic of China for its willingness to participate in the reporting
procedure under article 40 of the Covenant by submitting the report prepared
by the HKSAR authorities and by introducing the HKSAR delegation to the
Committee. The Committee affirms its earlier pronouncements on the continuity
of the reporting obligations in relation to Hong Kong.
B. Positive aspects
4. The Committee notes that
article 39 of the Basic Law provides that the provisions of the Covenant
as applied to HKSAR shall remain in force and shall be implemented through
the laws of HKSAR. The Committee welcomes the fact that the primacy of
the Covenant is ensured in domestic legislation by a combination of articles
39 and 11 of the Basic Law.
5. The Committee welcomes
the efforts undertaken by the HKSAR to give publicity to its report and
its commitment to give wide dissemination to the Committee's concluding
6. The Committee welcomes
the efforts undertaken by HKSAR to educate civil society about human rights.
In particular, the Committee welcomes the great number of training courses,
workshops and seminars conducted in HKSAR for all sectors of the population,
including the civil service, the judiciary, the police and the educational
7. The Committee welcomes
the steps taken by HKSAR to promote gender equality through educational
campaigns and appropriate legislation.
C. Principal subjects of concern and recommendations
8. The Committee is concerned
that most of the recommendations formulated in the Committee's concluding
observations (published in A/51/40, paras. 66-72; A/52/40, paras. 84-85)
have not yet been implemented.
9. The Committee remains concerned
that there is no independent body established by law to investigate and
monitor human rights violations in HKSAR and the implementation of Covenant
10. The Committee is seriously
concerned at the implications for the independence of the judiciary of
the request by the Chief Executive of HKSAR for a reinterpretation of
article 24 (2)(3) of the Basic Law by the Standing Committee of the National
People's Congress (NPC) (under article 158 of the Basic Law) following
upon the decision of the Court of Final Appeal (CFA) in the Ng Ka Ling
and Chan Kam Nga cases, which placed a particular interpretation on article
24 (2)(3). The Committee has noted the statement of the HKSAR that it
would not seek another such interpretation except in highly exceptional
circumstances. Nevertheless, the Committee remains concerned that a request
by the executive branch of government for an interpretation under article
158 (1) of the Basic Law could be used in circumstances that undermine
the right to a fair trial under article 14.
11. The Committee takes the
view that the Independent Police Complaints Council has not the power
to ensure proper and effective investigation of complaints against the
police. The Committee remains concerned that investigations of police
misconduct are still in the hands of the police themselves, which undermines
the credibility of these investigations.
The HKSAR should reconsider
its approach on this issue and should provide for independent investigation
of complaints against the police.
12. The Committee reiterates
its concern, expressed in paragraph 19 of its concluding observations,
adopted at the end of the consideration of the fourth periodic report,
that the electoral system for the Legislative Council does not comply
with articles 2, paragraphs 1, 25 and 26 of the Covenant. The Committee
is concerned about the impending abolition of the Municipal Councils that
would further diminish the opportunity of HKSAR residents to take part
in the conduct of public affairs, that is guaranteed under article 25.
The HKSAR should reconsider
this step. It should take all necessary measures to maintain and strengthen
democratic representation of HKSAR residents in public affairs.
13. The Committee is concerned
that the Interception of Communications Ordinance, which was passed in
June 1997 in order to restrict the power of the authorities to intercept
communications, has not yet been brought into effect. Section 33 of the
Telecommunication Ordinance and Section 13 of the Post Office Ordinance
still continue to be in force, thus allowing the authorities to violate
the right to privacy under article 17 of the Covenant.
The HKSAR must ensure that
its law and practice protect the rights guaranteed under article 17.
14. In the light of the fact
that the Covenant is applied in HKSAR subject to a reservation that seriously
affects the application of article 13 in relation to decision-making procedures
in deportation cases, the Committee remains concerned that persons facing
a risk of imposition of the death penalty or of torture, or inhuman, cruel
or degrading treatment as a consequence of their deportation from HKSAR
may not enjoy effective protection.
In order to secure compliance
with articles 6 and 7 in deportation cases, the HKSAR should ensure
that their deportation procedures provide effective protection against
the risk of imposition of the death penalty or of torture or inhuman,
cruel or degrading treatment.
15. The Committee remains
concerned that no legislative remedies are available to individuals in
respect of discrimination on the grounds of race or sexual orientation.
Necessary legislation should
be enacted in order to ensure full compliance with article 26 of the
16. The Committee is concerned
that the educational system in HKSAR discriminates against girls in selection
for secondary schools, that considerable differences exist in the earning
levels between men and women, that women are under-represented in public
boards and public offices, and that there is discrimination against women
in the Small Home Policy.
The HKSAR should adopt positive
measures to overcome discrimination against women and should ensure
equal pay for work of equal value.
17. The Committee is concerned
that the age of criminal responsibility is seven years and takes note
of the statement by the Delegation that the Law Reform Commission is currently
conducting a review of this matter.
The age of criminal responsibility
should be raised so as to ensure the rights of children under article
18. The Committee is concerned
that the offences of treason and sedition under the Crimes Ordinance are
defined in overly broad terms, thus endangering freedom of expression
guaranteed under article 19 of the Covenant.
All laws enacted under article
23 of the Basic Law must be in conformity with the Covenant.
19. With regard to freedom
of assembly, the Committee is aware that there are very frequent public
demonstrations in HKSAR and takes note of the delegation's statement that
permission to hold demonstrations is never denied. Nevertheless, the Committee
is concerned that the Public Order Ordinance could be applied to restrict
unduly enjoyment of the rights guaranteed in article 21 of the Covenant.
The HKSAR should review
this Ordinance and bring its terms into compliance with article 21 of
20. With regard to freedom
of association, the Committee is concerned that the Societies Ordinance
may be applied in a way to restrict unduly the enjoyment of Article 22
The HKSAR should review
this Ordinance so as to ensure full protection of the right to freedom
of association, including trade union rights, under article 22 of the
D. Date of examination of the sixth periodic report; dissemination
21. The Committee sets the
date for the submission of the next periodic report as 31 October 2003.
That report should be prepared in accordance with the Committee's new
Guidelines (CCPR/C/66/GUI/Rev.1) and should give particular attention
to the issues raised by the Committee in these Concluding Observations.
The Committee urges that the text of these Concluding Observations be
made available to the public as well as to the legislative and administrative
authorities. It requests that the next periodic report be widely disseminated
among the public, including civil society and non-governmental organizations
operating in HKSAR.