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Implementation of Human Rights Treaties in Hong Kong C.K. Law HKU July 8, 2012 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Implementation of Human Rights Treaties in Hong Kong C.K. Law HKU July 8, 2012 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Implementation of Human Rights Treaties in Hong Kong C.K. Law HKU July 8,

2 Outline of presentation l Brief introduction of Hong Kong l Framework of human rights protection in Hong Kong l Some of the major controversies 2

3 Hong Kong l Hong Kong is currently a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China, with its own government, judicial system, stamps, passports, customs policy, immigration control, currency etc. It has its own delegations to various international organisations and sport events. 3

4 Hong Kong – a city in South China

5 Hong Kong Map Size: 1,104 km 2 (New York City: km 2,, Metro Stockholm : 6,519 km 2 ) Population: 7 millions

6 Hong Kong Hong Kong 1843 Hong Kong Now

7 Brief History of Hong Kong l HK a fishing and agricultural village before 1841 l Sino-British “Nanking Treaty” (1842) after the Opium War ( ) – HK Island became a British Colony l 1860 “Beijing Treaty” – colony expanded to Kowloon l 1898 – New Territories “rented” to the British Empire for 100 years l 1997 – Handover back to China as a Special Administrative Region (Self administration except foreign affairs and defense. Constitutional affairs and appointment of principal officials to be approved by Central Beijing Government).

8 Human Rights in HK l Human rights conditions in HK, sometimes arouses international interest for 2 major reasons: – it is a world city –a yardstick to judge whether China has kept its promise of the "One Country, Two Systems" principle granted to the HKSAR by its mini-constitution, the Basic Law, under the Sino-British Joint Declaration l A more detailed discussion on the legal aspects of human rights in HK can be found in: g_Kong g_Kong 8

9 Human Rights Treaties applicable to Hong Kong l There are altogether 16 international treaties in force and applicable to HKSAR (see: #Human Rights ) #Human Rights l The two most important ones are: –The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and –The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) 9

10 The framework of implementing human rights in Hong Kong l The Basic Law l Common law and legislation l Mechanisms to monitor the human rights situation in Hong Kong 10

11 Provisions within Basic Law l equality before the law, freedom of speech and of the press, freedom of association, of assembly and of demonstration, from unlawful search of or intrusion into homes or other premises, freedom and privacy of communication, freedom of movement, freedom of religious belief, and right to social welfare in accordance with law rights of permanent residents to vote and to stand for election in accordance with law. 11

12 Local legislation l Hong Kong Bill of Rights l Sex Discrimination Ordinance l Disability Discrimination Ordinance l Family Status Discrimination Ordinance l Race Discrimination Ordinance l Related legislation –Mental Health Ordinance –Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance 12

13 Mechanisms to monitor human rights in HKSAR l Equal Opportunities Commission (look after the Four “Discrimination” Ordinances) l Reporting to the United Nations Human Rights Council (as part of China’s report) l Human Rights Forum Human Rights Forum, the Ethnic Minorities Forum, the Sexual Minorities Forum, the Children’s Rights Forum, the Ethnic Minorities Forum – NGOs consultative platforms l Related bodies – Women’s Commission, Privacy Commissioner, Independent Police Complaints Council, Legislative Council l NGOs (e.g. HK Human Rights Monitor) 13

14 Some of the major controversies l Human Rights Commission vs Equal Opportunities Commission l Only 50% of the Legislature returned by universal suffrage (other 50% returned by functional constituencies representing much narrower sectorial interest) l Applicability and scope of discrimination ordinances l Incidents of Police allegedly abusing power 14


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