on 27 July 1998
Paper for the Legislative Council Panel on Home Affairs
Submission of reports by the HKSAR under the international human rights treaties
This paper sets out for Members�information the framework, timetable, procedures and present position of the preparation of the HKSAR's upcoming reports under the -
Reports in progress
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW);
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR);
- International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR); and
- Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT).
2. The CEDAW was extended to Hong Kong in October 1996. By virtue of Article 18 of the Convention, States Parties are obliged to submit periodic reports on the implementation of the Convention within one year after the Convention's entry into force for the State concerned and thereafter at four-year intervals.
3. The first report of the HKSAR fell due after the reunification. As China is a State Party to CEDAW, the report on the HKSAR will be incorporated into the CPG's report to be submitted to the United Nations.
4. An outline of topics to be covered under the CEDAW report was issued for public consultation between 12 May and 25 June 1997. The Home Affairs Bureau has since been co-ordinating the compilation of the report. A draft report is ready but we are updating it in view of the CPG's intention of submitting it in September this year. The updating process is nearly complete. We shall submit our report to the Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the HKSAR (MFA Office) in August for onward transmission to Beijing. The report will be incorporated as a discrete section of the CPG's report and submitted as part of that report to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (treaty monitoring body for CEDAW) in September.
5. Once the metropolitan report is submitted to the United Nations, we shall make public the section pertaining to the HKSAR. We understand that the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women may examine the report in January 1999. Representatives of the HKSARG will attend the hearing as part of the Chinese delegation.
ICCPR and ICESCR
6. On 22 November 1997, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing announced that in order to fully realise the "one country, two systems" principle, separate reports on the implementation of the ICCPR (Article 40) and the ICESCR (Articles 16 and 17) in the HKSAR would be submitted to the United Nations treaty monitoring bodies.
7. On 4 December 1998, China's Permanent Representative to the United Nations formally notified the United Nations Secretary General that in line with the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law and taking into account the fact that the People's Republic of China is not yet a state party to both Covenants, the Chinese Government would, in the light of the relevant provisions of the two Covenants, entrust its Permanent Mission to the United Nations with transmitting the reports by the HKSAR to the United Nations Secretary General.
8. Early this year, the Chinese Permanent Mission to the United Nations informed the UN of the HKSARG's intention to submit reports under the ICCPR and the ICESCR in August. We aim to provide the international community with a clear and complete picture of the implementation of the Covenants here one year after reunification.
9. Outlines of topics to be covered under the two reports were issued for public consultation between 10 March and 15 April. The Home Affairs Bureau has since been co-ordinating the compilation of the reports. We aim to issue the ICCPR report to the MFA Office in late-August. That under the ICESCR will follow shortly after . The MFA Office will send the reports to the CPG's Permanent Mission to the United Nations for onward transmission to the United Nations Secretary General.
10. Once the reports have been submitted to the United Nations, they will be made available to the public. The MFA Office will notify us when the respective treaty monitoring bodies announce hearing dates. We will then select teams to attend the hearings.
11. The CAT was extended to Hong Kong in December 1992. Article 19 of the Convention requires States Parties to submit periodic reports on the implementation of the Convention at four-year intervals. The CPG will submit its third periodic report under the Convention to the United Nations in December. The HKSARG has been requested to prepare its contribution to the CPG's report by end-October.
12. An outline of topics to be covered under the CAT report was issued for public consultation on 16 July. The consultation period will end on 22 August. The Home Affairs Bureau will co-ordinate the compilation of the report for submission to the MFA Office for onward transmission to Beijing by the end-October deadline. As with the CEDAW report and as indicated in paragraph 11, the CAT report will form a discrete section of the CPG's report and will be submitted with it to the Committee against Torture (the treaty monitoring body for CAT).
13. Once the metropolitan report is submitted to the United Nations, we shall make public the section pertaining to the HKSAR. Representatives of the HKSARG will attend the hearing of the report as part of the Chinese delegation.
Submission of other reports
14. There is also a reporting obligation under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). As in the case of the CEDAW and the CAT, Hong Kong's reports under those Conventions will form part of China's "metropolitan" reports. However, we have not yet been asked for contributions under either of them.
Home Affairs Bureau