Title Hong Kong: Human rights, law and autonomy: the risks of transition
Publisher Amnesty International
Publication Date 19 February 1997
Country Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region of China)
Topics Administrative courts | Constitutional law | Death penalty | Freedom of assembly and association | Freedom of expression | Freedom of information | Human rights and fundamental freedoms | Independence of judiciary | International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) | Military law | Political situation
Citation / Document Symbol ASA 19/004/1997
Reference Amnesty International is a worldwide voluntary movement that works to prevent some of the gravest violations by governments of people's fundamental human rights. The main focus of its campaigning is to: free all prisoners of conscience people detained an
Cite as Amnesty International, Hong Kong: Human rights, law and autonomy: the risks of transition, 19 February 1997, ASA 19/004/1997, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6a9a63.html [accessed 30 September 2014]
Comments The return of Hong Kong under the sovereignty of the People's Republic of China (PRC) on 1 July 1997 will be a momentous event for China and the world. It marks the virtual end of centuries of foreign encroachment. The future of Hong Kong will probably influence the course of events in China in the coming years. One pillar of Hong Kong's development is the effective protection and promotion of all human rights. The continuation of effective guarantees for human rights will be a critical factor in Hong Kong's handover. In order to maintain and reinforce safeguards for human rights in Hong Kong during and beyond the transition to Chinese sovereignty, Amnesty International makes the following recommendations to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government: Establish an independent human rights commission An independent Human Rights Commission would make an important contribution to the reinforcement of respect for, and awareness of, human rights in Hong Kong. Review and reinforce safeguards for judicial independence Amnesty International urges the HKSAR Government to commission an independent review aimed at identifying any further measures which may be needed to guarantee the future independence of the judiciary in Hong Kong. Maintain the Bill of Rights Amnesty International urges Chief Executive Designate Tung Chee-hwa to confirm unequivocally that the Bill of Rights, because it enshrines in Hong Kong law most provisions of the ICCPR as applied to Hong Kong, is consistent with Hong Kong's international obligations and with the Basic Law. Seek development of international reporting procedures Amnesty International urges the HKSAR Government to seek the development, by the Government of the PRC, of a procedure for reporting to the Human Rights Committee on the implementation of the ICCPR in Hong Kong. Maintain safeguards for freedom of association, peaceful assembly and other rights Amnesty International urges the HKSAR to ensure that any legislation passed to prohibit 'any act of treason, secession, sedition' or 'subversion against the Central People's Government' should not restrict the exercise of fundamental rights. Amnesty International urges the HKSAR Government to ensure that any legislation on state secrets passed in the HKSAR in pursuance of Article 23 of the Basic Law protects the exercise of freedom of expression and information as safeguarded under international standards. Maintain the accountability of all security forces Amnesty International calls on the Government of the PRC to clarify that the Hong Kong Garrison will be abound by HKSAR law if asked to maintain public order or carry out other police functions. Amnesty International urges that military personnel should be tried by civilian courts if accused of committing crimes against the person (human rights violations) against civilians. Ensure protection of rights during a state of emergency Amnesty International urges the HKSAR Government to ensure that no legislation applicable in Hong Kong during a state of emergency can lead to violations of non-derogable rights, including the right to life and the right to be protected from torture and ill-treatment. The organization also urges the HKSAR Government to ensure that Hong Kong residents are not subject to national laws of the PRC other than those which apply to the HKSAR by virtue of their inclusion in Annex III of the Basic Law, including during a state of emergency. Do not restore the death penalty Amnesty International urges the Chief Executive Designate to ensure that, in accordance with his earlier statement, the abolition of the death penalty in Hong Kong is not overturned.
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