Speech by the Secretary for Justice

    Following is the speech by the Secretary for Justice, Ms Elsie Leung at the Launching Ceremony of the Chinese United Nations Human Rights Treaties Database today (Thursday):

    Ladies and gentlemen,

    Today is the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the auspicious day of the formal launching of the world's first Chinese United Nations Human Rights Treaties Database. I am very pleased to have been invited to join you on this memorable occasion.

    Hong Kong has always paid much attention to human rights, and is proud of its track records on human rights. After the Reunification, the HKSAR government has not changed its stance, and has been doing all it can, through administrative and legal means, to further enhance the protection of human rights. Like other open governments and NGOs in the world, the HKSAR government attaches great importance to this important day of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Earlier today, the Secretary for Home Affairs has announced that the key human rights treaties are now on-line and available to all (in both Chinese and English) on the Home Affairs Bureau's Homepage on the Internet, and the publication of a bilingual edition of the Declaration itself. Also, senior government officials will take part in various celebration activities organised by NGOs throughout the territory, to show the HKSAR government's support.

    The provisions of the 6 significant human rights conventions as applied to Hong Kong continue to have force in Hong Kong after the Reunification. These Conventions include the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Rights of Child, the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Hong Kong residents' basic rights are also protected by the Basic Law.

    The HKSAR government is presently drafting reports as required by the various international human rights treaties. Drafting of the report regarding the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women has been completed and published in both Chinese and English. Members of the public can read them if they are interested. The HKSAR government will send officials as members of the Chinese delegation, to attend the first public hearing after the Reunification, to be held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, to study the report. At the hearing, we shall explain what legislative, judicial, administrative and other measures that have been taken to comply with the requirements of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the progress made.

    Apart from its own endeavours to protect human rights, the HKSAR government also encourages NGOs to promote human rights and increase the public's understanding of the subject. In this respect, the Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor has made considerable contributions. The Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor's launching of this innovative Chinese Human Rights Treaties Database on the Internet will allow Chinese people around the world to have access to information about mankind's basic rights by means of advanced technology. It is truly a quantum leap and should be praised by all. I would like to wish the Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor a successful launching of the database today, for the benefit of all mankind.

    Thank you.
    End/Thursday, December 10, 1998