June 1990

The ac hoc group concerning the legislation of the BORO urged the Government to study the feasibility of a Human Rights Commission in Hong Kong.[1]


June 1991


During the second reading of the BORO, the ac hoc group was divided on the functions and terms of the Human Rights Commission. Nevertheless, the group believed that speedy legislation of the BORO should be accorded with the highest priority and such disagreement should not delay the passage of the BORO. Hence, the ac hoc group abandoned the proposal to establish the Human Rights Commission and urged the Government to fulfill its promise to study the matter and come up with a conclusion “soon” after the enactment of the BORO.[2]

人權法案二讀期間,法案專案小組分工研究人權委員會的功能以及細則。然而,小組認為人權法案的立法進度應獲優先考慮,反對設立人權委員會不應延遲人權法案的立法進程。 因此,專案小組放棄向港英政府建議成立具仲裁能力的人權委員會,以及促請港英政府履行承諾,在人權法案生效前就成立人權委員會作出研究及結論。

July 1993


Former legislator Ms. Anna Wu (LegCo Member 1992-95) initiated a Legislative Council motion debate on the enactment of antidiscrimination legislation and the establishment of a Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission.[3] The motion gained the support from the Legislative Council at that time.[4]

前立法會議員胡紅玉 (任期:1992-1995) 就反歧視條例立法以及設立人權及平等機會委員會動議立法會辯論,並獲立法局議員支持。

March 1994


Ms. Anna Wu introduced two private member bills, namely the Equal Opportunities Bill, which would have prohibited discrimination in private sector on several different grounds including race, sex, disability, age, and sexuality[5], and the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission Bill which called for the establishment of a general human rights commission.


April 1994


Empowered by Clause XXIV of the Royal Instructions to oppose a private member bill on which incurred public expenditure, the former Governor Chris Patten declined to give permission to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission Bill. During his address to the LegCo on the United Kingdom House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee’s “Report on Relations between the United Kingdom and China in the period up to and beyond 1997”, Patten rejected the need to establish a human rights commission by arguing that human rights can be effectively protected in Hong Kong without establishing a Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission and some NHRIs in other jurisdictions had remained toothless.[6]  



HKSAR Government rejected the need to establish a general human rights institution by continuously pointing to the independent judiciary, the legal aid system, the vigilant media, and various specialist institutions, including the Ombudsman, the Privacy Commission, and the Equal Opportunities Commission.[7]


November 1999


The former High Commissioner of Human Rights, Ms. Mary Robinson, visited Hong Kong and called for the establishment of an NHRI in accordance with the Paris Principles in Hong Kong.  前聯合國人權事務高級專員Mary Robinson女士訪港時促請特區政府成立符合《巴黎原則》的人權委員會。

May 2004


The Chairman of the Panel of Home Affairs of the Legislative Council concluded that Panel’s Meeting by requesting the Administration to take note of the suggestion of conducting a public consultation on the establishment of a human rights commission in Hong Kong.[8]


April 2005


In response to a question posed by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights during the consideration of the initial report of China, the delegation of the HKSAR Government, Mr. Stephen Fisher, noted that the Government was “currently considering the establishment of a human rights commission.”[9]


March 2006


The Secretary for Home Affairs, Dr Patrick Ho, in the motion debate on “Implementing the recommendations of the United Nations Human Rights Committee” at the Legislative Council said:-

“We have acted on past recommendations of the Human Rights Committee and will act on any future ones to the extent that we judge feasible and desirable…An example of a long-standing recommendation that has yet to be put into effect is the establishment of a human rights commission.  We have not, as some have asserted, ignored the Committee.  We have kept the matter in view, testing its implications against the criteria I have rehearsed and ready to move forward when the conditions are met.  Tentative steps have already been taken in that direction with the establishment of new public forums for regular and formal exchange of views between Government and non-governmental organizations.  Options for further development are under exploration, though we are not – as yet ready to commit to a timetable.”[10]

民政事務局局長何志平在立法會會議上就「實施聯合國人權事務委員會的建議」動議辯論的致辭:「香港特區政府過往已有實施人權委員會的建議。至於委員會日後的建議,只要是可行及合適的,我們同樣會實施 […] 例如委員會早前曾建議香港設立人權委員會,雖然仍未落實,但我們並非如部分人所指,忽視人權委員會的意見。我們一直在跟進有關建議,並根據我剛才再提及實施公約監察組織所作建議的準則,衡量設立人權委員會的影響,並會在各方面條件符合時,展開進一步工作。在現階段我們採取了適當的中期措施,確保在公眾監察人權狀況方面有更高的透明度。其中包括設立多個非政府組織論壇,以開闢人權監察機構(例如非政府機構)和政府之間的溝通途徑,提供常設的渠道讓政府與有關的非政府組織定期就人權方面的事宜正式交換意見。雖然我們尚未就成立人權委員會訂出時間表,但是我們會繼續探討實踐該目標的方案。」[11]

March 2006


In the hearing before the UN Human Rights Committee, the HKSAR Government promised to review the institutional framework for human rights promotion and protection in Hong Kong. Yet, no public consultation of such a review has been conducted and no report has been published.



The HKSAR Government have apparently returned to the conservative position and stated that the establishment of a general human rights commission is unnecessary.[12]


Feb 2007


The Home Affairs Panel of the Legislative Council decided to set up a Subcommittee on Human Rights Protection Mechanisms under it.


Jun 2007


A motion “That this Council urges the Government to set up a Commission on Children to fulfill the obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, safeguard the well-bring of children, and ensure that children’s perspectives are fully taken into account in the process of formulating government policies” was passed by the Legislative Council with unanimous votes from all the attending legislators.



Jul 2007


The policy area of human rights was transferred from Home Affairs Bureau to the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau (CMAB). Human rights education remains the responsibility of HAB, but the human rights education working group was disbanded.


The HKSAR Government decided to terminate, without any proper justifications,  the work on the perception survey on human rights after the transfer of the policy portfolio on human rights.





April 2009


In response to the recommendations on setting up one single institution by the Ombudsman Review report, the Government again claims that the existing human rights protection mechanism operates well and hence has no plans or timetable for the establishment of a single institution.



[1]  LegCo’s meeting, “Official Record of Proceedings,” (5 June 1991) at 52.

[2] Id at 29.

[3] LegCo’s meeting, “Official Record of Proceedings,” (14 July 1993) at 4591-5.

[4] Id at 4633.

[5] Anna Wu, “Equal Opportunities Legislation and a Human Rights Commission for Hong Kong, A Proposal,” March 1994. See also Anna Wu, Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission Bill 1994.

[6]  Legislative Council, “Official Record of Proceedings,” (21 April 1994) at 3299.

[7]Legislative Council, Panel on Home Affairs, “Background brief prepared by Legislative Council Secretariat Monitoring mechanism for the implementation of United Nations human rights treaties in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region,” (7 May 2003), LC Paper No. CB(2)1999/02-03(02) Ref: CB2/PL/HA, at 3-5.

See also Legislative Council Panel on Home Affairs, (May 2006), LC Paper No. CB(2)2219/05-06(01) at 2.

[8] Legislative Council, Panel on Home Affairs, “Minutes of meeting,” (14 May 2004), LC Paper No.CB(2)2663/03-04 Ref: CB2/PL/HA.

[9] Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, “Press Release: Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Reviews Initial Report of China,” (29 April 2005), available at

[10] Press Release of the HKSAR Government, “LC: SHA’s speech in the motion debate on "Implementing the recommendations of the United Nations Human Rights Committee,” (1 March 2006).

[11] 民政事務局局長於200631 日就議員動議議案「實施聯合國人權事務委員會的建議」的致辭全文:http://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/200603/01/P200603010317.htm

[12] Legislative Council, Panel on Home Affairs, (May 2006) LC Paper No. CB(2)2219/05-06(01)  at 2.