Apresentados por Portugal aos Órgãos de Controlo da
Aplicação dos Tratados das Nações Unidas
em Matéria de Direitos Humanos
Concluding observations of the
Human Rights Committee (Macau) : China. 30/11/99. CCPR/C/79/Add.115.
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED
BY STATES PARTIES UNDER
ARTICLE 40 OF THE COVENANT
Concluding observations of the Human Rights
1. The Committee considered the fourth periodic
report of Portugal relating to Macao (CCPR/C/POR/99/4) at its 1794th
and 1795th meetings, held on 25 and 26 October 1999, and adopted
the following concluding observations at its 1806th meeting, held
on 2 November 1999.
2. The Committee welcomes the attendance of
a large delegation, including a number of officials from the Macao
Government. It wishes to express its thanks to the representatives
of the State party for their detailed responses to the questions
posed orally and in writing and the comments made by the Committee
during its consideration of the report, and for their offer to supply
further information in writing. The Committee regrets that, although
it has received information on the legislation applicable before
and after 19 December 1999, it has not been given enough detail
on the subject or up-to-date statistics.
3. The Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration, read in conjunction with
the Memorandum of Understanding and the Basic Law, provides a legal
basis for the continued protection in Macao after 19 December 1999
of the rights specified in the Covenant. The Committee, moreover,
wishes to reiterate its long-standing position that human rights
treaties devolve with territory, and that States continue to be
bound by the obligations under the Covenant entered into by the
predecessor State. Once the people living in a territory find themselves
under the protection of the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights, they cannot be stripped of that protection on
account of a change in sovereignty. (See documents CCPR/C/SR.1178/Add.1,
SR.1200-1202 and SR.1453.) Consequently, the reporting requirements
under article 40 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights will continue to apply and the Human Rights Committee expects
to receive and review reports in relation to Macao after 19 December
B. Positive aspects
4. The Committee notes with satisfaction the
negotiations between the Portuguese and Chinese authorities to ensure
legal continuity (article 8 of the Basic Law) and continued application
of international treaties. It welcomes the fact that a large number
of the rights and fundamental freedoms set forth in the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights are enunciated in articles
24 to 44 of the Basic Law of Macao.
5. The Committee notes with satisfaction the great efforts which
have been made in the past few years to give the Chinese-speaking
population access to official forms and to court documents and decisions
in Chinese, and that Chinese is used in the courts and for official
business. It notes that, under article 9 of the Basic Law, both
Chinese and Portuguese can be used as official languages after 19
6. The Committee also notes with satisfaction
that Portugal and China reached agreement in March 1998 on the principles
underlying the new organization of the legal system, which guarantee
the non-removability of judges and the autonomy and independence
of the judiciary.
C. Principal subjects of concern and Committee
7. The Committee notes with great concern that
on the eve of the territory of Macao being returned to the sovereignty
of the Peoples Republic of China, it still remains unclear which
laws, including human rights laws, will be held incompatible with
the Basic Law of the Macao Special administrative Region and therefore
become invalid after 19 December 1999. The Committee wishes to underline
the obligation of the State Party, according to article 2 of the
Covenant, as well as that of the State under whose jurisdiction
the territory will be, to ensure that the population of Macao remain
fully protected under the Covenant after 19 December 1999.
8. The Committee notes the Ombudsman functions
of the High Commissioner against Corruption and Administrative Illegality,
and the petition procedure; however, it regrets the absence of an
independent, statutory Human Rights Commission with a mandate to
monitor the implementation of human rights legislation. Such a Commission
should be established.
9. The Committee is concerned at the paucity of judges, lawyers
and interpreters, which might adversely affect the administration
of justice. Further efforts should be made to train lawyers and
interpreters and give them a specialization in human rights.
10. The Committee is concerned that, despite guarantees of equality
in the Constitution also reflected in article 25 of the Basic Law,
and in labour legislation, de facto inequalities continue with regard
to the status of women and their remuneration. Effective measures
should be taken to eliminate such inequalities.
11. The Committee notes reports that organized crime and, in particular,
trafficking in women and prostitution, persist in Macao. It acknowledges
that the Penal Code prohibits organized crime, but is concerned
at the authorities' failure to take action to protect the victims.
Preventive action should be taken to stamp out trafficking in women
and rehabilitation programmes for the victims should be provided.
The victims should be protected and supported by laws and policies
of the State party.
12. The Committee is concerned at certain aspects of Law 6/97/M
(promoting, founding or supporting a secret association), namely
the creation of a vague and insufficiently defined (or "abstract")
offence, and the imposition of an increased sentence, or conviction,
on the basis that the person is a "habitual offender"
or is likely to repeat such an offence. Penal legislation should
be brought into line with articles 14 and 15 of the Covenant, in
particular the prohibition on trying a person or placing him/her
in jeopardy, twice for the same offence (non bis in idem, article
14, para. 7) and the ban on laws with retroactive effect (nullum
crimen sine lege, nulla pna sine lege, article 15).
13. The Committee is concerned that the Governments of China and
Portugal have not yet reached firm agreement on the nationality
of residents of Macao after 19 December 1999, and that the criteria
which will determine which Macao residents may be regarded as being
of Portuguese origin are not yet known. Effective measures should
be taken to safeguard the rights of those who at present hold dual
14. The Committee is also concerned that no firm agreement has been
reached on the transfer of residents of the Macao Special Administrative
Region to face trial in other jurisdictions in China, or their extradition
to other countries in cases where they may face heavier penalties
than those laid down in the Macao Penal Code, including the death
penalty. The Committee reiterates that Macao residents enjoy the
protection of the Covenant and should not lose that protection by
being transferred to other jurisdictions.
15. The Committee is concerned at the lack of firm agreements guaranteeing
freedom of the press and expression after 19 December 1999. Effective
measures should be taken to guarantee those freedoms for the future.
16. The Committee is concerned at the paucity of non-governmental
human-rights organizations and the fact that their establishment
is not being encouraged.
17. The Committee regrets that the public in
general is not adequately informed of the Human Rights Committee's
consideration of the report. The Committee recommends that the State
party distribute the text of its report and these Concluding Observations
widely. The State party's next report should be prepared on an article
by article basis, in accordance with the Committee's new Guidelines
(CCPR/C/66/GUI) and should give particular attention to the issues
raised by the Committee in these Concluding Observations. It sets
the date for the next report on the implementation of the Covenant
in Macao as 31 October 2001.