por Portugal aos Órgãos de Controlo da Aplicação
dos Tratados das Nações Unidas em Matéria de
Concluding Observations of the Human Rights
Committee: China. 05/05/97. CCPR/C/79/Add.77. (Concluding Observations/Comments)
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER
ARTICLE 40 OF THE COVENANT
Concluding Observations of the Human Rights
1 At its 1476th and 1477th meetings, held on 4 April 1997, the Human
Rights Committee considered the third periodic report of Portugal
relating to Macau (CCPR/C/70/Add.9) and adopted
1/ the following observations:
2 The Committee welcomes the presence of a highnlevel
delegation, which included several officials of the Macau government.
It expresses its appreciation to the representatives of the State
party for the high quality of the report, abundance of additional
information and detailed and frank answers provided in response
to the oral and written questions posed and comments made by the
Committee during its consideration of the report. The Committee
notes with satisfaction that such information enabled it to engage
in a highly constructive dialogue with the State party.
B. Factors relating to reporting obligations
under the Covenant
3 The Committee notes that given the late extension
of the Covenant to Macau, the Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration
and Exchange of Memoranda of 13 April 1987 does not refer to it
and merely states that the laws currently in force in Macau will
remain basically unchanged and that all rights and freedoms of the
inhabitants and other persons in Macau, including the rights of
the person, freedoms of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association,
of travel and movement, to strike, of choice of occupation, to undertake
academic research, of religion and belief and of communication and
the right to own property will be ensured by law in the Macau Special
Administrative Region. This was followed by a Memorandum of Understanding
between the People's Republic of China and the Government of Portugal,
signed by their respective Ambassadors, for extension of the Covenant
to Macau with reservations, and thereafter by resolution 41/92 of
the Assembly of the Portuguese Republic of 31 December 1992, stipulating
that the provisions of the Covenant were extended to Macau with
certain reservations, particularly in regard to article 12, paragraphs
4 and 13. The Committee notes that article 40 of the Basic Law of
the Macau Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic
of China, adopted by the People's Congress on 31 March 1993, states
that the provisions of the Covenant shall continue in force after
19 December 1999 and shall be implemented through the laws of the
Macau Special Administrative Region.
4 Accordingly, the Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration,
read in conjunction with the Memorandum of Understanding and the
Basic Law, appears to provide a sound legal basis for the continued
protection in Macau 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, such protection
cannot be denied to them merely on account of the dismemberment
of that territory or its coming within the jurisdiction of another
State or of more than one State.
2 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 Macau after 19 December
C. Positive aspects
5 The Committee welcomes the fact that the death
penalty has been abolished in Macau, including for military crimes.
In this context, it notes with appreciation that the domestic law
as interpreted by the Superior Court of Justice prohibits extradition
to a country where the person concerned may be sentenced to death.
6 The Committee notes with appreciation that
strict safeguards exist in the Organic Statute of Macau with regard
to the declaration of a state of siege or state of emergency and
that non-derogable rights under article 4, paragraph 2, of the Covenant
may under no circumstances be derogated from.
7 It is also noted with appreciation that under
article 30 of the Portuguese Constitution persons deprived of their
liberty are entitled to continue to enjoy their fundamental rights,
save for those limitations that are inherent in their imprisonment.
8 The Committee welcomes the efforts being made
by the authorities to disseminate information on human rights to
members of the judiciary, civil servants, teachers and the public
9 The Committee notes with appreciation that
under article 22 of the Portuguese Constitution, read in conjunction
with article 2 of the Organic Statute of Macau, State agencies and
public bodies are held liable for actions or omissions resulting
in violations of human rights.
10 The Committee welcomes the setting up of
new institutions and offices to protect human rights, such as the
Public Information and Assistance Centre and the High Commission
against Corruption and Administrative Illegality.
D. Principal subjects of concern
11 The Committee notes with concern that, while
the majority of the population is Chinese-speaking, official charge
forms and charge sheets, as well as court documents and decisions,
are in Portuguese only, although efforts are being made to make
Chinese versions available to the people.
12 The Committee is concerned that, despite
guarantees of equality in the Constitution and in labour legislation,
de facto inequalities continue in regard to the situation of women
and their remuneration. The persistence of certain traditional attitudes
and practices contributes to this inequality and discrimination
in the workplace.
13 The Committee is particularly concerned at
reports on the extent of trafficking in women in Macau and on the
large numbers of women from different countries who are being brought
into Macau for the purpose of prostitution. The Committee is extremely
concerned at the inaction by the authorities in preventing and penalizing
exploitation of these women and that, in particular, immigration
and police officials are not taking effective measures to protect
these women and to impose sanctions on those who are exploiting
women through prostitution in violation of article 8 of the Covenant.
14 The Committee expresses concern at the low
percentage of locally born residents holding senior positions within
the public administration, thus raising the issue of implementation
of article 25 of the Covenant.
15 The Committee is concerned that no firm arrangements
have been made between the Governments of China and Portugal with
regard to the nationality of the residents of Macau after 19 December
16 The Committee regrets that, despite the efforts
that are being made by the authorities to disseminate information
in regard to the rights recognized in the Covenant, the public in
general, and non-governmental organizations in particular, were
not adequately informed of the Human Rights Committee's consideration
of the report. The Committee is also concerned that nonngovernmental
organizations in Macau are not being encouraged to participate in
programmes for the promotion and protection of human rights and
that their cooperation is not sought in regard to the implementation
of human rights.
E. Suggestions and recommendations
17 The Committee recommends that efforts be
accelerated to introduce, as soon as possible, the use of the Chinese
language in the courts at all levels and particularly in regard
to court documents and decisions.
18 The Committee recommends that determined
efforts be made to ensure a substantial rise in the percentage of
locally born residents holding senior posts within the public administration
and the judiciary.
19 The Committee further recommends that the
Government should initiate or strengthen programmes aimed at providing
assistance to women in difficult circumstances, particularly those
coming from other countries who are brought into Macau for the purpose
of prostitution. Strong measures should be taken to prevent this
form of trafficking and to impose sanctions on those who exploit
women in this way. Protection should be extended to women who are
the victims of this kind of trafficking so that they may have a
place of refuge and an opportunity to stay in order to give evidence
against the person responsible in criminal or civil proceedings.
20 The Committee recommends that the provisions
of article 4 of the Portuguese Assembly=s resolution No. 41/92,
whereby articles 12, paragraph 4, and 13 of the Covenant are not
applicable to Macau as far as entry and departure of persons and
the expulsion of foreigners from the Territory are concerned, be
repealed as soon as possible.
21 The Committee recommends that human rights
education be extended to members of the police and security forces,
the legal profession and other persons involved in the administration
of justice, with a view to making it a part of their regular training.
22 The Committee suggests that further efforts
be undertaken to disseminate information in regard to the rights
recognized in the Covenant and the activities carried out by the
Committee. In particular, it recommends that the present Concluding
Observations be widely disseminated among the public.