por Portugal aos Órgãos de Controlo da Aplicação
dos Tratados das Nações Unidas em Matéria de
Concluding observations of
the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Portugal
(Macau) : Portugal Macau. 06/12/96. E/C.12/1/Add.9. (Concluding
COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL
AND CULTURAL RIGHTS, CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED
BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLES 16 AND 17 OF THE COVENANT
Concluding observations of the Committee on Economic, Social
and Cultural Rights
1. At its 31st, 32nd and 33rd meetings, held on 20 and 21 November
1996, the Committee considered the second periodic report of Portugal
relating to Macau concerning the rights covered by articles 1
to 15 of the Covenant (E/1990/6/Add.8), as well as the written
replies to the additional questions drawn up by the pre-sessional
working group (E/C.12/1995/LQ.10), and adopted, at its 54th meeting,
held on 5 December 1996, the following concluding observations.
2. The Committee expresses its appreciation
to the State party for its report and written replies to the list
of issues, and for the open dialogue conducted between the Committee
members and the large delegation from Macau.
3. The Committee notes that the report and the written replies
to the list of issues have not been prepared in a manner which
enable the Committee to adequately evaluate the enjoyment of economic,
social and cultural rights in Macau.
B. Positive aspects
4. The Committee appreciates the efforts being
made by the Portuguese Government to secure from the Government
of the People's Republic of China all possible guarantees regarding
respect for the provisions of the International Covenant on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights in the Territory of Macau after 1999.
The Committee notes the enactment of article 40 of the Basic Law
of the Macau Special Administration Region which prescribes that
the precepts of the Covenant, which are applicable to Macau, will
continue to apply and shall be implemented through legislation
enacted by the Special Administrative Region of Macau. The Committee
hopes that the ongoing discussions between the Portuguese Government
and the Chinese Government through the Sino-Portuguese Joint Liaison
Group will lead to a continuation of the reporting practice under
articles 16 and 17 of the Covenant beyond the year 1999.
5. The Committee notes with satisfaction that the Covenant was
published on 31 December 1992 in Macau's Official Gazette in both
official languages (Portuguese and Chinese) and also that its
contents have been disseminated in the Administrative Region.
6. The Committee notes that in January 1993, the Portuguese Government
gave the Chinese language (Cantonese) an official status comparable
to that of Portuguese.
7. The Committee welcomes the efforts undertaken by the State
party to extend coverage of social security, in particular in
the private sector, as stated in Decree-Law No. 58/93/M which
came into force in January 1994.
C. Factors and difficulties impeding the implementation of the
8. The Committee notes that prevailing Chinese
traditions, namely of avoiding direct confrontations and strikes
in favour of personal or family ties, have not been conducive
to the application of the laws concerning the right to collective
bargaining and to strikes.
D. Principal subjects of concern
9. The Committee notes with concern that labour
regulations are not enforced effectively in Macau, resulting in
workers having to work under unfavourable and repressive conditions
without access to legal recourse. Protective measures on working
conditions and social security for non-resident workers are still
lacking. Measures protecting the right to strike, the right to
organize trade unions and the right to bargain collectively are
10. The Committee is concerned that the majority of the population
is not familiar with the judicial system of the Territory, and
that insufficient measures have been adopted to ensure that the
principles and the provisions of the Covenant are made widely
known to the population.
11. The Committee, bearing in mind that China does not recognize
dual nationality, expresses concern that residents of Macau, including
civil servants who hold Portuguese passports, may not be able
to stay in Macau after 1999.
12. The Committee notes with concern that no special programme
aimed at helping the physically and mentally disabled to facilitate
their access to employment, education and public facilities exists.
13. The Committee expresses concern that non-resident workers
are not covered by the social security system.
14. Although Chinese constitute about 95 per cent of the population
in Macau, the requirements for the civil service effectively exclude
many persons of Chinese origin who cannot satisfy the criteria
of being local because they lack a necessary language or other
qualifications or for other reasons which cannot be overcome in
a short period of time. The Committee, therefore, considers it
necessary to incorporate persons of Chinese origin into the civil
service in order to facilitate a smooth transmission of administration
15. The Committee is further concerned that the territory does
not have a procedure for the determination of minimum wages.
E. Suggestions and recommendations
16. The Committee takes note of the readiness
of the State party to provide it with additional information in
reply to the concerns expressed by it in the course of the discussion
and recommends that in its replies the State party pay particular
attention to the issue of family reunification and to the legislative
provisions safeguarding the principles of the International Labour
Organization Conventions No. 103 (Maternity Protection Convention)
and No. 138 (Minimum Age Convention) and their practical applications.
17. The Committee recommends that appropriate measures be taken
to effectively secure the economic, social and cultural rights
of disabled persons, particularly through funding for special
programmes aimed at helping the physically and mentally disabled
to gain better access to employment, education and public facilities.
18. The Committee recommends, in view of the lack of sufficient
information provided by the State party with respect to article
10 of the Covenant, that detailed information be provided on measures
taken to implement the provisions of article 10. In that connection,
the attention of the State party is drawn to the relevant parts
of the Committee's revised guidelines regarding the form and contents
of reports to be submitted by State parties.
19. The Committee urges the Portuguese Administration to take
affirmative steps to facilitate the integration of persons of
Chinese origin into the placement programme of the civil service.
20. The Committee urges the Portuguese Administration to promote
appropriate policies which would facilitate the right to form
labour unions, the right to engage in collective bargaining and
the right to strike, so as to fill the gap between domestic law
and the Covenant.
21. The Committee also urges the enactment of legislation on the
right to social security so as to ensure full compliance with
the requirements of the Covenant, and recommends that the State
party extend the coverage of social security to non-resident workers.
22. The Committee urges the Portuguese Administration to make
more efforts to disseminate the Covenant within the civil society.
23. The Committee welcomes the statement by the State party that
measures shall be taken to develop information and awareness programmes
on the judicial system of the Territory and on the principles
and provisions of the Covenant in the various languages spoken
in Macau. Additionally, the Committee recommends that comprehensive
human rights training be provided to all segments of the population,
including law enforcement officers and all the persons involved
in the administration of justice.
24. The Committee strongly urges the Portuguese Administration
to take all necessary measures to ensure that the reports under
the Covenant are submitted after 1999.
25. The Committee encourages the State party to disseminate widely
the concluding observations adopted by the Committee following
the consideration of the State party's second periodic report.