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Relatórios Apresentados por Portugal aos Órgãos de Controlo da Aplicação dos Tratados das Nações Unidas em Matéria de Direitos Humanos

Summary record of the 33rd meeting : Portugal Macau. 27/11/96. E/C.12/1996/SR.33. (Summary Record)

COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS, Fifteenth session

SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 33rd MEETING, Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, on Thursday, 21 November 1996, at 10 a.m.

Chairperson: Mr. ALSTON

CONTENTS

CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS:

(a) REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES IN ACCORDANCE WITH ARTICLES 16 AND 17 OF THE COVENANT (continued)
Second periodic report of Portugal (Macau) (continued)

The meeting was called to order at 10.15 a.m.

Second periodic report of Portugal (Macau) (continued) (E/1990/6/Add.8; E/C.12/1995/LQ.10)

1. The CHAIRPERSON invited the Committee to resume its consideration of the second periodic report of Portugal (E/1990/6/Add.8) concerning Macau.


Article 9. Right to social security (continued)

2. Mr. COSTA OLIVEIRA (Portugal) explained in response to an earlier question from Mr. Adekuoye that the apparent discrepancy in the numbers of civil servants in receipt of State pensions (para. 110) was due to the fact that temporary staff did not subscribe to the Macau Pensions Fund.

3. Mrs. JIMENEZ BUTRAGUEÑO asked whether non-permanent civil servants were consequently denied old-age pensions.

4. Mr. COSTA OLIVEIRA (Portugal) said that since many temporary contracts were continually renewed, the Government had passed legislation in July 1996 (retroactive from early 1990) which gave those employees the opportunity of being included in the scheme.


Article 10. Protection of the family, mothers and children

5. Mr. ADEKUOYE commented that the report did not provide data on marriage, the status of common-law marriages or the situation of children, especially the working conditions of 14 to 15 year-olds and the numbers of fostering families and foster children. An explanation of adoption procedures in Macau would also be welcomed.

6. Mrs. JIMENEZ BUTRAGUEÑO requested additional information on family rights and the status of women. Did women possess equal rights of custody over children and enjoy the same property rights as men? Could they open bank accounts or apply for personal loans? How had the situation evolved with regard to the elimination of discrimination against women? Child abuse statistics would also be appreciated.

7. Mr. TEXIER asked whether child labour existed in Macau and, if so, what governmental measures were being implemented to deal with the problem.

8. Mrs. BONOAN-DANDAN said that the report contained no real discussion of issues and the information supplied was not sufficiently specific. Paragraph 141, for example, merely claimed that although none of the relevant conventions had been signed, many of their principles were safeguarded by domestic legislation. What particular provisions of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Maternity Protection Convention (Revised), 1952 (No. 103) and Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) were reflected in the Territory's legislation? The Committee's guidelines requested information on the scope and development of the maternity protection scheme, as well as medical and other social security benefits, and also asked whether there existed groups of women in society who did not enjoy the same maternity protection and what measures were contemplated to remedy any such situation. Information regarding orphans and abandoned children would also be useful. Were there any children who were not accorded protection, such as the children of illegal migrants from the People's Republic of China? What difficulties were being experienced by the Government in the implementation of family rights, particularly regarding women and children?

9. Mr. AHMED conceded that article 10 had not figured in the list of issues and that the delegation might thus not have expected to have to provide the Committee with detailed information on the matter. It would, however, be useful to be informed of the provisions in the Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration concerning civil law, family matters, marriages, separations, divorces, common-law marriages, inheritance and adoption procedures. Although Portuguese law was currently in force, from December 1999 onwards it was Chinese laws and customs that would prevail. What measures were being implemented to facilitate the potentially abrupt effect of the transition on families?

10. Mr. WIMER ZAMBRANO commented that the definition of "family" provided in paragraph 142 of the report was inadequate for the purposes of the Committee, which had in mind contractual rights arising from family links. Since family structures tended to vary between cultures, were there any differences between the Portuguese and Chinese concepts of "family"?

11. Mr. THAPALIA said that there were presumably instances of child labour and sexual exploitation of children in Macau, as well as street children. What measures were being taken to address such problems?

12. Mr. CEAUSU recalled that the ILO Committee of Experts in 1994 had noted that new legislation introduced in Macau in 1991 and 1993 concerning "child night labour" had brought no improvements in regard to the Territory's Decree No. 409 of 1971. Had the Government responded to the ILO's request for information on measures implemented to bring the legislation more into conformity with ILO provisions? Currently, Macau law allowed for dispensations to the ban on child night labour.

13. Mrs. JIMENEZ BUTRAGUEÑO recalled the case of a child deprived of its family under rigid immigration laws in Hong Kong. Did the civil register in Macau also discriminate against children born out of wedlock?

14. Mr. COSTA OLIVEIRA (Portugal) said that the delegation had indeed not expected questions on article 10. If their answers did not consequently prove sufficiently detailed, more information would be provided in due course. Responding first to Mrs. Jimenez Butragueño, he explained that the Portuguese Constitution made all discrimination against children born out of wedlock illegal. Article 13 of Macau's Constitution ("Basic Law"), which would continue to be applicable after 1999, stated that "there is no discrimination on the basis of nationality, ancestry, race, sex, language, religion, political or ideological convictions, instruction or economic or social conditions". Domestic legislation further developed that principle.

15. Ms. Virginia SILVA (Portugal) said that there was no discrimination against women in Macau with regard to family law, the opening of bank accounts and labour rights. Macau law was similar in that respect to Portuguese law.

16. Mr. COSTA OLIVEIRA (Portugal) added that the principle of equality between men and women was respected in all matters, including property rights, and the courts more often than not awarded custody of children to mothers.

17. Mr. GRISSA, observing that the Portuguese administration was operating in a Chinese environment, asked whether Chinese customs were consonant with Portuguese law.

18. Mr. COSTA OLIVEIRA (Portugal) said that, although 10 years previously, Chinese customs had occasionally been at variance with Portuguese legislation, particularly in matters of inheritance, they no longer posed a sociological problem in Macau, and mainland Chinese law relating to non-discrimination and equal rights for women was similar to Macau legislation. Instances of child labour were very rare, as would be clear from the Labour Inspectorate statistics to be made available to the Committee. Any infringements attracted fines and led to the removal of the child from the offending workplace. Most people in Macau did not approve of child labour and were proud to be sending their children to school. The school enrolment rate was very high.

19. Responding to Mr. Ceausu, he said that Decree No. 409 of 1971, repealed more than 10 years previously, had only ever been applicable to Portugal. The misunderstanding had most likely resulted from a misleading entry in ILO document E/1996/98 of 19 September 1996, which contained recommendations concerning Portugal alone, not Macau.

20. As to Mr. Ahmed's concerns, no specific provisions had been included in the Joint Declaration concerning civil law in view of the principle of continuity of the legal system. Macau legislation was based on the Germanic system, and most Portuguese codes had been updated and adapted to local conditions in Macau, especially during the preceding decade. Macau's legislative concepts often differed from the ones embodied in Portuguese legislation. Those concepts would continue to apply beyond December 1999.

21. Dr. SILVA (Portugal), responding to Mr. Adekuoye's request for statistics, indicated that there had been 3,397 marriages in 1993, 2,742 in 1994 and 2,146 in 1995. For the same years, the numbers of divorces had been 190, 253 and 249, respectively. In 1995, there had been nine State orphanages caring for approximately 500 children. More up-to-date figures would be supplied in due course. Regarding Mrs. Bonoan-Dandan's query about maternity protection, all risk groups in Macau were given full protection free of charge, and that included provision for mothers before, during and after childbirth.

22. Mr. COSTA OLIVEIRA (Portugal) said that more detailed information would be provided on legislative provisions safeguarding the principles of ILO conventions at a later stage. Referring to the situation of children entering the Territory from mainland China, he admitted that there were indeed many such children, some travelling with families which had obtained prior authorization, and some entering illegally. Macau had in the past allowed for the regularization of the status of such immigrants wishing to rejoin legally settled families, but publicity of those policies had been interpreted as an open invitation to immigrants and there had been a sudden flood of illegal immigration. Macau was consequently now having to apply tighter restrictions.

23. As to the concerns expressed regarding families separated on account of immigration laws, the Government had no intention of changing its policy in the short term. However, the definition of persons eligible for permanent residence was somewhat broader in article 24 of the Basic Law and might therefore allow for more families to be reunited in future. None the less, he would not like the Committee to be under any illusion about the matter and wished to stress the grave concern among the population of Macau about the consequences of any further increase in the population.

24. Child labour and the sexual exploitation of children were not regarded as problems in Macau. The real problems relating to children were very different and were mainly due to the scarcity of land; that made it difficult to build new schools, and the result was overcrowding in classrooms.

25. Regarding the situation of women, he assured the Committee that the prevailing culture was not based on sexual discrimination. It should be borne in mind that approximately two thirds of the current population originated from recent waves of immigration and held very different values from the older ethnic Chinese. Further details on policies relating to women and children in Macau could be included under a special item in the updated information to be submitted to the Committee in due course.

26. Mrs. JIMENEZ BUTRAGUEÑO said that she was still not satisfied with the replies given concerning the situation of children. She was particularly concerned about children of a very young age being separated from their parents. Such problems had already arisen in Hong Kong and might well occur in Macau.

27. Mr. COSTA OLIVEIRA (Portugal) acknowledged that it was indeed a very sad state of affairs. Unfortunately, the last time the Portuguese authorities had legalized the situation of some 5,000 immigrants to allow them to be reunited with their families, it had subsequently had to ward off between 50,000 and 100,000 more immigrants trying to gain entry into the Territory. By adopting a humanitarian stance, the authorities had become involved in a very complicated social issue, hence the reluctance to amend current policy. In any event the situuation could be said to be equally tragic in mainland China, where in recent years there had been mass migration towards the coastal areas, resulting in many children being separated from their families.

28. Mrs. BONOAN-DANDAN said that Mrs. Jimenez Butragueño was right to pursue the issue, as her fears appeared to be well-founded. It was likely that people from mainland China unable to settle in Hong Kong before the end of 1997 would attempt to gain entry into Macau. In the additional information to be submitted to the Committee, the Portuguese delegation might perhaps explain what measures the authorities envisaged taking to cope with the problem, for it would not disappear merely because the authorities refused to regularize the situation of illegal immigrants. She was pleased that women were so well treated in Macau and noted in particular that, although paid maternity leave was not guaranteed after the third child, women could give birth in hospitals completely free of charge even to a fourth or fifth child.

29. The CHAIRPERSON speaking as a member of the Committee and referring to the question of family reunification, asked whether any distinction was made in the relevant legislation for the case in which the child and not the parents remained outside the Territory of Macau. The European Union institutions had, for example, developed their jurisprudence in such a way that would not allow for a blanket ruling making it impossible to consider particularly problematic cases - although, where immigration was concerned, there was always the fear of the floodgates being opened. For the essence of human rights was not to eliminate any possibility of acting humanely.

30. Mr. COSTA OLIVEIRA (Portugal) pointed out that the laws and regulations of institutions of the European Union did not apply to Macau. He would none the less verify whether such distinctions were drawn in handling the kind of situation described and whether the measures in question were still in force. Such details would be included in the updated information to be provided subsequently to the Committee.

31. The CHAIRPERSON said that although there was no question of European Union laws being applicable to Macau, the European Convention on Human Rights covered 37 countries in Europe and set forth principles which in many respects were identical to those of universal human rights instruments such as the Covenant. Therefore, when the Committee assessed the implementation of human rights provisions in a reporting country, it took full account of the jurisprudence of the major human rights courts or commissions in the region in question. He trusted that the Portuguese Government would provide the additional information requested in due course.

32. Mrs. JIMENEZ BUTRAGUEÑO suggested that, in the additional information to be submitted to the Committee, the Portuguese Government might indicate the number of children separated from their parents. She was particularly concerned about the most vulnerable category, namely children under the age of 10.

33. Mr. COSTA OLIVEIRA (Portugal) explained that it was very difficult to quantify the problem, since the last group of illegal immigrants who had eventually acquired legal residence had not been requested to provide information on the size of their family to the competent authorities at the time. Regarding Mr. Wimer Zambrano's question, paragraph 142 of the report contained the legal definition of the family in Macau. There were variations in family structure and even within the Chinese community, some people tended to live in an extended family situation with grandparents and/or other relatives, while others had a smaller family nucleus. The family unit of citizens of Portuguese origin tended to comprise only parents and children.

34. Mr. ALVAREZ VITA requested further clarification regarding how the family was structured. According to the statistics provided, 95 per cent of the population in Macau was of Chinese origin and the structure of the Chinese family should therefore be the norm.

35. Mr. COSTA OLIVEIRA (Portugal) pointed out that the Portuguese Government had clearly defined the term "family" - on the basis of a typically structured Chinese family - in paragraph 142 of the report.

36. Mr. ALVAREZ VITA said that the definition given was very loose, for it was possible to share a common economy and maintain a familial type of social relationship with people outside the family unit.

37. Mr. COSTA OLIVEIRA (Portugal) replied that in most cases, the family as defined in paragraph 142 was naturally composed of close blood relations. As to the extension of blood ties in families with no children, sometimes cousins and nieces and nephews were taken into consideration for the purposes of social benefits.


Article 11. Right to an adequate standard of living

38. Mr. AHMED said it was well known that the economy in Macau depended to a large extent on tourism and gambling. The latter accounted for 34 per cent of all budget revenue and had ensured GDP growth levels comparable to those of European countries. He would like to know whether any provision had been made for the continuation of such activities after the transfer of power to China so that current standards of living would be maintained.

39. Mrs. BONOAN-DANDAN noting the scant reference in the report to the right to adequate food, referred the Portuguese delegation to the reporting guidelines on that question. Considering the very evident shortage of relevant information, how did the Government assess to what extent that right was guaranteed? In view of the fact that practically all food products and water had to be imported, she would welcome more information on the food distribution system and on Government efforts to ensure that the needs of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups were catered for.

40. Mr. TEXIER requested clarification of the references in the report to "improvised housing" (paras. 166 et seq.) From the information provided, it would appear that the housing situation was fairly good, with fewer people left homeless or living in poor conditions. Had there been instances of evictions from the improvised housing units? If so, how had they been carried out? What provision had been made for the people concerned thereafter?

41. Mr. ADEKUOYE asked how the occupants of improvised housing units that were not connected to the public water supply procured their water. According to paragraph 173 of the report, approximately 11 per cent of the population did not have bath or shower facilities. What plans was the Government making to remedy that situation? Paragraph 192 mentioned a substantial reduction in improvised housing units in recent years. What were the reasons for the reduction and where had the occupants gone? He would also welcome further information on the scheme to eradicate improvised housing.

42. The rather surprising statement that the Chinese population was not, by and large, familiar with the judicial system of the Territory (para. 186) seemed to contradict the information provided earlier by the delegation concerning various efforts made by the Macau authorities to ensure that Chinese-speaking residents were well-acquainted with their rights. Had further attempts been made to improve matters in that regard?

43. Mr. GRISSA said that he found several aspects of paragraphs 181-186 disturbing. What was meant, for example, by "illegal" settlements or housing and by "administrative eviction"? If evictions were administrative, they were inevitably bureaucratic, which suggested an element of arbitrariness. Moreover, the appointment of a High Commissioner against Corruption and Administrative Illegality (para. 185) implied that administrative illegality must exist. Lastly, he was most concerned at the admission that the majority of the people for whom the judicial system was designed were not familiar with it. The corollary was surely that their rights were not protected.

44. Mr. COSTA OLIVEIRA (Portugal) said, in reply to Mr. Ahmed, that the status of tourism and gambling after 1999 had been catered for in the Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration and the Basic Law, which contained provisions recognizing the special place of tourism and gambling in Macau's economy and ensuring that they would remain exempt form the laws affecting the rest of China in that regard.

45. Dr. SILVA (Portugal) said, in reply to Mrs. Bonoan-Dandan, that virtually all Macau's food was imported, since Macau had no room to produce its own. As far as adequate food was concerned, there were no specific data, but the evidence from doctors and social workers was that malnutrition did not exist. The average daily intake was 2,800 calories. As for aid to the poor, there were several institutions supplying that need, of which three were run by the Department of Social Welfare and two others were subsidized by the Government. Regarding water supplies, most of Macau's water was imported from China; it was strictly regulated and could safely be said to be of a high standard.

46. Mr. BASTISTA FEIO (Portugal), replying to Mr. Adekuoye's questions on housing, said that the scheme to eradicate improvised housing had been extended and would be completed only in 1998. The number of improvised housing units had, however, decreased: as of 31 October there had been 1,967, providing shelter for 7,497 people. The number could have been reduced still further - to 1,000 dwellings with 4,000 residents - if a complex administrative problem had not delayed some evictions. He hoped that the administrative problem would be solved within the next month. Most of those evicted were entitled to receive a bonus credit, depending on the family income, to help them buy their own home, while others opted to lease, in which case the rent could not exceed 10 per cent of the family income. Those living in "illegal" housing were typically people who had arrived in the early 1980s and occupied vacant land belonging to the Territory. Mr. Grissa was completely mistaken in calling administrative evictions arbitrary; they were subject to a procedure involving hearings and the admission of evidence from those concerned. To put the matter into perspective, since 1993 there had been about 130 administrative evictions and in only one case had there been an error, which had later been rectified.

47. Mr. COSTA OLIVEIRA (Portugal) said that Macau did not deserve harsh criticism for its open admission (para. 186) that the majority of the Chinese population were not familiar with the judicial system, particularly since great efforts were being made to remedy the situation. Macau was deeply committed to publicizing and popularizing the law, but in any case the Chinese did not like litigation, preferring extrajudicial arbitration. Until recently, court proceedings had been conducted only in Portuguese, and naturally those speaking Cantonese had felt ill at ease. Since 1994, however, simultaneous interpretation had been available and there were three bilingual judges, who on occasion even conducted proceedings in Chinese. Administrative evictions were carried out under a legal procedure whereby the parties concerned were represented and normally supported by neighbourhood associations that were fully conversant with the applicable legislation. Notices of administrative eviction were written in Chinese. Lastly, government officials could be held personally liable if they infringed the law. There was no question of any segment of the population being denied its rights.

48. In all, 50 people were registered as homeless. That was a sensitive issue, since they refused to be housed, preferring to remain homeless. Regarding water supplies and sanitation, the most recent statistics indicated that 99.5 per cent of housing units were linked to the public water system and 99.8 per cent to the sewage system. The rest had access to communal taps.


Article 12. Right to physical and mental health

49. Mr. GRISSA noted that in 26 paragraphs relating to health there was no mention of AIDS, in a part of the world where AIDS was spreading and, moreover, where an association with tourism and gambling made a high incidence of sexual activity inevitable. He did not wish to be judgmental about the fact that prostitution existed, but the health consequences could be serious and far-reaching.

50. Mr. COSTA OLIVEIRA (Portugal) said that prostitution had been decriminalized. Strenuous efforts were being made to contain it in specific areas, tough health regulations applied and regular inspections were carried out.

51. Dr. SILVA (Portugal) said that, with an HIV incidence of 0.1 per 1,000 inhabitants, Macau compared favourably with the rest of the region. Since 1986, within the entertainment industry there had been 122 HIV cases; of those, eight had developed AIDS and seven had already died. There had been fewer cases since 1993, when Macau had launched a five-point programme to control the spread of the disease. HIV/AIDS screening was obligatory for all blood donors and available on request to any individual; anonymous surveillance was carried out, revealing the number of those affected but not

their identity; high-risk groups, such as entertainment workers and drug addicts, were screened; and information was issued to the general public and to high-risk groups, including prostitutes.

52. Mr. ADEKUOYE noted that, according to paragraph 220 of the report, infant mortality had risen in 1993. He wondered whether data for 1995 were available and, if so, whether they could be disaggregated.

53. Mrs. JIMENEZ BUTRAGUEÑO asked for information regarding sex education in schools, fertility rates - which she presumed had dropped with the Territory's growing prosperity - and access to family planning. She also wished to be reassured that there was no tendency to stop providing medical care for older persons at any stage.

54. Mr. WIMER ZAMBRANO asked what health policy Macau adopted with regard to illegal immigrants and specifically whether or not they could be given free health care.

55. Mr. RATTRAY noted that provision was made for children, persons over 65, vulnerable groups such as pregnant women, and persons suffering from infectious diseases. He wondered, however, what the situation of a person not falling into those categories would be. For example, could an able-bodied man of 35 years of age requiring by-pass surgery insist on being treated in a hospital even if he had no health insurance? Did Macau have a system of compulsory health insurance guaranteeing health care for all?

56. Dr. SILVA (Portugal) replied that older persons were considered to be a high-risk group. The health-care system was universal and was tending to become free of charge. Primary health care, which also covered the provision of medication, was free for everyone, including illegal immigrants. However, in order to be treated in a hospital a patient would first of all have to be referred to it by a primary health-care doctor. If a particular form of treatment was needed and was not available in Macau, the patient could be sent abroad at the Government's expense.

57. He could not explain the rise in infant mortality in 1993. In any case, in 1994 it had fallen to 6.2 per 1,000 live births, and in 1995 to 5.6, indicating that the overall downward trend was continuing. All nine health-care centres had a family planning unit. Inter-uterine devices and other forms of contraception were provided free of charge. The birth rate had also decreased slightly between 1993 and 1995.

58. Mr. COSTA OLIVEIRA (Portugal) said that the Macau authorities were not yet able to cover the cost of providing advanced medical care to all, but they were trying to increase the scope of health care coverage in general. Presumably article 12 of the Covenant did not imply that all States parties had an obligation to provide free health care for all immediately. Macau's health care system was one of the best in East Asia, and a significant part of public revenues was expended on it. Sex education was given in schools and family planning facilities were available. Illegal immigrants requiring medical attention received treatment before being sent out of the Territory.

59. Mrs. JIMENEZ BUTRAGUEÑO asked what importance was attached to preventive medicine and rehabilitation for older persons.

60. Dr. SILVA (Portugal) replied that older persons were covered by a specific programme. Health professionals were alerted to the importance of preventive medicine and rehabilitation for them. Home care was available for those unable to travel. Some 50 per cent of older persons were attended to under the primary health care system.

Articles 13 and 14. Right to education

61. Mr. RATTRAY, noting that the schools in Macau were mainly private, asked how much freedom parents had in choosing their children's school and whether the official procedures involved were carried out by the parents or by the school authorities.

62. Mr. ALVAREZ VITA noted that private schools predominated in Macau. He was puzzled by the Fact that one of the two major proprietors of private schools appeared to be the Diocese of Macau, even although only a small proportion of the population was Roman Catholic. He requested some further information on that point and asked what languages were used at the University of Macau and whether schools in Macau paid taxes.

63. Mr. ADEKUOYE asked what would happen if, under the Government's plan to extend free primary education to all schools, the schools not yet included in the system decided to join it all at once. Would the Government have sufficient funds to finance their incorporation?

64. Mr. THAPALIA requested some statistics on the number of slum dwellers and the rate of illiteracy among them.

65. Mrs. JIMENEZ BUTRAGUEÑO inquired whether human rights were taught in the education system and whether there were special courses in human rights for policemen and judges.

66. Mr. COSTA OLIVEIRA (Portugal) replied that the number of slum dwellers was known, but not their breakdown by sex or their illiteracy rate. Slum areas had schools, and almost all children could read and write. Moreover, most persons who arrived in Macau as adults had no problems in that respect.

67. Ms. Albina SILVA (Portugal) said that the teaching of human rights was provided for in Macau legislation on education. There were public schools and private schools, the latter being either profit-making or non-profit-making. All parents had the right to choose their children's school. The Government provided subsidies for children without means who attended private schools. School places were available for all children. Chinese parents were extremely demanding and invested a substantial proportion of their income in their children's education. Schools tended to be chosen because of their reputation. Macau was a transit point for many people, who selected the school that fitted in best with the expectations they had for their children later in life. It was true that a large number of schools were administered by the Diocese, although Roman Catholics accounted for only 7 per cent of the population. The University of Macau was an international institution at which English, Chinese and Portuguese were the official languages.

68. Profit-making private schools were subject to the Macau accountancy rules and paid taxes. Non-profit-making private schools had to present their accounts in order to claim subsidies. Primary education lasted six years, and the final year of pre-school education was assimilated to primary education. Some 60 per cent of schoolchildren obtained their education without charge, while the remainder received subsidies. Slum children had the same access to education as other children. The teaching of human rights was included in all curricula as part of a special subject called "Social and human development".

69. An effort was being made to induce all schools to join the free education system. Negotiations with the private schools still outside the system were not progressing as fast as the Government would have liked, since private schools joining the system would have to comply with many requirements, especially in regard to the size of classes, adherence to public accountancy rules, and the inclusion of specific subjects in their curricula. Thus, the main problem was not any inability to finance the incorporation of more schools but the difficulty of convincing private schools to join, since they would all have to fit into the existing education framework.

70. The CHAIRPERSON announced that the discussion was concluded. Thanks were due to the delegation and to the Government of Portugal, whose compliance with its reporting obligations under the Covenant could serve as a model for other States parties.

The meeting rose at 1 p.m.

 

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