por Portugal aos Órgãos de Controlo da Aplicação
dos Tratados das Nações Unidas em Matéria de
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
Chairperson: Mr. ALSTON
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
Second periodic report of Portugal (Macau) (continued)
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
7. Mr. TEXIER asked whether child labour existed in Macau and, if
so, what governmental measures were being implemented to deal with
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Articles 13 and 14. Right
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.