Lawyer deplores Bill of Rights rollback

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 July, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 July, 1997, 12:00am

The suspension of human rights provisions in place before the handover may have breached Article 39 of the Basic Law, a human rights lawyer said yesterday.

The chairman of Human Rights Monitor, Paul Harris, said the article stated that provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 'applied to Hong Kong shall remain in force'.

He was referring to the bill - passed by the former legislative council shortly before the handover but frozen by the provisional Legco on Wednesday - which extended the parameters of the Bill of Rights to cover claims resulting from litigation among citizens.

The Bill of Rights had previously bound only the Government and public authorities and people acting on their behalf. Mr Harris said that since the extension of the bill's authority had not contravened the Basic Law, it should have been allowed to stand.

He said suspension of the pre-handover laws showed a bad attitude towards the rule of law.