UN urged to denounce Basic Law intervention

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 March, 2006, 12:00am

The UN was last night urged by the Democratic Party to denounce the government for asking Beijing to interpret the Basic Law over the chief executive's term of office.

A special rapporteur should also be appointed to study the impact of such interpretations on Hong Kong's autonomy and protection under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the party said.

The UN Human Rights Committee yesterday began a two-day hearing in New York, during which Hong Kong officials will answer questions over the second report submitted under the covenant.

In a submission to the committee, the party said the government should be denounced for asking Beijing to interpret the mini-constitution last year while a local court was still handling a challenge over the chief executive's tenure.

The party also raised concerns over the electoral reform defeat last year and recent disputes over covert surveillance by law enforcement agencies. 'On the whole, the government has failed to respond to the aspiration of the people for democracy and to safeguard their civil and political rights, protected under the covenant,' it said.

The Democrats said the committee should ask the government to submit a supplementary report on the progress of a timetable on universal suffrage.

In her opening remarks, Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said the electoral system should accord with the law. 'Our electoral system is appropriate to Hong Kong's circumstances and gives rise to no incompatibility with provisions of the covenant,' she said.

She reported on the progress in legislating against racial discrimination and on efforts to combat domestic violence.

The former social welfare director added: 'My greatest sorrow in that job was to see children neglected and the occurrence of family violence or tragedies.'