Human rights reports a 'must'

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 June, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 June, 1994, 12:00am

CHINA and Britain have ''an understanding'' that Beijing will submit reports on Hong Kong's human rights situation to the United Nations after 1997, the Government said yesterday.

Chinese officials have said they have no obligation to submit reports, as Britain does now, because they have not signed two key international covenants.

But yesterday, a Legal Department official said this was untrue.

International law division head, David Edwards, said the obligation to report to the UN on implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights was an assumption behind Joint Liaison Group talks.

He saw no reason for Britain to seek clarification because the obligation was set out in the Joint Declaration.

''If it does not report about the implementation of the two covenants, this would be a breach of the Joint Declaration and the United Kingdom will pursue this,'' he said.

Hong Kong could not make its own report after 1997 because it was not a sovereign state.