Britain will be asked to report to the United Nations Human Rights Committee on Hong Kong's freedoms once more before the handover, it emerged yesterday. Committee chairman Francisco Aguilar Urbina said the group would ask for another report on the progress Britain has made with the mainland over monitoring and reporting on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The UN body said at this week's hearings that it does not intend to allow Britain and China to escape their international covenant obligations. It will issue its report and full proposals next month. But the committee is able to apply no sanctions except the pressure of its 18 influential international lawyers to embarrass and cajole. Many of the 130-plus UN member states who have signed the covenant rarely, if ever, submit monitoring reports; others have to be reminded time and again and even Britain has been late. In that atmosphere there are few expectations China will heed warnings to comply on Hong Kong because the Joint Declaration and Basic Law say the covenant will remain in force. But the 10 Hong Kong human rights groups at yesterday's hearings were pleased at the committee's insistence that the people of Hong Kong will still be subject to its protection in law. The committee also emphasised its dissatisfaction with Britain's view that everything is now down to China. 'What is important is [that] it has said Britain must come up with something more solid than just talking to China,' said legislator Emily Lau Wai-hing.