THE Government has again turned a deaf ear to legislators' call for the setting up of an independent human rights commission. Secretary for Constitutional Affairs Michael Sze Cho-cheung reiterated that the Government did not see a strong case for the establishment of such a commission, despite legislators' overwhelming support for it. Legislators criticised the Government for its minimalist approach and slow pace in reviewing laws which might be in conflict with the Bill of Rights. They were also unhappy that the Government had taken no visible initiatives in extending the principles of the Bill of Rights ordinance to the private sector. Questioning the Government's sincerity and commitment in safeguarding individuals' rights and liberties, legislators said an independent commission was very much needed to provide a comprehensive programme in educating and promoting human rights, and as a speedy mechanism for solving disputes concerning human rights. But Mr Sze said the Government had reservations about the commission's role in dispute resolution, saying it would duplicate the work of the courts. On the pace of review of existing laws, he said only courts could determine their compatibility with the Bill of Rights and the Government did not believe in pre-empting the courts, otherwise the bill would become a source of injustice rather than justice. Responding to the Government's reply, the sponsor of the motion, Anna Wu Hung-yuk, said: ''I proposed the human rights commission because we need it to get our house in order . . . We need the commission to be a source of stability, to strike a balance between conflicting demands. ''The protection of human rights is protection against executive, administrative and political excesses - a body that is separate from the government is in a position to command respect and credibility and to turn high sounding ideals into reality.'' Ms Wu criticised the Government for choosing not to see the need or hear the call for a human rights commission. ''If monitoring government action within or outside this council on the grounds of the Bill of Rights or any other human rights grounds might be regarded as possible injustice, then it is a strange sense of justice and all the more why we need a human rights commission to be entrenched in Hongkong,'' she said. Legal representative Simon Ip Sik-on said: ''The 'minimalist' approach is testimony to the inadequacies of the Legal Department to fill the role of a human rights commission. ''As the primary objective of the Bill of Rights ordinance is to prevent encroachment of rights by the Government, how can that objective be fulfilled by a government department which acts on the instructions of the Government?'' United Democrats chairman Martin Lee Chu-ming said that if the Government was to ignore their call for a commission and thus the human rights of the Hongkong people, his party would introduce a private member's bill to provide for the setting up of the commission in the next legislative session.