Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture on the Report on the HKSAR under the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
9 May 2000
COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE
1-19 May 2000
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE 19 OF THE CONVENTION
Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture
(Note: this document only contains extracts of paragraphs concerning
the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region)
1. The Committee considered the third periodic report of China (CAT/C/39/Add.2) at its 414th, 417th and 421st meetings on 4, 5 and 9 May 2000 (CAT/C/SR.414, 417 and 421), and adopted the following conclusions and recommendations:
2. The third periodic report of China consists of two parts. Part I covers the whole of China, with the exception of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and Part II covers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region only.
3. The Committee welcomes the third periodic report of China, which conforms with the general guidelines for the preparation of State party reports. The Committee expresses its appreciation for the additional information and replies provided by the State party and the continued and constructive co-operation of China with the Committee.
PART I - CHINA, EXCLUDING THE HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
19. The State party is invited to consider, in respect of both its mainland part and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, declaring in favour of articles 21 and 22 of the Convention and withdrawing its reservation under article 20, and to ensure, the continued applicability of article 20 in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
PART II - HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
VI. Factors and difficulties impeding the application of the provisions of the Convention
26. The Committee notes that the reintegration of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region into China created no factors and difficulties impeding the application of the Convention.
VII. Positive aspects
27. The Committee expresses its appreciation to the Government of China for the steps taken to ensure the continued application of the Convention in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the authorities of which have prepared parts of the report.
28. The Committee welcomes the release of all Vietnamese refugees and migrants and the closure of the Pillar Point detention centre.
29. The Committee welcomes the adoption of legislation to facilitate the extradition of persons suspected of having committed acts of torture.
30. The Committee notes as positive the strengthening of the independence of the Independent Police Complaints Council.
31. The Committee welcomes the increase of the maximum sentence for certain sexual crimes such as incest and the abolition of the requirement of corroboration in respect of sexual offences.
32. The Committee welcomes the introduction of training courses and other educational measures targeting law enforcement personnel, and the fact that interviews of detainees are videotaped.
VIII. Subjects of concern
33. The Committee is concerned that the reference to "lawful authority, justification or excuse" as a defence for a person charged with torture, as well as the definition of a public official in the Crimes (Torture) Ordinance, Chapter 427, are not in full conformity with article 1 of the Convention.
34. The Committee is concerned about the fact that there are as yet no prosecutions under the Crimes (Torture) Ordinance, despite circumstances brought to the attention of the Committee justifying such prosecutions.
35. Concern is expressed that not all instances of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment are covered by the Crimes (Torture) Ordinance.
36. It is noted with concern that the practices in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region relating to refugees may not be in full conformity with article 3 of the Convention.
37. The Committee recommends that the necessary steps be taken to ensure that torture, as defined in article 1 of the Convention, is effectively prosecuted and appropriately sanctioned and that efforts be made to prevent other acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, in accordance with the provisions of the Convention.
38. The Committee recommends that continued efforts be made to ensure that the Independent Police Complaints Council becomes a statutory body, with increased competence.
39. The Committee recommends the continuation and intensification of preventive measures, including training for law enforcement officials.
40. The Committee recommends that laws and practices relating to refugees be brought into full conformity with article 3 of the Convention.