Civil Right Education Center

Does Hong Kong really enjoy various freedoms?


In the 1960s and 1970s, Hong Kong’s social modernization was just in its infancy. The government did not formulate long-term policies in any aspects of people’s livelihood, and social problems were rampant. Many social problems and incidents have also been improved through the consolidation of the unity of the people. SoCO has organized hundreds of actions to help residents fight for their rights and interests. However, the pursuit of action is mostly incidental intervention, lack of deep awareness cultivation, and civic awareness.


Until the 1980s, with the continuous improvement and establishment of government policies, SoCO realized that if we want to raise the civic awareness of residents, establish a civil society, and introduce civil rights education, which is a good strategy for long-term challenge.


Furthermore, as the return of 1997 has been expected to have a major impact on the Hong Kong society in the early years, the promotion of the rights and interests of Hong Kong’s citizens is still lagging behind. In order to prepare for the handover, SoCO established a civil rights education centre in 1982 to promote human rights protection which is expected to be recognized, respected and implemented in the legal system, government administration, and the human rights of citizens in all aspects of daily life.


    The main purposes of the Civil Rights Education Center are as follows:

  • Through research, in-depth analysis of the existing and due rights of Hong Kong citizens;
  • Promote the government’s emphasis on civil rights through actions and strive to improve relevant policies and laws;
  • Improve the ability of the public to maintain and fight for their rights and interests by publishing books, pamphlets, organizing exhibitions, workshops and daily consulting services;
  • It is to promote the protection of human rights laws in Hong Kong and to enhance the public’s awareness of civil rights.

Task and achievement in the 2000s

Task Achievement
Follow up on cases of human rights violations and cases and consultations dealing with civil complaints Exposing violations of civil rights by government departments and disciplinary forces, increasing social accountability
Establish a civil rights legal center to provide grassroots legal advice Regularly provide legal counseling services to SoCO members and grassroots citizens, and cooperate with legal professional bodies to provide legal counseling and follow-up cases with lawyers on a monthly basis.
Improve human rights legal protection and social policy through judicial review The key judicial review cases include

1.Prisoners’ voting rights (2008)
2.Returning Hong Kong people to apply for CSSA rights (2010)
3.New arrivals apply for CSSA rights (2013)
4.Non-elderly singleton public housing allocation policy (2016)
5.Rights of persons in custody in external communication (2018)

Prison reform Focus on the rights of detainees and persons in custody, promote the reform of prisons to be more modern and in line with the principle of human rights protection, and develop the Social Welfare Association as a pioneer in promoting prison reform. About 100 cases of help cases from detainees and persons in custody are handled each year.
Opposing the “Article 23 Legislations” in Violation of International Human Rights Standards In year 2002-03, he actively participated in rebellion of article twenty-three legislative campaigns. The members SoCO were the core of the campaign, and the government finally put the relevant legislation on hold indefinitely.
Promote the enactment of the Racial Discrimination Ordinance (2008) Through the United Nations lobbying and local competition, the government has finally actively faced the legislative work and formulated the Race Discrimination Ordinance in 2008, becoming the only new human rights protection legislation after 1997.
Prepare reports to the committees of the United Nations conventions on a regular basis and attend hearings to report on the human rights situation in Hong Kong Successfully reflected that the Hong Kong government has not fulfilled the part of the Convention and urged the United Nations to ask the government to improve the relevant policies so that the rights in the Convention can be fully guaranteed in Hong Kong.
Concerned about seeking political asylum and the rights of persons claiming torture in Hong Kong Through organizing case-sounding and other initiatives, with the joint efforts of civil society and the legal profession, the Government has been urged to seek political asylum and torture claims in Hong Kong through legislation, establishment of an administrative review and appeal system, and provision of temporary living assistance, legal aid and living security.
Concerned about the cases of Hong Kong people being detained in the Mainland and related legal protection issues 1.Successfully seek government assistance to set up a team to assist Hong Kong residents, and promote the establishment of a accident notification mechanism between China and Hong Kong to assist Hong Kong people in the two places (2001)
2.Promote further improvement of the accident notification system between China and Hong Kong (2017)
3.Continue to seek the assistance and support of the SAR Government for Hong Kong residents in the Mainland, and urge the SAR Government offices in the Mainland to assume relevant responsibilities
Providing internship opportunities for law students and other students, and conducting legal and human rights reform studies for SoCO Each year, the number of interns ranges from a few to a dozen, and a number of studies or researches with further initiatives are completed.
Re-editing and publishing a civil rights handbook, including:

1.Book 1 (Civil and Political Rights)
2.Book 2 (Social and Economic Rights)
3.establishment of an online version

Educate the public to uphold and strive for the rights and interests of citizens, especially those who have been violated by human rights.
Hold civil rights education seminars from time to time Enhance the understanding of Hong Kong people on the laws of the Mainland and the protection of their rights and interests. The targets include university students, SoCO members and the general public.

Current and future work

  • Promote prison reform, pay attention to the rights of detainees and persons in custody
  • Continuous improvement of human rights protection and social policies through judicial channels (such as judicial review)
  • Cases of Hong Kong people being detained in the Mainland and issues related to legal protection
  • Pay attention to the future legislation of the Hong Kong SAR Government on Article 23 of the Basic Law
  • China-Hong Kong mutual legal assistance issues; transfer of fugitives, prisoners and other agreements between the two places
  • Pay attention to police abuses and disciplined forces infringement issues, and strive to improve the complaint mechanism and defend citizens’ right to appeal
  • Administrative and public sector infringement issues
  • Prepare reports to the committees of the UN conventions on a regular basis and attend hearings; report on the human rights situation in Hong Kong
  • Production of exhibition boards and teaching kits for the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the International Convention on the Rights of the Child for public borrowing and promotion of local human rights education
  • Keep up with the times and regularly update the human rights handbook
  • Follow up on cases of human rights violations and cases and consultations dealing with civil complaints
  • Development of the Civil Rights Law Center and the Community Legal Advice Center
  • Promote Right to Information Act
  • Promote the improvement of anti-racial discrimination legislation and the formulation of anti-age discrimination legislation
  • Establish indicators on human rights to monitor the implementation of the rights set out in the conventions in Hong Kong
  • Promote the development of a democratic political system in Hong Kong and strive for universal suffrage for the Chief Executive

Related Human Right