Know More about Human Right

Human rights refer to the rights inherent in all people as a part of humanity. These rights are not granted by kings, rulers, or governments; rights are innate, even human rights that existed before the advent of social or political systems. The values behind human rights are the emphasis on the human dignity and value of each person. Everyone is born equal and should be respected by others in society.

The development of the concept of human rights is influenced by different historical cultures, but in simple terms, it can be divided into the following three basic rights:

  1. Freedom of the individual from government intervention (also known as civil and political rights)
  2. Individual economic, social and cultural rights
  3. Individual development rights, national self-determination rights, environmental rights, etc.

What is the content of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights?

On December 10, 1948, the UN General Assembly resolution passed the “World Declaration of Human Rights”, which established a declaration of principles of spiritual significance for the pursuit and protection of human rights in the world, and promoted the direction of respect for human rights. The UN General Assembly also hopes that countries will make extensive publicity on the content of the declaration and explain the main points to the students in the school. Although this human rights declaration establishes a common standard of human rights in the world, it is not legally binding and cannot require any country to make any commitments. After the United Nations proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it turned to a more difficult task: turning the principles in the declarations into different treaties, making each State party legally accountable.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is divided into 30 articles, which mainly deal with civil and political rights, as well as economic, social and cultural rights:

  • Articles 1 and 2 clarify that “people are born free and equal in dignity and rights” and are entitled to “all rights and freedoms contained in this Declaration, regardless of race, colour, sex, language, Any distinction between religion, politics or other opinions, nationality or social origin, property, birth or other status.”
  • Articles 3 to 21 confirm the civil and political rights;
  • Articles 2 to 7 deal with economic, social and cultural rights;
  • Articles 28 to 30 consider that everyone has the right to demand a social and international order in which these rights and freedoms are fully realized, as well as the individual’s responsibilities and obligations to society.

What is civil and political rights?

Civil and political rights stipulate the relationship between the state and the individual. The designated country should not engage in violations of certain individual behaviors, including freedom of residence and migration, freedom of speech, lectures, freedom of press and publication, freedom of secret communication, freedom of religion, and thought. Freedom of conscience, freedom of assembly, freedom of marriage, freedom of strike, inviolability of private life, freedom of entry and exit of the country, freedom of possession of property, etc.

Civil rights must be based on the principle of equality. No law or policy may distinguish, discriminate, or have any unfair treatment for different races, colours, genders, languages, religions, political opinions, and nationality. “Everyone is equal before the law and protected by law without discrimination” is a major principle. Every citizen can enjoy the same right to enjoy public services. There should be no discrimination in marriage, occupation, gender, family status, disability, etc.

Civil political rights refer to the right of citizens to participate in the political life of the country according to law. It includes the following:

  • Citizens have the right to vote and to be elected
  • The right to participate in government
  • The basic condition of political participation is the right to know

Right to Work

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Housing Right

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Right of Family Reunion

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Right of ANTI-Discrimination

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Patients’ right

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Right to Health

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Human Rights Protection of HK Residents in the Mainland China

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Right of Social Security

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Civil & Political Right

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What other important conventions or declarations does the United Nations have?

The United Nations has so far established hundreds of declarations and international conventions. The following important declarations related to human rights are relatively important, and the public should pay more attention to it. Since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the above declarations only set out the general principles of international law, the United Nations adopted two important human rights conventions in 1966, namely:

  • (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights)(ICCPR)
  • (International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights)(ICESCR)
  • (Declaration on the Rights of the Child) and (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child)
  • (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women)
  • (International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination)
  • (Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment)
  • (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities)

What laws and mechanisms exist in Hong Kong to protect civil rights?

Before the handover, Hong Kong had always adopted the English common law legal system and thus inherited the British legal spirit. The United Kingdom became a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) in 1976 and was approved for application to Hong Kong in the same year. Since international conventions are applied in local law, there are always difficulties in implementation.

 

In June 1991, the Legislative Council (now known as the Legislative Council) passed the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance (Chapter 383 of the Laws of Hong Kong). The main part of the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance is excerpted from the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the content of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is not included.

 

In addition, after the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on July 1, 1997, the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (hereinafter referred to as the Basic Law)

was officially implemented in Hong Kong. It is regarded as a small constitution of the SAR. All other laws in Hong Kong cannot be violated. The Basic Law is a constitutional document with overriding power.

 

Chapter III of the Basic Law details the basic rights and obligations of residents of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, including: the right of abode, the right to vote and to be elected, the right to equality before the law, speech, news, press, association, faith, assembly, Academic, immigration and other freedoms, try to list the basic rights of Hong Kong residents in the small constitution.
In addition, the first paragraph of Article 39 of the Basic Law stipulates that the relevant provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Labour Convention apply to Hong Kong. Effective and implemented through Hong Kong law.” The second paragraph of the article prescribes “the rights and freedoms that the people of Hong Kong can enjoy. The law shall not be restricted. Such restrictions shall not contravene the provisions of paragraph 1 of this article.”

Other major laws protecting human rights include:

What international human rights conventions are currently applicable to Hong Kong?

Other international human rights conventions include:

  • Joint Declaration of the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the People’s
  • Republic of China on the Question of Hong Kong
  • The Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China
  • Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance
  • Sex Discrimination Ordinance
  • Disability Discrimination Ordinance
  • Family Status Discrimination Ordinance
  • Race Discrimination Ordinance
  • Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance

There are currently 14 United Nations human rights conventions applicable to Hong Kong. (However, the government also has reservations in different conventions, as detailed in the appendix.) Six of the international conventions require State parties to submit reports, including:

  • (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights)
  • (International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights)
  • (International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination)
  • (Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment)
  • (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child)
  • (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women)
  • (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities)
  • International Agreement for the Suppression of the White Slave Traffic in 1904
  • Protocol amending the International Agreement for the Suppression of the White Slave Traffic of 18 May 1904 and the International
  • Convention for the Suppression of the White Slave Traffic of 4 May 1910
  • International Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Women and Children in 1921
  • Slavery Convention 1926 and protocol amending the Convention in 1953
  • Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery in 1956
  • Convention on the Political Rights of Women in 1952
  • Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons in 1954
  • Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriages in 1962

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