Right of Social Security
“The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to social security, including social insurance.”
(extracted from Article 9 of ICESCR)
“The States Parties to present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions. The States Parties will take appropriate steps to ensure the international co-operation based on free consent.”
(extracted from Article 11 of ICESCR)
Right to an adequate standard of living is a basic human right. Poverty and a poor living standard are problems besetting the deprived. The income gap between the rich and poor grows bigger and bigger. Their contribution to the well-being of the economy has never been properly recognized. What lies before them is but job insecurity.
The economic restructuring has dragged the grassroots people into the poverty pit. The welfare recipients are scapegoats being pushed under. Elderly people living with their family members are not entitled for the application of social security. Many elderly folks earn a meager wage by collecting reusable items from rubbish bins. The Mandatory Provident Fund has failed to offer retirement protection for deprived groups including the old people, housewives and the working poor. To live in dignity, SoCO requested the Government to draw a poverty line, to set up a Committee on poverty, old age pension scheme, as well as a comprehensive safety net.
- 1.37 million people live under the poverty line. The average monthly income per person is less than 2,550 HKD, accounting for 20.1% of the total population of Hong Kong. Nearly 340,000 are non-CSSA poor elderly; 230,000 are extremely poor children.
- In 2016, the Gini coefficient of Hong Kong was 0.539. The disparity between the rich and the poor is even worse than developing countries, such as Thailand (0.462) and the Philippines (0.429). (The larger the coefficient value, the greater the gap between rich and poor)
- In 2001, the average monthly income of the lowest income of 250,000 households was only 6,000 HKD, and the average monthly income of 110,000 high-income households reached 70,000 HKD, a difference of 12 times.