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Opening statement by PSCMA at UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights meeting
     The United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights held a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, today (February 15, Geneva time) to consider the third report of the People's Republic of China under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which covers the reports of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Macao Special Administrative Region. Following is the opening statement made by the Permanent Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Ms Gracie Foo, at the meeting:

Mr Chairman, distinguished Members,

     Hong Kong has been a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China since 1997. We have been implementing "one country, two systems" policy, which has proven to be the best institutional arrangement to ensure Hong Kong's long term prosperity and stability, and to serve the fundamental interests of our nation. 
      Despite past turbulence in our society, Hong Kong is back to the right track of "one country, two systems" with the double safeguards of the implementation of the Hong Kong National Security Law and an improved electoral system. People returned to their day-to-day life in peace and stability resumed. Hong Kong people can continue to enjoy the legitimate rights and freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and the relevant provisions of international covenants as applied to Hong Kong.
     And with stability comes prosperity. Hong Kong remains a global fundraising platform, raising over US$13 billion through initial public offering in 2022. Our financial market remains thriving. In the Global Financial Centres Index published last year, the status of Hong Kong as a global financial centre has been reaffirmed.
     The Government also attaches great importance to improving people's livelihood.
     On the labour front, we are committed to promoting employment; upholding the workers' right to join and form trade unions; improving employees' benefits and protecting the employment rights and benefits of foreign domestic helpers. Besides, we initiated a study on the enhancement of the review mechanism of the Statutory Minimum Wage. Under our non-contributory social security system, we have significantly improved cash assistance in recent years to assist those in need.
     Addressing housing needs tops our agenda. We have adopted a series of strategies to increase public housing supply by enhancing quantity, speed, efficiency and quality, thereby shortening the waiting time for public rental housing.
     Against the background of an ageing population and the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases, we have been making progress in various areas including promoting primary healthcare, improving public hospital services, increasing healthcare manpower and enhancing mental health.
     The West Kowloon Cultural District has become a new cultural landmark earning worldwide acclaim. We are committed to nurturing diversified talent, and fostering the arts and creative industries, in order to develop Hong Kong into an East-meets-West centre for international cultural exchange.
     Leveraging on the motherland's strong support for Hong Kong in the National 14th Five-Year Plan, the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and the Belt and Road Initiative, the HKSAR Government is working at full steam to seize these opportunities and to forge ahead under the successful "one country, two systems" policy. Thank you.
Ends/Wednesday, February 15, 2023
Issued at HKT 18:28
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